A Patient's Guide to the Dental Implant Procedure
Dental implants are today's most advanced replacements for missing or damaged teeth. Their natural look and feel sets them apart from other restorations. If you want dental implants, you may be curious about the procedure.
Dental Implant Benefits
Improve Chewing and Speaking Functions
With a new dental implant, you will no longer have to chew around a damaged or missing tooth. You will not have to restrict your diet to accommodate your compromised teeth. Your speech will be clearer.
Retain a More Youthful Appearance
Missing teeth cause the jawbone around the socket to reabsorb into the body due to a lack of stimulation from chewing. An implant provides this natural stimulation and keeps the bone healthy. You will not have to worry about your face sagging due to missing teeth.
Many people with missing teeth feel self-conscious and reluctant to smile. You can share your smile with family and friends with a new implant.
Improve Oral Health
Dental implants improve oral health by keeping adjacent teeth stable. If you leave a space in your teeth, their neighbors will drift out of position and could cause a greater risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
The Dental Implant Procedure
This outline explains the process of getting single-tooth dental implants. Like other medical procedures, healing times may vary based on oral and overall health.
Step 1: Dental Consultation
When you express interest in implants, your dentist will schedule a consultation. Your dentist will fully evaluate your oral health and determine how implants could benefit your smile. Your dentist will explain the procedure and help you determine the best course of action.
The dentist will check whether you have enough bone mass in your jaw for implant placement. If your bone mass needs improvement, you can undergo a bone graft procedure from an oral surgeon, as discussed in Step 3.
Step 2: Tooth Extraction
If your existing tooth needs replacement, your dentist will extract it and allow the area to heal before proceeding. We perform many extraction procedures in our office.
Step 3: Bone Grafting
You may need a bone graft if your jawbone does not have enough volume to hold an implant post. A bone graft can often happen simultaneously with a tooth extraction.
To complete a bone graft procedure, the oral surgeon makes an opening in the jawbone and inserts ground, sterilized material derived from natural or artificial bone. The surgeon places a dissolvable membrane over the bone material to keep it in place. The material provides a structure for the new, healthy bone tissue to grow around. In four to six months, your bone graft can support an implant.
Step 4: Implant Post Placement
Implant posts are small titanium anchors. The doctor opens the gum and jawbone to insert the anchor, which gently screws into the bone. The dentist closes the gum over the incision and sutures it closed.
Over the next three to six months, the biocompatible titanium material bonds with your jawbone in osseointegration, creating a strong foundation for your implant.
Step 5: Abutment Placement
The dentist will ensure your post has healed before proceeding to the abutment. An abutment is a small cap inserted into the post. It holds the dental crown that replaces your original tooth. During this procedure, the dentist seats the abutment in the post and secures the gum around it. It will need to heal for approximately two weeks before proceeding.
Step 6: Crown Placement
The next step involves placing the final restoration. The dentist torques the crown down to provide a solid, strong attachment. After you have become accustomed to the implant, your new tooth will feel natural. Again, feel free to smile, talk, and eat your favorite foods.
Step 7: Regular Maintenance
While caring for a single-tooth dental implant is easy, neglecting it can lead to serious complications. Brush and floss regularly as you would natural teeth. Be sure to keep all your dental appointments to allow your doctor to monitor your implant's health.
Call Queens Crown Dental
Dental implants can improve your oral health, quality of life, and appearance. We invite you to schedule a consultation to discuss whether implants are the right choice. We offer single-tooth implants as described here and implant-supported bridges and dentures. Please call our Honolulu office at 808-526-2800 for further information.