When it comes to dental appointments, most of them consist of routine cleanings, fillings, or the occasional root canal. But another procedure that is common among adults involves the placement of a dental implant. The goal of a dental implant is to look and function like a normal tooth. Dental implants are surgically placed into your jaw bone, then an artificial tooth is inserted to act as a normal tooth. When these implants are placed into your jawbone, they bond with your existing bone. This provides a sturdy base used to protect your teeth and gums.
Now that you’ve learned an overview of dental implants, you may be wondering why people need these and how the whole process works. Keep reading to get an in-depth look at the reasons that lead to needing dental implants, including how an implant procedure is conducted.
Why Get a Dental Implant?
Our teeth are very strong and they protect us from many things that can cause harm. But with certain foods and the many oral health complications embedded in our DNA, our teeth can easily be damaged. And if oral health complications aren’t taken care of, many extreme oral health issues can be the result. When patients are told that they can benefit from a dental implant, it is usually due to one of two reasons:
- The patient was born without a tooth.
- The tooth was removed because of injury, an infection, or tooth decay.
If you have an open space inside your mouth where a tooth once lived, it’s not a very good idea to simply leave this space open. If you do so, other teeth can begin to grow improperly and this area inside your mouth can be more prone to complications. In order to keep your teeth healthy and working at their best, replacing this area with a dental implant is sometimes the best course of action. However, before you begin the dental implant procedure, it’s important to first understand how the process works.
The Dental Implant Process
In order to sustain optimal oral health and not deal with pain and discomfort, a dental implant is sometimes the best option for your dental needs. Below you’ll find the steps involved with a dental implant procedure:
The need for a dental implant is decided by a dentist. Whether you’ve lost a tooth permanently or you never had a tooth in a certain location, the dentist will diagnose this and determine if a dental implant is right for you. The dentist will provide you with more details on why the procedure is needed and the benefits and risks involved with the procedure.
Given that dental implants usually require more than one procedure, a thorough evaluation is needed prior to the procedure. During this process, you can expect a comprehensive dental exam, an in-depth review of your medical history, and a detailed treatment plan. One important factor to consider about the dental implant process is that the process isn’t the same for each patient—there are various steps and processes that are determined based on the patient’s specific needs. However, a typical procedure usually involves the following steps:
- The removal of the damaged tooth
- Preparation of jawbone (and grafting if needed)
- Placement of the dental implant
- Healing and bone growth
- Abutment placement
- Placement of the artificial tooth
From the beginning of treatment to the end, the whole process can take months to complete.
Placing the Implant
When placing a dental implant, the oral surgeon will cut open your gums and drill a hole in order to place the dental implant metal post. This will be inserted deep into your tooth root to act as a natural root. After a period of time used for bone growth, an abutment will then be placed, followed by the artificial tooth insertion.