Dental implant surgery is performed to replace tooth roots with screw-like posts. The procedure is used to replace missing or damaged teeth with artificial teeth that resemble real ones. Dental implant surgery is an alternative to bridgework or dentures that don't fit well. The main stages of an implant procedure include bone grafting, placing the implant, and placing the artificial tooth.
After the damaged tooth is removed, the next step is bone grafting. Grafting isn't necessary in all cases but only if your jawbone is not thick enough. This is because the chewing action of your mouth puts pressure on your bone. Therefore, if the jawbone can't support the implant, surgery will fail. A bone graft is performed to create a solid foundation for the implant.
A wide range of bone graft materials can be used to rebuild your jawbone. The main options are a natural bone graft and a synthetic bone graft. A natural bone graft means bone extracted from another part of your body. A synthetic bone graft is a bone-substitute material that provides support for bone growth.
Placing the Implant
The next phase of a dental implant procedure is surgery. The dentist may use anesthesia for the pain. The most popular anesthesia options are IV/monitored sedation, local injection, or general sedation.
The dentist will cut your gum open to reveal the bone. Using a drill, the dentist will make a hole to create room for placing the implant. The dentist may fit a denture or temporary crown as you wait for bone growth. When the implant is placed in your jawbone, a process called osseointegration begins. During this phase, the jawbone grows and unites with the implant. This takes several months. Osseointegration is important for providing a strong base for the new artificial tooth.
Placing the Abutment and Artificial Teeth
Before attaching an artificial tooth, an abutment must be placed. In some cases, the abutment is attached to the implant in the initial stages. However, some patients don't like an abutment sticking out of their gums and prefer to have it during the final stages. The abutment provides the surface where the artificial tooth will be placed.
The surgeon will reopen your gum and attach the abutment to the dental implant. The surgeon will finally close the gum tissue around the dental implant, but the abutment will be exposed. You will wait another few weeks to allow your gums to heal before the artificial tooth is placed.
Dental implants are a popular solution for people with missing or damaged teeth. This procedure helps restore the health and function of your teeth.