Dental implants are used as a substitute for teeth when they are missing. The implant itself is a metal post that's implanted into the jaw bone where it will serve as an artificial tooth root. In most cases, the implant is used to secure a single artificial tooth that's been lost due to decay, gum damage, trauma or other causes. The artificial tooth, or crown, can be custom shaped and tinted, so it looks, feels, and functions like a natural tooth. In other cases, a metal implant can be used to attach to a bridge or crown to provide a more comfortable fit.
Dental implants typically require three office visits. At the first visit, the metal post will be carefully implanted into the jawbone, where it will fuse with the bone over a period of a few weeks. This process is called ossification. At the second visit (which will take place after ossification has occurred) a piece called an abutment will be attached to the post. The abutment is designed to attach to the artificial tooth. Once the abutment is in place, an impression will be made and sent to a lab where the crown will be carefully crafted. At the third appointment, the dental implant will be attached to the abutment and gently shaped, so it fits comfortably.
A bone graft takes a very small sample of bone, either harvested from your mouth or from a tissue bank, to build up jaw bone that has atrophied following tooth loss or that is otherwise just too thin to support an implant. In most cases, the grafting procedure can be performed at the first visit when the post is implanted.
No, implants can be cared for like your natural teeth, with routine brushing and flossing and regular trips to our office every six months to help keep gum disease at bay.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!