What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is an artificial root that is surgically anchored into your jawbone to support a prosthetic tooth. Most implants require the use of an abutment, or support structure, which anchors the restoration to the dental implant. Implants have revolutionized the way we treat tooth loss because they can be used to support a single tooth, a bridge, or even a full mouth restoration.
You must be in good oral and overall health to receive a dental implant and also have the proper bone structure to ensure the implant stays in place. Patients who do not have a sufficient amount of bone may qualify for a bone graft procedure. After the bone graft, and a short healing period, implantation should be possible. Talk with Dr. Walmsley to learn if you are an implant candidate. During a consultation visit, we will discuss your options and perform a comprehensive exam to ensure that implants are right for you.
The Implant Procedure
The procedure for dental implants is typically broken up into two surgeries. Both surgeries involve the use of local anesthetic, but we have forms of sedation available as well. During the first surgery, Dr. Walmsley will make an incision in the gum tissue to place the implant. Next, we will use a very small drill to make a hole in the bone to make sure the implant is deeply embedded. Once the implant is in place, Dr. Walmsley will suture the incision.
For the next six months or so, your implant and bone will undergo the process of osseointegration. During this time, the bone and your implant will fuse together. Osseointegration is responsible for the sturdy bond that allows your implant to support a prosthetic tooth. In fact, osseointegration is responsible for many of the benefits of dental implants.
Once the implant and your bone have properly fused, we can place your abutment. Dr. Walmsley will reopen the incision to expose the implant and attach the abutment. Recent developments have made it possible for us to place the abutment at the same time as your implant; however, this depends on your circumstance.
Once the abutment is in place, we will make an impression of the area. This impression will be used to make a model, which is sent off to the dental laboratory. There, they will fabricate your final restoration using porcelain or zirconia. These materials best mimic the natural properties of tooth enamel.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Implants have become the industry standard for tooth replacement because they are superior to other restorations in almost every way. One of the biggest advantages is that they protect your healthy bone, meaning they prevent future bone deterioration. They are the only restoration that offers this protection.
Implants are also built to last. Under the right care, an implant will last for several decades. Many patients find their implant can even last a lifetime!
Implants also become a part of your anatomy, which makes them the next best thing to your healthy, natural teeth. You will be able to chew, speak, and smile with confidence and comfort!
Schedule a Consultation
If you are interested in learning more about dental implants, schedule your consultation, by calling (865) 248-2199.