A dental implant consists of a titanium root post embedded into your jawbone and an attached, porcelain crown. This implant is permanent and looks, feels, and functions exactly like your own natural teeth. A dental implant can be placed in your mouth by an oral surgeon, a periodontist, a prosthodontist, or a general dentist with training in implant surgery. A dental implant is an ideal solution for anyone who has a missing or lost tooth. The procedure to get a dental implant is as follows:
- Examination and X-rays - Your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums and take full-mouth x-rays. These x-rays are needed to view the underlying bone structure of your jaw and determine if you are a good candidate for a dental implant.
- Treatment Plan - Your dentist will assess your oral and medical health and formulate a treatment plan for your particular teeth and bone structure. Your dentist will discuss your treatment plan completely with you and explain all your available options.
- Impressions - Your dentist will take impressions of all of your teeth in order to make a cast model of your teeth and bite pattern. This model will duplicate all of your teeth, their type, shape, and arrangement. This is done in order to help your dentist design the exact shape and size of your new implant crown and how it will fit into your mouth.
- Implant Root Post - Your dentist will surgically place a titanium root post into the bone socket of your jaw where you have a missing tooth. This root post will permanently integrate into your jaw. Periodontal ligaments will grow around it and fuse it to your jawbone. This root post is the basic structure that will hold your new implant crown.
- Abutment - Your dentist will attach a metal abutment to the implanted root post. This abutment screws directly into the root post and will hold the implant crown.
- Implant Crown - After an appropriate healing period, your dentist will work with a dental lab to design and create a porcelain implant crown that will duplicate the size and shape of your missing tooth. This implant crown will match the exact color and feel of your natural tooth.
A dental implant is made of metal and porcelain and does not decay or need replacement. A dental implant requires the same care as your natural teeth including brushing and flossing at least twice a day. Periodic follow-up visits to your dentist are advised to monitor your implant and other teeth to make sure that all is growing as planned and that you remain healthy. With conscientious dental care and regular follow-up appointments, a dental implant can give you confidence and a beautiful smile.