A dental implant is the only tooth replacement option that mimics the look, feel, and function of a natural tooth. A dental implant is surgically placed into the jawbone, with the number of steps involved in the process depending on the condition of the jawbone and the type of implant being used.
In order for a dental implant to be successful, the jawbone needs to contain enough strength and density to be able to support it. When a patient lacks the necessary strength and density in their jawbone, a bone graft surgery is required before the implant can be placed. It can possibly take up to nine months for the jawbone to fully heal to the point that it can support the implant.
During the implant placement surgery, the surgeon will first cut an incision into the gum at the site of the missing tooth. With the bone now exposed, the surgeon will drill a hole into it. The implant is then placed into the hole. It can take anywhere between a few weeks and six months for the implant to osseointegrate with the bone. Once it has osseointegrated, an additional surgery is required if a two-stage dental implant was used. In this additional surgery, it will be necessary to cut the gum open so that the implant is exposed. An abutment is then attached to the implant and the gum is closed around the abutment. For a single-stage dental implant, the abutment will have already been attached and this additional surgery will not be necessary. The last step is to place a dental crown on top of the implant. Since the crown can be made to match the color of your remaining teeth, the implant should just blend right in. Furthermore, you can eat and speak with the dental implant just as well as if it was a natural tooth.
If you are looking to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant, contact our dental implant dentist to schedule a consultation.