A dental implant is used to replace a missing tooth by utilizing an artificial root. This artificial root is used to support a dental restoration, such as a crown, in order to prevent jaw bone loss or other dental health issues caused by a missing tooth or teeth. Categorized as a form of prosthetic dentistry, a dental implant can help to make someone feel less self-conscious. For this reason a dental implant is also considered a form of cosmetic dentistry.
Importance of Replacing Missing Teeth
There are several issues that can arise from a missing tooth or teeth. Aside from feeling self-conscious about how you look, a missing tooth or teeth can cause biting irregularities, which can, in turn, have a negative effect on how and what you eat. This can cause malnutrition, which can also lead to more dental health issues. When a missing tooth root is replaced, strength and stability are returned to the jaw bone and surrounding teeth, making chewing and eating easier. A missing tooth can also affect facial features from a loss in jaw bone integrity, so getting a dental implant can help to prevent this from happening and ensure that you maintain your original facial features.
The duration of the treatment depends on the condition of the patients oral health; some patients may not require any extra work, while patients with insufficient bone or gum tissue may require the use of bone or gum tissue grafts or the use of a smaller diameter implant known as a mini implant. This causes the need for more dental visits to complete the dental implant procedure. Whether or not the patient will require sedation or anesthetics also depends on the condition of the patient. During the consultation, the dentist will go over your options and create the ideal plan for your treatment.
Overall, the dental implant procedure results in a tooth that is virtually impossible to distinguish from a natural tooth with the naked eye. This is in part due to the connection between the dental implant and the living bone of the jaw. A dental implant can be done on anyone after adolescence or when bone growth is complete, making it a very popular technique for the replacement of a missing tooth or teeth.
The first step is preparing the jaw for implantation. This is done by drilling a small hole, called a pilot hole, at edentulous jaw sites (a site on the jaw where there are no teeth) in order to guide the first part of a dental implant (a titanium screw) and hold it in place. Because the jaw bone has so many nerves that run through it, x-rays need to be taken and careful consideration is required when deciding the placement of the pilot hole. Drilling a pilot hole in the wrong place could sever a nerve resulting in lifelong consequences for the patient.
After careful placement of the pilot hole, it is carefully and slowly widened until it reaches the desired diameter in order to properly support the implant screw, much like a carpenter would do with a screw hole in wood. Once the screw is securely in place the gum tissue is secured over the implant, which will eventually heal into place and protect the base of the screw. Next, a protective cover screw is placed on top to allow the site to heal and to make sure the bone accepts the screw as if it were a natural tooth root. This is essential if the implant is going to properly function. In order for the next step to take place, a dentist will usually allow up to six months of healing to ensure the implant will function properly.
After this time period, the dentist will uncover the implant and attach an abutment to the implant which will eventually hold the crown in place. Once in place, the abutment will secure a temporary crown until the permanent crown is ready. Once the permanent crown or tooth-like replacement is in place, the procedure is complete, resulting in a natural-looking replacement for a missing tooth. For further information please call us 865-539-1119