Modern dental implants provide an attractive restorative option to dentures or bridges for patients who have suffered from tooth loss. In the past, individuals with missing teeth, whether due to injury or disease, were limited to the options of dentures, partial bridges or leaving gaps in their smiles. Although most patients have heard of dental implants, many have questions about what to expect.
Evaluation and Planning
Before the patient can make a decision about dental implants, a thorough examination and x-rays must be done. An examination will determine whether the patient is an ideal candidate for this procedure. It’s important for all health information to be discussed thoroughly before moving forward with the process.
Repair, Extraction and Bone Grafting
The highest success rates for dental implants occur in patients who have the healthiest mouths prior to the dental implant process. This might mean several other procedures will need to take place before proceeding.
• Fillings or root canals for teeth that will be saved
• Extractions for teeth that have failed and cannot be saved
• Bone grafting for patients with severe bone loss in the jaw
The preparation process might also involve temporarily using a partial, bridges or dentures until the area is healed and the next step of the process can begin.
Placement of Implants
Once the mouth has healed from repairs and extractions, the first step of the actual implantation procedure can begin. The implantation will involve the placement of the implants after the area has been numbed with anesthetic. To do this, the dental implants will be surgically attached to the bone in the jaw under the gums.
Modern implants are composed of strong materials that work well with the body, which minimizes the chances for rejection or reaction. A temporary cap will be placed over each implant during healing. Dentures or bridges will continue to be used until the surrounding gum tissue has healed and the final steps can be completed.
Although the changes cannot yet be seen on the outside, the groundwork will be laid for the remaining steps in the dental implant process. Essentially, the actual dental implant replaces the root of a tooth.
Abutment and Crown Procedure
Once the bone and gums have healed from the implant placement, an abutment can be placed over and connected to each implant. An abutment is a connecting fixture that attaches the implant itself, which is now strongly affixed to the jawbone, to the crown, which will be the part of the completed look that can be seen.
The crowns will be evaluated for proper placement before being attached to make sure the final look will be satisfactory for the patient. Once the crown placement has been approved, the crowns will be placed, fitted and secured. With the proper fit, implants will function similar to natural teeth while providing an aesthetically pleasing look.
Teeth in One Visit Option
Typically, the full dental implant process can take up to several months. However, certain patients are good candidates for what is referred to as “teeth in one visit.” In this situation, every procedure from fillings to dental implant crowns are completed in one day. Although this can reduce the amount of time spent attending dental appointments, it’s not right for every patient and should be discussed in detail with the dentist.
Schedule Your Visit
Contact our knowledgeable staff at Johnny Smith DMD in Peoria if you are considering dental implants in Peoria and want to learn more details about the procedures involved. Contact us today to get started on your new, beautiful smile.