To preserve your oral health, it's vital to replace any missing teeth. Your dentist might need to place a dental implant to support a tooth replacement. Today, our Ottawa dentist explains the dental implant procedure.
What is a dental implant?
Your dentist can place a dental implant surgically into your jaw bone to support a tooth replacement. This artificial tooth root can be used in conjunction with a dental crown, dental bridge or dentures.
Together, the dental implant and tooth replacement look and function very much like a natural tooth.
A dental implant has two pieces: the titanium rod that's placed into the jaw bone and functions similar to the root of the tooth, and an abutment that screws into the rod. this ultimately supports the artificial tooth replacement.
The Dental Implant Procedure
It's sometimes possible to place dental implants on the same day as teeth are extracted. However, it typically takes three to six months of healing before the implant can be placed. Your dentist will be able to give you a more specific timeline based on your circumstances and treatment plan.
The procedure usually takes two appointments to complete. At the first visit, the dentist will start the implant procedure by surgically placing the titanium rod into your jaw bone beneath the gum tissue. They will stitch the gum tissue back into place.
As the tissue heals, the implant will bond with the bone and attach to the gum. The healing process may take up to several months.
Once your gum tissue has healed, your dentist will attach the abutment to the rod at the second appointment. Finally, they will attach a tooth replacement to the abutment.
This procedure will result in an artificial tooth that looks and functions much like a natural tooth.
In cases where there might not be enough jaw bone volume to support an implant, bone graft surgery may be required so implants can be placed later.
Many patients wonder if the dental implant procedure will be painful. While every patient has a different pain threshold, most are unlikely to experience major discomfort during and after the operation. You'll have the opportunity to discuss anesthesia options with your dentist and plan your procedure based on your preferences.
Typically, dental implant placement is completed using local anesthesia.
Why use a dental implant?
If you're missing one or more teeth, dental implants can be used to address a number of issues and protect your oral health.
By using a dental implant and a tooth replacement such as a dental bridge, dental crown or dentures, you can prevent surrounding teeth from shifting, restore any jaw pain or bite issues, and even improve chewing, speech and digestion. Having this procedure can also help avoid the appearance of a 'sunken face' that can often occur with missing teeth.
Wondering whether you'll be able to chew normally? Typically, chewing has been shown to improve after treatment. After a brief period of adapting to your new implants, chewing efficiency for most patients is similar to that of natural teeth.
How long will my dental implant last?
When cared for properly, a dental implant can last many years. It will be essential to practice proper at-home oral care, including brushing and flossing, and to schedule a regular dental exam and cleaning with your dentist. Other factors that can impact the longevity of dental implants include nutrition, genetics, or the development of any dental diseases.