As an adult, losing a tooth can be a very upsetting experience. Not only does it affect the appearance of your smile, but it can also affect your speech and dental function. The remaining teeth can start to shift or have trouble fitting together properly, leading to other dental problems. With modern tooth replacements, especially dental implants, there is no reason to suffer the complications of a missing tooth. Dental implants recreate the tooth from root to crown.
The process of getting a dental implant is a bit lengthier and more involved than that of another tooth replacement like a bridge or a partial denture. Read on as Dr. Robert Milner, who places dental implants in Mission Viejo, describes the process of getting a dental implant.
Step One: Preparing for a Dental Implant
Depending on the specific circumstances of the case, sometimes the mouth needs to be prepared for the placement of a dental implant. A damaged or weak tooth may need to be removed during an extraction procedure. Alternatively, the jawbone that is to support the implant may need to be built up in order to retain the post.
Step Two: Surgical Placement of the Implant Post
Once the mouth is ready for the implant, the implant post is surgically placed in the jawbone. An opening will be created in the gums to expose the bone; then, an opening will be created in the bone where the implant post will go. Once the post has been placed in the bone, it is left to heal.
Step Three: Osseointegration
Next, the post fuses with the bone during a process called osseointegration. At this time, the jawbone grows into and around the implant post, creating a sturdy foundation for the artificial tooth that will later top the implant post. Osseointegration normally takes a few months.
Step Four: Restoring the Implant Post
Then, the top of the implant post is exposed and an artificial tooth is attached to it. The tooth should be very realistic looking and match the surrounding teeth in size, shape and color. It should feel sturdy enough to chew on and should support a natural bite.
Step Five: Enjoy the Results
Although there may be a slight adjustment period to get used to the implant, it should feel natural to eat and smile with it. With the proper care and professional attention, the implant should last for many years.
Learn More about Dental Implants
For more information about the process of getting a dental implant, Dr. Milner invites you to contact our Mission Viejo office today.