The Dental Implant
A dental implant replaces the root of a missing tooth and is made from surgical-grade titanium alloy (Ti 6Al-4V) to exacting specifications. Initially, the implant is placed into the jawbone either immediately after the loss of a tooth, or after an extended period of time. If there is insufficient bone, various bone enhancing procedures can be performed prior to the implant placement. An abutment, which acts as a base for a prosthetic tooth replacement such as a crown, is inserted into the implant at the time of implant placement, or subsequently after a period of healing.
The Benefits of Dental Implants
In the past, dentists would try to keep or replace teeth with treatments such as root canals, bridges, and fixed or removable dentures. Unfortunately, a significant number of root canal treated teeth fail, bridges require that healthy adjacent teeth be cut down and removable dentures can often be unstable and require the use of sticky adhesives. Dental implants are a solution to these problems, and many of the concerns associated with natural teeth are eliminated, including dental decay.
The Dental Implant Procedure
The placement of a dental implant is typically completed in less than an hour, as an office procedure with only local anesthesia. Post-operative discomfort is normally less than that of a tooth extraction. For aesthetic reasons, it is often possible to have a fixed transitional restoration immediately after implant placement so that you are never without a tooth. After a period of three to six months of healing, the temporary healing abutment is removed from the implant and a final abutment is inserted into the implant. A crown or removable denture is secured to this abutment as the final restoration.