What is Involved in Getting a Dental Implant?
The first step in the dental implant process is the development of an individualized treatment plan. The plan addresses your specific needs and is prepared by a team of professionals who are specially trained and experienced in surgery and restorative dentistry. This team approach provides coordinated care based on the implant option that is best for you.
Often, additional diagnostic information in the form of a three dimensional scan is necessary for planning the implant process. A surgical guide may be recommended so that the implant is placed in the correct position and orientation for optimum success.
If your tooth is present, it will be extracted and a bone graft placed to preserve the bone at the site. Three to four months after the extraction and graft procedure, you can begin the implant placement procedure.
Next, the implant, which is a small post made of titanium, is placed into the bone at the site of the missing tooth. As the jawbone heals, it grows around the implanted metal post, anchoring it securely in the jaw. The healing process can take from twelve to sixteen weeks.
Once the implant has integrated into the jawbone, you will return to your restorative dentist to make the new tooth or teeth. Your restorative dentist makes impressions of your teeth, and creates a model of your bite (which captures all of your teeth, their type, and arrangement). The new tooth or teeth is based on this model. Your dentist will also match the color of the new teeth to your natural teeth. Because the implant is secured within the jawbone, the replacement teeth look, feel, and function just like your own natural teeth. Your restorative dentist will attach a small connector post, called an abutment, to your implant and a replacement tooth called a crown is then attached to the abutment.