A dental implant is designed to replace missing teeth. It’s a device that’s usually made of titanium and is surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. Dental implants can replace one or all of your teeth if necessary. After a few months, the implant fuses to the jawbone and serves as a base for replacement teeth, bridges, or dentures that look and feel very natural. Unlike a dental bridge or dentures, implants are permanent.
Implants offer stability because they fuse to your bone through a process called osseointegration. This helps your replacement teeth feel more natural. Many people find dental implants much more comfortable than conventional dentures and bridges.
While you must continue to practice good oral hygiene with regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits, there’s no need to remove the teeth for cleaning. Because dental implants won’t slip and slide the way dentures can, you can eat the foods you enjoy and trust your “teeth” won’t lose their grip and interfere with your speech.
To prepare the site for implants, the gum tissue is opened to expose the bone where the implant will be placed. A bone graft or sinus lift may be required if there’s insufficient bone structure to maintain the implant.
Once healthy bone material has been established, a special drill is used to prepare the bone to receive the implant. The implant is then placed and the tissue is sutured.
The sutures are usually removed 7-14 days after surgery, but it can take three to six months for the implant site to heal and osseointegration to take place.
Once the site has healed adequately, a special post is attached to the implant. This forms the support for the new tooth or “crown” that’s shaded to match your normal tooth color. Crafted from porcelain, the new crown possesses translucency properties similar to your natural teeth.