What Are Dental Implants?

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If you find yourself in need of a tooth or multiple tooth replacements, dental implants may be the answer. They can be an ideal alternative to dentures or bridgework.

What Is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is a titanium surgical fixture placed in the jaw that fuses with the jawbone over time. The implant surgery replaces the roots of a missing tooth with an implant. An artificial tooth replaces a damaged or missing tooth and looks and functions like an actual tooth.

Why Choose Dental Implants?

There are many reasons dental implants are a good choice. It is the favored option for tooth replacement with a conservative approach and a success rate of 98%. They are the closest thing to actual teeth in look and feel. The jawbone is the thing that supports them, and they don’t affect the surrounding teeth. They are very stable, as the implant integrates into the bone structure.

What Is the Surgical Process?

Implant surgery is an outpatient procedure. It has several phases, with healing time required between them.

Damaged Tooth Removal

If a damaged tooth is present at the implant site, they remove it. If there is enough bone present, they extract the damaged tooth right before they place the implant.

Bone Grafting

In some cases, bone grafting is necessary. An alveolar bone graft achieves a solid base. It will take two to six months to heal from this procedure.

They may place an onlay bone graft on the existing jaw bone if there is no tooth and bone loss is present. It would take six or more months to heal.

If the implant site is in the upper jaw, the amount of bone available may not be enough. Sinus augmentation may be necessary to raise the sinus floor to graft more bone to support the implant.

Implant Placement

The implant is then placed into the bone. A healing cap is placed over the implant, and they stitch the gum up afterward.

Bone Growth and Healing

The amount of healing time required depends on the amount of quality bone present. Usually, it takes around two to six months. Over this time, the implant integrates with the bone.

Abutment Placement

The abutment, a prosthetic component, is connected to the implant. It will hold the replacement tooth.

Artificial Tooth Placement

An impression of the abutment is made and the replacement crown is custom made to fit. It may be cemented or secured with a screw to the abutment.

Some side effects that may occur after surgery include:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Pain at the implant site
  • Minor bleeding

Pain medication or antibiotics may be prescribed after surgery.

How Do I Take Care of My Implant?

To keep your implant in good shape, practice good oral hygiene. Schedule to see your dentist regularly, and if you grind your teeth, seek treatment. Avoid tobacco and caffeine products that stain teeth.

Here at Wytheville Dental Group, one of the services we offer is implant dentistry. If you are interested in our services, please contact us to learn more or schedule an appointment.