Dental implants are the best option for replacing teeth because they function more like natural teeth compared to other tooth replacement options. However, the process to get new teeth with implants is more invasive, expensive, and involves several more steps. Dr. Joseph Thompson discusses the dental implant process as it will take place at his Greeley, CO dental practice. It is important that patients understand what to expect when choosing teeth implants.
The Dental Implant Process
Undergoing a complete exam and planning out your treatment is the most important part of the implant process. This will entail a complete exam to determine if you are good candidate for dental implants. Your dentist may need to take X-rays, CT scans, or other diagnostic tests to evaluate the bone density and the condition of the surrounding teeth and gums. Once they have a good understand of your needs and the current state of your oral health, your dentist can create a dental implant treatment plan that will effectively replace your missing teeth. The steps in the dental implant process include:
Addressing Underlying Dental Problems
If you suffer from any underlying dental problems, your dentist will have to address them first. This includes problems such as gum disease, tooth decay, or infection. You may simply need a deep cleaning or intense treatment that will extend your overall treatment time.
Some patients may require bone grafting. If your jawbone is not thick enough or too soft to support dental implants, a bone graft will help build the bone back up. This procedure involves taking bone tissue from another part of the body and transplanting it into the jawbone. The new tissue will fuse to the existing bone to create a strong foundation for the implants.
Placing the Dental Implants
Once you are healthy enough, the next step is to receive your dental implants. The dentist or surgeon will surgically place the implant fixtures into the jawbone. This surgery involves making a small incision in the gum tissue to expose the bone. Then they will drill a hole in the bone and insert the implant. The gum tissue is stitched up and the implants are left heal and fuse to the bone. In most cases, your dentist can secure a temporary restoration.
Bone Growth and Healing Time
This is a critical part of the implant process. However, it takes the longest, about 3 to 6 months. During this time, the bone tissue will grow and fuse to the implant fixtures during a process called osseointegration. Essentially, the bone and implants will become one making the implants very strong and stable. This is what allows them to be a great foundation for a dental restoration.
Seeing how important this part of the process is, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene during this time. Follow all your post-op care instructions as we as brush and floss often. These basic steps will help minimize the risk of infection or other complications.
Placing the Abutments
When the implant fixtures are fully fused with the jawbone, your dentist will open back up the gums to access the implants. Then they will secure the abutments to the top of each implant. The abutment is a small connector piece that protrudes above the gum line and serves as a base for the dental restoration.
Securing the Dental Restoration
Finally, your dentist will secure your dental restoration, or the false teeth. This will be a dental crown, dental bridge, or denture. They type of restoration you need depends on how many teeth you are missing. This will take place at your very last appointment. With a well-planned treatment plan, securing your restoration should be simple.
- Implant Dentistry: An Overview
- Additional Dental Implant FAQs
- What are Dental Implants?
- The Benefits of Dental Implants
- Dental Implants vs Dentures
- Dental Implants Cost
The dental implant process is a complex and multi-step process that requires careful planning, preparation, and execution. Dr. Thompson would like to meet with you to discuss the dental implant process in Greeley, CO if you are considering them. Contact our office at 970.205.9614 or request an appointment online to get started today.