Implants – A dental implant is a long-term solution to replace a missing tooth. It consists of three parts- the titanium post or root replacement, the abutment, and the final restoration (this could be a crown, denture, bridge, or partial denture depending on the patient).
The process works as follows; first x-ray images are taken from different angles to ensure that there is enough healthy bone structure available. Once this is confirmed, the implant procedure can go ahead as planned. Local anaesthesia is used to numb the implant site and an incision is made in the gums. This exposes the bone, making it accessible. Then, a small hole, the precise diameter and depth of the post, is drilled into the bone. The implant post is then screwed into the hole in the bone. An x-ray will be taken to verify that the implant post is in the correct place and the gums will be sewn back over the implant. The dental implant placement will take between 1 and 2 hours.
The titanium post will fuse to the bone over the following months, between 3 and 6 months depending on the patient. The bone and the implant will then be inseparable- this is important to ensure an extremely durable foundation for the last restoration and to ensure the long-term durability of the implants. Titanium is oleophilic and readily fuses to bone, making it the perfect material for this procedure.
If the implant location (and missing tooth) is visible when you smile, a removable partial denture can be created and worn until the final restoration is complete. After the implant procedure, there may be some swelling but over the counter pain medication can be taken if any discomfort is experienced. Most dental implant patients can go back to work after the surgery, without taking the day off, and return to usual activities without any issues.
The final step in the implant process is a crown, bridge, or denture. An abutment is a connecting piece that attaches the restoration to the artificial root(s). The crown, bridge, or denture is all that is visible at the end of the process, allowing for a beautiful smile that makes the whole process worth it.