Dental implants can be used to replace missing teeth. The implant is added to the jawbone and substitutes for the roots of the missing tooth. The implant procedure can be done by a dentist, periodontist, prosthodontist, or oral surgeon. It takes several appointments and is done over a period of 3-6 months.
Implants require several surgical procedures. Before getting implants, you will need to have a thorough dental exam, including having:
Models of your mouth
You and your dentist will make a treatment plan. Before treatment begins:
Talk to your dentist if you take any medications, herbs, or supplements.
You may need to stop taking some medications up to 1 week before the procedure.
Tell your dentist if you have any heart conditions or joint replacements. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics before surgery to prevent infection.
During the procedure, you may have local anesthesia, which only numbs a small area in your mouth. Or, you may have
so you do not feel any pain during the procedure. Talk to your dentist to decide which option is best for you.
At your first visit, an implant will be placed. The gum will be cut open to expose your jaw bone. A hole will be drilled and the implant will be placed. The implant is made of titanium or another material. It is implanted deep into the jaw bone. Your gum will be closed over the implant. You will need to wait 3-6 months for the implant to fuse with your jaw bone.
At the next visit, the implant will be uncovered and an extension, called a post or abutment, will be inserted. The post will stick out past your gums. This is done so that there is something on which to attach the crown. For some types of implants, the implant and post will be inserted during the same visit. A mold will also be made of your upper and lower jaw. The mold will be used to create the crown in a dental lab. You may have a temporary crown placed over the post until it is time for the permanent crown to be attached.
The crown will be attached at a third visit after your gums have healed around the abutment post—usually 2-3 weeks.