Dental Implants - Implant Education
A dental implant is an artificial substitute/replacement for the root portion of your natural tooth and is anchored into a pre-drilled socket in your jaw-bone to support a crown, bridge or secure a denture firmly in place.
Implants are made from titanium, a material that is well tolerated by bone and integrates easily with bone tissue. During the placement of a dental implant, the goal is to achieve a close contact between the outer surface of the implant and the surrounding bone tissue so they can "fuse" together(osseo integration), creating a stable support for the new teeth.
Before any implants are placed, it is important for your dentist to assess the health of your teeth and gums. If there are any signs of gum disease or decay, these must first be treated. Thereafter, your treatment will be planned following several x-rays and, in some cases, a CT scan to assess bone quality and check for nearby anatomical structures to best plan implant placement. The procedure is usually carried out under local anesthesia, IV Sedation may be used if it is a long procedure or the patient is very anxious.
The gum where the implant is to be placed is cut and lifted and a small hole is drilled in the jawbone at the precise location of the intended implant. The titanium implant is tightly fitted into this socket and the gum is stitched back over the implant. If there is insufficient bone material to accommodate the implant, a bone graft may be required.
Once the implant has been placed, it is left to heal and integrate with the jawbone for between 3 months to 6 months. The bone tissue will grow and anchor itself in to the microscopic rough surface of the implant.
During this "healing period", patients are given temporary (bridges) or continue to wear dentures. It is important that temporary teeth do not exert any force on the healing implant. After the healing period, the gum is again lifted and a post is attached to the implant with a temporary crown. Four to six weeks later, when the surrounding gum tissue has matured, the final permanent restoration can be fitted to the implant
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