What is a dental implant?
When a single tooth needs to be replaced, dental implants are the preferred treatment method. An implant is a mechanical tooth root that is placed into your bone and allowed to integrate. You and your dentist will decide if this is the best treatment option for you. If you elect to pursue an implant, we will make a referral to a periodontist or oral surgeon. These specialists have been trained in the advanced techniques needed to create a successful restoration. They become an imperative part of your dental team!
The success of a dental implant depends on many different factors:
- Medical history and medications
- Amount and type of available bone
- Amount of available space between adjacent and opposing teeth
- Any coinciding pathology
- Any excess biting forces due to clenching/grinding
After your implant has fully integrated with the bone (usually a period of four to six months), it is ready to restore. This process involves an impression (mold) that is made of the area. This mold is sent to a dental laboratory for fabrication of the implant crown. Three weeks later, the implant crown is ready to be fitted to your implant. Once we have checked for proper fit, form, function, and esthetics, the implant crown will be permanently placed and you can use it right away!
I have my new implant crown, what’s next?
Although dental implants cannot decay, they can sustain bone loss for many reasons. Maintaining regular cleanings with our hygienists and proper oral hygiene habits are imperative to retaining your implant for a lifetime. You can brush it like normal, but flossing will be a little different. Your dental team will instruct you on the correct cleaning techniques for your implant.
Sometimes, a night guard is recommended to help control any excess biting forces that may be placed on your implant while you are not aware of it. Your dentist will talk to you about a night guard and how it pertains to your case.