Dental bridges and dentures were the treatment of choice to replace missing or failing teeth for centuries. Today, though, they are rapidly being eclipsed by dental implants for a variety of reasons, including strength, durability, and preventing or reversing jawbone loss. One dental implant can support one crown, while a fixed implant bridge can anchor a full arch of fixed replacement teeth on just a handful of implants. Whichever procedure you need, the basic process is identical.
Examination and Treatment Planning
First, we will conduct a thorough examination of your teeth, soft tissues, and bone structure. With X-rays and scans, we can determine your current state of oral health and determine whether dental implants are the best solution to meet your needs. We will then work with you to develop a detailed treatment plan that meets your budget and goals for treatment.
Tooth Repair and Extraction
Your mouth must be clean and healthy before we can place dental implants, so we must fix any existing dental problems such as decay or gum disease. We will then extract your failing teeth under local anesthesia.
Bone Grafting (if Needed)
Some people lack sufficient jawbone to support dental implants, though this is relatively uncommon. If needed, though, we will perform a simple bone grafting procedure and then allow it to heal for several weeks before moving forward.
Dental implants placement is considered a minor oral surgery. We will thoroughly numb your mouth and then cut a small flap in your gums. We will use a series of drills to open a tiny, precise hole in your jawbone. We will then screw the biocompatible titanium dental implant into the opening and close your gum tissue. If you need multiple dental implants, whether to support individual crowns or a denture or bridge, we can place them all during the same surgery.
We will top the dental implant(s) with either a flat cover screw or a healing cap in the same shape as the abutment that will later attach the implant to a dental crown. You will then receive a partial or full denture to wear while the implant integrates with the jawbone.
Abutment and Crown
Over the next several weeks, you will heal from implant surgery while the implant fuses with your bone. You will then return to our office for us to place the abutment and dental crown. This is a very simple procedure in which we will remove the healing cap or cover screw, replace it with an abutment, and carefully attach the final restoration. If you had multiple implants placed, we will address them all at the same time.
Although no dental procedure is right for everyone, for most patients, dental implants are the ideal choice for replacing missing or failing teeth. We will help you sort through your options and determine which procedure is the best for you.