Until recently, the only options for those with missing or failing teeth were replacements such as bridges and dentures. Today, though, dental implants have become the gold standard. Individual implants can replace one, a few, or even all of your missing teeth, while implant supported dentures and fixed implant bridges are a more cost-effective way to replace several or all of the teeth. Regardless of exactly which dental implant procedure you choose, the basic process is the same.
Examination and Treatment Planning
The first step is a thorough examination. We will ensure that dental implants are the best solution for you, and will determine exactly what steps need to occur before you are ready to receive implants. We will take X-rays and scans to learn the current condition of your mouth, and then work with you to develop a treatment plan. Please feel free to ask questions and express any concerns you have.
Tooth Repair and Extraction
Dental implants must be placed in a clean and healthy mouth. If you need any other treatments such as fillings or root canals, we will perform those first and give them an opportunity to heal.
The next step is to extract the failing teeth that will be replaced with implants. This is a generally minor procedure that can be performed under local anesthesia. If you have dental anxiety or your extractions are particularly complex, you might prefer dental sedation.
Bone Grafting (if Needed)
Most people do not need bone grafting, but if you do, it is not something that we can skip. Bone grafting is a simple procedure that builds up the jawbone to create a strong base for your dental implants. Depending on how much bone grafting you need, it could take weeks or months to heal.
Dental implants are typically placed under local anesthesia. After thoroughly numbing your mouth, we will cut a small flap in your gum tissue and then use drills to open a small hole in your jawbone. We will screw the implant into the hole and close your gum tissue.
Dental implants can be topped with either a cover screw or a healing cap. A cover screw is flat, while a healing cap is shaped like an abutment-the piece that will attach the implant to the final restoration. Whichever is used, it will take time to heal. You will leave our office with a partial or full denture to wear so that you are not without teeth during the healing process.
Abutment and Crown
Once your implant has fused with your jawbone, you will return for an abutment and crown. During this minor procedure, we will reopen the gum tissue and replace the cover screw or healing cap with an abutment. We then carefully place the final crown on top.
If you are having multiple tooth replacements, you will have had two or more implants placed at the same time. During this step, you will receive abutments for all of your implants, as well as your custom denture or bridge.
The All-on-Four is a unique dental implant option for those who need a full arch of replacement teeth. This solution uses just four implants to secure a full fixed bridge of teeth. It is immediate-load, which means that you will receive fixed teeth on the same day as your implants, rather than having to wear a temporary replacement while your mouth heals. The initial teeth are acrylic, which you can upgrade to porcelain later if desired.
Ready to Get Started?
To learn more or to schedule a dental implant consultation, contact our office today at 203-327-2540.