Dental implants are a secure and a durable option for replacing missing teeth. Being a surgical process, implants are an investment in your smile that takes time. But we believe it is time well spent.
Dental implant surgery is a procedure in which a metal screw-like post is inserted into the jaw, where it functions like a root for the missing tooth. During the healing process, the titanium screw fuses to the jawbone. An artificial tooth is then attached to the implant, restoring the look and function of the missing tooth.
Dental implants are offered at Dr. Nathanial Podilsky’s practice in Edmonton, where we explain the treatment and review the dental implants timeline, providing patients the detailed information they need to make a decision.
How long your dental implant treatment takes depends on two variables: How quickly your body heals and the state of your jawbone. The best candidates for implants are people in good overall health that are simply missing at least one tooth. They need sufficient bone and gum density to support the implant. If these are lacking, then additional surgeries can be performed to build up both.
A typical timeline:
Stage 1: Consultation
Our dentist will discuss the dental implant process with you and thoroughly examine your teeth, gums, and jawbone to determine if you are a good candidate. This includes having dental X-rays and models created of your teeth and mouth. We will also take a complete medical history to assess your overall health. Then, a treatment plan will be developed and reviewed with you.
Step 2: Oral Surgery
During oral surgery, the surgeon makes an incision in your gum and creates a pilot hole in the jawbone for the dental implant. The implant resembles a screw and is made of titanium, a material the body usually accepts without complications. Once the implant has been placed, the gums are sutured closed.
Step 3: Osseointegration
The next step is waiting for the body to heal and the implant to fuse with the jawbone, a process called osseointegration. This takes about four to six months, depending on how quickly your body heals itself. This “fusing” step provides the solid foundation for the artificial teeth.
Step 4: Adding the Abutment
During this appointment, the dental implant will be uncovered and a post-like piece called an “abutment” will be attached. Your artificial tooth or other restoration will eventually be attached to the abutment. At this point, your gums will once again be allowed to heal, which usually takes two weeks.
Sometimes the abutment is attached to the implant during the initial implant procedure, leaving the abutment visible during the healing phase. For people who would rather not have the abutment visible for that long, the abutment is placed in this secondary surgery.
Step 5: Attaching the Restoration
The replacement tooth, also called a crown, is made from an impression taken of your mouth after the gums have healed to ensure the restoration is tailored to your mouth. The crown is then attached to the abutment. Dental implants can be designed to hold individual crowns, bridges, or even full sets of dentures, depending on the extent of restoration that is needed.
Dental implants offer a secure and durable solution for missing teeth while restoring a natural smile. If you would like to know more about implants, please contact our cosmetic dentistry offices for more information.