Dental implantation surgery is a relatively permanent way to replace one or more missing teeth. This is an involved procedure, and to ensure the best results, you should work with a dental professional who is experienced in oral and facial surgery. To help you prepare, here’s an overview of the process.
Preparing for Dental Implantation
As with any dental procedure, this process starts with a consultation. During that appointment, the dentist examines your mouth to ensure you’re a good candidate for dental implantation. They talk with you about the process, what to expect, and the length. Then, you decide if you want to move forward.
If so, the dentist extracts teeth if needed. This process requires you to have healthy jaw bone in the area of the implantation, and your dentist may need to do a bone graft if you don’t have ample jaw bone in the area where you are missing teeth. If your jaw bone is healthy and your teeth are already gone in that area, these steps are not necessary.
Getting the Post for the Dental Implantation
When your mouth is ready, the dentist places a very small metal post in your jaw bone. If the implantation is immediately sturdy, your dentist may place an abutment on the post in the same appointment. The abutment is a very small piece of metal that a crown will eventually grow over. However, in most cases, the abutment doesn’t come until later.
Instead, the dentist stitches closed your gums over the site of the metal post. This gives the metal post time to ossify to your jaw bone, and that process takes several weeks or potentially months.
At some point during this process, the dentist will take 3D images of your mouth. Those images will guide the shape of the crown or the bridge. Traditionally, dentists used molds for this step, but advancements in digital photography and imaging have made the process much more comfortable.
Attaching the Crown to the Implantation
Once the post has ossified, your dentist has you return for another appointment. During that appointment, the dentist opens the gum tissue to reveal the post. Then, they attach the abutment and add the crown. If the abutment was added early in the process, the dentist adds the crown when your gum tissue has fully healed around the implantation site.
The crown completes the process. This creates the appearance of a totally natural tooth, which blends in with the rest of your mouth. If you need to replace multiple teeth, the dentist may put in two implants on either side of the gap, followed by placing a bridge between the implantation sites.
Using Ceramics for Implantation
In lieu of using the above steps, some dentists offer ceramic dental implants. This option is ideal for patients with metal allergies, as the implant doesn’t necessarily contain metal. Instead, it’s just a single piece of ceramic. Also, this design speeds up the process. The dentist can put in the whole implant at once rather than doing the post, followed by the abutment, and finally the crown.
If you want a dental implantation or if you want to talk about other options for missing teeth, contact us today. At Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery, we offer a range of procedures, and we have two locations for your convenience in Buckhead and Cumming.