A dental implant is a false tooth or crown installed on the top of a small titanium post, which is implanted in a patient’s jaw. The post replaces a natural tooth root and provides the same stimulation to keep the jaw and gums healthy and stable. The posts are made of titanium, which is a biocompatible metal used in all kinds of prosthetics from teeth to joints and bones throughout the body.
Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth, so they feel completely natural when eating and speaking. In addition, there are no messy adhesives and are easy to care for with normal brushing, flossing, and routine dental checkups & cleanings. The biggest advantage of implants is that they can help prevent jaw bone atrophy that can occur after tooth loss. The metal post serves the same function as a natural tooth root to stimulate the normal bone replacement process.
Most implant placements require several appointments. In some cases, the patient may need bone or tissue grafting to restore the jawbone, making it strong enough to support an implant. The installation process itself will require a few visits. For example, during one visit, the implant is placed in the jaw bone. The patient will need to wait for several weeks before the next appointment to allow the post to fuse with the bone tissue. Then, at the next appointment, a second piece called an abutment will be attached to the post. The abutment secures the artificial tooth or crown to the post. At this point, the dentist takes an impression and sends it to the lab where the artificial tooth will be made. At the final appointment, the artificial tooth will be attached to the abutment. The false tooth is buffed and polished for a natural appearance. In some cases, further follow-up is necessary to ensure the right fit and correct bite.