Dental implants are a permanent and appealing solution to replace missing or extracted teeth. They are better than other alternatives like bridges because no additional teeth need to be altered to place the new tooth. In certain estheticaly visible parts of the mouth having an implant will also benefit by preservong the contour of the gum area.
The entire implant process is more predictably performed over the course of a few months. The first part of the process is to install the implant itself, where a screw is placed into the jaw bone. Before placement the bone is assessed with a 3-d xray to see if an adequate bulk of bone is available for the screw size required for the bite forces unique to that position in the mouth. At placement an incision is made in the gum so that the implant can be inserted. Multiple implants can be placed at once if necessary. After the implants are placed the gums are sutured. Oral sedation with one pill is available , or just nitrous, for this procedure if you prefer the added comfort.
The implant must be allowed about 3-6 months to heal, and during this time the jaw bone will form around the implant in a process called osseointegration. During this healing time you can have temporary crowns installed to maintain a proper aesthetic appearance for your smile.
After the implant has healed it is time to place an abutment on the implant. The abutment serves as the base for your new tooth. Once this is placed an impression of the abutment is taken and is used to create your permanent restoration. Once the restoration is completed you can return to the office to attach the restoration permanently. Your smile will look just like it used to, and after a short period of getting used to the implant it will feel just like one of your own teeth.