Dental Implants Procedure
If you are considering a dental implant, it helps to understand the process to be prepared for the surgery and post-operative care.
The duration of dental implant procedure is dependent on the overall health of your jaw, gums and teeth. The entire process of inserting the implant and the recuperation time can vary between a few weeks to a year.
Below is a guide to the different steps involved in the dental implant process and procedure.
Step 1: Initial Investigation
Before beginning the dental implant procedure, the dental professional does a thorough examination of your teeth to assess its overall health.
This commonly involves taking of an X-ray or CT scan to determine if there is enough bone structure required to hold the implant in place and also locate the ideal spot for inserting the implant.
If the patient has an insufficient bone structure or weak tissues, then a bone graft is required before moving ahead with the dental implant. If the tooth is damaged or infected, then it has to be extracted.
Step 2: Placing the Implant
After the dental practitioner determines that there are adequate bone structure and healthy gums, it is time to begin with the dental implant process.
In this step, the implant is surgically inserted into the jaw bone. Over a period, the implant will eventually replace the root through a process called osseointegration.
During the recuperation period the bone cells will attach itself to the implant and secure it. If the procedure is conducted on the lower jaw, the healing time is around 4-5 months. But if it is on the upper jaw, the healing time is around 6-7 months.
Step 3: Placing the Abutment
After the dental implant has merged with the bone, a second surgery is conducted to place the abutment and temporary crown. An abutment is a pillar that is used to attach the dental implant and the artificial teeth.
An incision is made to uncover the top of the dental implant. Once done, a healing cap is put on top of the implant which will help the gum tissues to recover in the right manner.
After the tissues around the cap have healed completely, an abutment is screwed on top of the implant. A temporary crown is then placed above the abutment. This will be in place for at least 4-6 weeks.
During this time, the gums around it will gradually heal and begin to look like the gums surrounding the normal teeth.
A softer material is used for the construction of the temporary crown to protect the implant from the impact of chewing. This also helps the jawbone to become stronger during the healing period.
Step 4: Affixing the Permanent Crown
While the abutment is healing, the prosthodontist will take an impression if the teeth and build a permanent crown. This can be fixed to the abutment either by cementing or by screwing.
It has been observed that crowns that have been fixed by cementing have a better look as there is no screw-hole that is visible. But crowns that have been screwed are easier to remove in case of any need to access the implant.
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