Every tooth is precious. You may not realize just how much so until you lose one. Until recently, a fixed bridge was the only viable solution, because partial dentures are rarely used for a single tooth. Bridges are great, and we still use them today. However, they are far from perfect, so we are happy to have a healthier, more long-lasting alternative to offer you. A dental implant, topped with a specially designed crown, replicates the anatomy, function, and appearance of a natural tooth almost perfectly.

Step one: Consultation

First, the doctor will examine your mouth and discuss your medical history to ensure that you are a good candidate. Implants are safe for virtually anyone who is healthy enough for minor surgery. However, if you have experienced significant bone loss, a grafting procedure may be necessary prior to implant placement.

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Step two: Placing the implants

This is an oral surgery, but a very minor one with low risk of complication. The site is completely numbed, so you are comfortable throughout the process. Only a tiny incision is needed in the gum tissue, and a very small, titanium cylinder is gently inserted through the incision, and secured in the jawbone. A healing collar or a temporary crown will be added, to protect the implant and gums during healing.

Step three: Healing

You probably think we’ve reached the bad part. What happens when the anesthetic wears off? Not much. Contrary to what you are probably imagining, there is very little post-surgery soreness. Most patients compare it to healing after a tooth extraction, and a few people say they experienced no pain at all. The gum tissue heals quickly, because the incision is so small. However, it will take a few weeks or months for the bone to adapt to the implant.

Step four: Restoration

Once the bone has grown around the implant, it is secure and stable, just like a tooth root. At this point, it is ready for a tooth. The temporary restoration is removed, and an abutment (tiny connector) is added to the implant. Finally, a specially designed cosmetic crown is attached to the abutment. That’s it – your new smile is good to go!

Isn’t it time to fill that gap? Call (708) 576-1900 and schedule an appointment at Pleasant Dental® in Dolton.

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