Dental implants are the best tooth replacement option since they offer a long lasting solution to any missing teeth. Like most dental procedures, this has improved drastically since they first came to popularity. Even the name “implants” sounds scary, but when you combine it with “dental” people tend to think that it is a long, painful procedure. Not true! They often do not take much longer than a routine cleaning appointment. Since an implant is most similar to an actual tooth, its easiest to understand it exactly that way.
The basic structures of a tooth consist of the root, which anchors the tooth to your jaw, and the crown which is the pearly whites that you can visibly see when you open wide. There are other structures in the tooth model and it involves the bone and gums. There are two types of bone that make up the jaw; cancellous (spongy) bone and cortical bone (which is found in the long bones in your body). Spongy bone is where tooth roots are anchored and is a type of tissue that is porous and filled with red bone marrow. It is not as strong as cortical bone, but don’t worry you have that in your jaw too!
When ANY part of this tooth system is damaged it runs the risk of affecting the WHOLE system! This is why a simple cavity could later on turn into a large chip, root canal or even taking out the tooth all together.
The actual “implant” portion is the “root” part on a natural tooth. Our implants are made out of titanium, which is commonly used as an implant material. It has high biocompatibility and bonding ability with the bone and does not have any ill effect on the human body. The “crown” portion of the implant is the white part of the tooth. This is tailor-made and created just so to match your previous tooth in color, shape and feel. All of these different pieces can turn into lengthy off-site creation, but DeLaura Dental is different! We complete the full process, from start to finish, fully in house and thus cuts down on time in your schedule. Dental implants can be used to support a number of restorations, including crowns, implant supported bridges or even implant supported dentures.
What are the steps to the Implant Procedure?
Getting your new dental implants is a multi-step process, but thanks to new technology using computer imaging and CT scans, it’s a process that is neither time consuming or painful. It is important to most patients to know the steps in advance so they can plan for the future. Every patient’s needs are different and, of course, may vary from the outlined process below.
Step 1: Patient has full Evaluation and Assessment
- During the sit down with our dentists you will discuss the full extent to what your specific and tailored treatment plan will be during a complete examination. They will investigate your full health history and take a deeper look at what your goals may be for your oral health treatment. This full picture will determine if dental implants are the right procedure for you and if any supplementary treatment is required. This could include bone grafting, a sinus lift or gum surgery.
Step 2: Procedure Visit
- After any additional work has been done (bone grafts, extractions, etc), the dentist will determine when you are ready to receive your dental implants. First your mouth will be thoroughly numbed and prepared. Our dentists will shape a small insertion point/channel in your jawbone for your implant. The titanium implant will then be placed into this prepared space—this is not as frightening as it sounds! It can actually take 15-20 minutes if no additional factors are at play. Your teeth naturally extend down into the jawbone, ensuring that your new dental implant tooth has something sturdy to hang on to as you talk, chew and smile.
Step 3: Time
- In order for the implant to be fully effective, time is necessary. The implant placed needs time to have the jawbone fuse into the titanium. This secures a strong and sturdy implant—just like the root of your tooth that was there before. During this time—the missing tooth could be replaced with a temporary restoration to cover and protect the implant. Our dentists will discuss these options with you.
Step 4: Custom Tooth Is Made
- A small extension, referred to as an “abutment”, will be placed on your titanium post to bring your implant above the gum line. An impression will be taken to get the most accurate model possible to ensure the new restoration has the correct placement and is tailored to your specific bite alignment. When your crown is ready, it will be securely fitted to your implant.
Step 5: Completion
- Once your crown has been securely placed you are ready to go! Unlike other dental procedures, getting a dental implant does not require any special treatment, such as not eating, drinking or favoring another side once its placed. Your new implant is not as secure as a natural tooth!