For patients with missing teeth, dental implant surgery is often the preferable treatment option. Implants look, fit and feel just like your natural teeth, and with the proper care, they can last a lifetime.
Are you considering getting dental implants? If so, you may feel more comfortable if you know what to expect.
Step 1: Evaluation and Preparation for Dental Implants
First, the oral surgeon must learn your medical history, conduct an examination and take X-rays to ensure that you are a good candidate for dental implants. Most patients are good candidates. In fact, as long as you are healthy enough to undergo a routine dental procedure, you should be a candidate for implants.
Depending on your case, you may require preliminary procedures prior to undergoing implant surgery. If you have any damaged teeth, for example, they may need to be extracted. Or if you don’t have adequate bone structure in the jaw, you may need a bone graft.
Don’t worry, as both of these are outpatient procedures with a typically brief recovery period.
Step 2: Dental Implant Surgery to Replace Tooth Roots
The next step is to place tiny, screw-like titanium posts into the empty tooth socket. These posts will act as replacement roots for your new teeth. Temporary crowns will typically be placed over the posts at this point so that you can enjoy a gap-free smile while your permanent crowns are made.
To create the permanent crowns, we take impressions of your mouth. Using that mold, our lab custom-creates replacement teeth that are nearly identical to your own. Making your molds facilitates the design process, so that your crowns are ready at your follow-up visit.
Your crowns will be designed to mimic the shape, size and color of your natural teeth.
Step 3: Dental Implant Surgery to Place Permanent Crowns
Typically, you will need to heal for a period of time before proceeding with the final phase your implant surgery.
This period allows the titanium posts to fuse with your jawbone. The fusing process, called osseointegration, is what makes your dental implants as stable and secure as your natural teeth.
Once you have healed completely, the oral surgeon will expose the tops of your implant posts to attach abutments, or small metal connectors that extend from the gums. Finally, your permanent crowns are securely attached to the abutments.
You will be able to eat, speak and smile just as though you have your own natural teeth. With normal oral care, including regular brushing and flossing, your implants will last virtually forever.
The board-certified surgeons and experienced treatment teams at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah provide a full range of facial and oral surgery services for patients throughout northern Utah. Contact our Cottonwood Heights or South Jordan office today to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you learn more about the benefits of dental implants.