How do dental implants work?

Do you have one or more missing teeth due to injury, infection, decay or you were born without it? Replacing a missing tooth not only improves your smile and confidence, but it helps protect surrounding teeth and helps prevent bone loss at the site. Dental implant surgery is a revolutionary treatment that many patients choose over bridges or partial dentures.

Dental implants are surgically placed in your jawbone, fusing with your natural bone and serving as artificial roots of missing teeth. This is an outpatient procedure done in several stages over several months. First, damaged teeth are removed. Next, if the jawbone isn’t thick enough or is too soft, it is prepared with bone grafting, using natural bone from a location in your own body or a synthetic material. Depending on the extent of jawbone preparation, it may take a few months for new bone growth to support the implant.

The next step involves placing the dental implant. During surgery, the gum is cut open to expose the bone. Holes are drilled into the bone and a metal implant post will be situated deep into the bone. A temporary partial can be placed to fill the gap where your tooth is missing, if desired, while healing.

Osseointegration takes place during the next step. This is when the jawbone grows into the surface of the dental implant to provide a solid, secure base for the new tooth. This could take several months. When it’s complete, an abutment may be attached to the post if it wasn’t already attached in the previous surgery. This is where the artificial tooth will attach to the implant.

Your gums will need about two weeks to heal after the abutment is placed before the artificial tooth can be attached to complete the process.

Dental implant surgery is a process that can take several months, requiring a commitment and patience with the process. Because implants are surgically placed into your jawbone, the bone needs time to heal around the implant, and that can take many months.

You are a good candidate if you have one or more missing teeth, your jawbone has reached full growth, you have adequate bone to support and secure the implants, you have healthy mouth tissues and you don’t have health conditions that affect bone healing. To learn more about your implant options, call us today at (501) 843-9561 to schedule a consultation and develop a treatment plan with Dr. Jirik.

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