There are a number of ways to replace missing teeth, which ensures there’s a perfect solution for every dental situation. However, dental implants are the gold standard, and they’re a favorite among dentists and patients alike. But, they also demand a bit more effort on the front end.
Daniel Park, DDS, of Beaumont Cherry Valley Dental in Beaumont, California, helps all of his patients find the perfect solutions to their dental issues. Part of this process involves explaining each treatment and their outcomes.
If you’re considering dental implants, here’s a step-by-step guide for what you can expect.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant consists of a titanium post, an abutment, and an artificial tooth. The post is inserted into the jawbone. The abutment is secured to the top of the post, and the false tooth, or crown, is anchored to the abutment.
The advantage of dental implants is they act just like natural teeth. The post acts just like a tooth root, so it securely holds your new tooth in place. So you can eat, talk, and take care of your new tooth just like normal.
Getting a dental implant
Here’s the process for getting a dental implant, from start to finish.
1. Getting a comprehensive exam
The first step to getting a dental implant involves evaluating your oral health, including your jawbone tissue. During your exam, Dr. Park assesses the amount and quality of jawbone in the treatment site and looks for other oral health issues, such as gum disease.
2. Preparing your mouth for an implant
After performing your exam, Dr. Park outlines the next steps for getting your implant.
If you have a healthy mouth and sufficient jawbone tissue, you can move forward with getting an implant immediately. However, if you have soft or thin bone tissue, Dr. Park might recommend a bone grafting procedure to build up the implant site.
Similarly, Dr. Park can suggest treatments to address other dental issues that need correcting before getting an implant, such as eliminating periodontal (gum) disease.
3. Placing the post
When Dr. Park gives your jaw and oral health the all clear, it’s time to place your implant.
During this appointment, Dr. Park makes a tiny incision in the gum to reach your jawbone. Then, he uses special instruments to drill a hole for the post. Once Dr. Park fits the post in this opening, he repositions your gum tissue and stitches the incision closed.
This may sound painful, but Dr. Park administers anesthetic before he begins, which guarantees you won’t feel a thing. You may have some swelling and discomfort afterward, but this usually fades within a few days.
4. Waiting to heal
After getting the post placed, the healing process begins. This step often takes the longest — anywhere from 2-6 months — because the bone in your jaw has to fuse around the new post.
Once healing is complete, jawbone tissue in the area will completely surround the dental post, providing strength and stability so it can function like a tooth root.
5. Placing the abutment and artificial tooth
The last steps for getting your implant involve the abutment and tooth placement.
The abutment goes on top of the titanium post, which is then used to affix the artificial tooth. Sometimes, Dr. Park places the abutment when inserting the post. If the abutment is added afterward, you may need a few weeks for your gum tissue to heal before getting your artificial tooth.
Finally, when the site completely heals, Dr. Park takes an impression of your teeth and makes your new, custom tooth. These crowns usually come in fixed or removable options. The fixed option gets permanently cemented into place, and the removable option gets screwed on so you can remove it for cleaning.
What to expect moving forward
Getting an implant can seem long and involved, but the results are unmatched. Once in place and completely healed, you have a new tooth that looks and functions just like the original. And, you care for it just like the original, too, by brushing and flossing it along with your other teeth.
Dr. Park can use implants for a single tooth or several. In fact, you can even get implant-supported dentures if you need a partial or full teeth replacement option.
To learn more about implants and to see if they could be the right tooth replacement option for you, call 951-845-2661 to book an appointment with Beaumont Cherry Valley Dental.