Dental implants are essentially artificial tooth roots. They can be used to replace a single missing tooth, multiple missing teeth, support a denture or restore an entire mouth.
Implants are made of titanium. Titanium unlike other metals is not rejected by the body. Titanium is very strong and is biologically inert. To be a candidate for a dental implant two criteria must be met. Your gum tissue should be healthy overall and there must be enough bone present to support the implant. Following the extraction of a tooth the supporting bone begins to shrink both in height and width. Even if the bone shrinkage has been excessive an implant may still be an option. Depending on the situation, a bone graft surgery may be needed. Implants can be used to support a bridge, a removable denture or a fixed denture.
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures.
First, dental implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first three to six months following surgery, the dental implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time. At the same time, we are also forming new replacement teeth.
After the dental implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Doctor will uncover the dental implants and attach small posts, which will act as anchors for the artificial teeth. These posts protrude through the gums. When the artificial teeth are placed, these posts will not be seen. The entire procedure usually takes six to eight months. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.