If you’ve experienced tooth loss, chances are you’ve thought about restoring your smile with dental implants. Dental implants are the healthiest, longest-lasting way to replace missing teeth, whether you need a single tooth or a whole row. They look and feel completely natural, and with proper care they can last a lifetime. But receiving implants can be a long journey. Read on to learn about the process.
- Evaluation: Before placing your implants, Dr. Silberg will conduct a thorough examination. This examination consists of taking x-rays, which allow the dentist to see beyond your teeth themselves to the bone structure that would support an implant; assessing the depth of your jawbone as well as the position of other facial structures, like the sinuses, to determine how and where to place implants; and checking for gum disease or taking dental impressions to evaluate your bite.
- Preparatory procedures: In some cases, the evaluation will reveal that it is not safe to place implants right away. For example, because tooth loss can lead to the disintegration of supporting bone in the jaw, some patients may not have sufficient bone remaining in their jaw to stabilize an implant. In this case, bone grafts must first be performed in order to add mass to the jawbone. These grafts can take months to heal before the implant can be placed. In other cases, the sinuses may be too close to the upper teeth, and a sinus lift will be necessary to make room for the implant.
- Placing the post: This is the first stage of the actual surgery. The post is a titanium screw-like device that replaces the root of the tooth. It is placed completely under the gum, which protects the post from force while it heals.
- Adding the abutment: After the post has had time to bond completely with the bone, the top of the post is exposed and connected with an abutment. The abutment is the mechanism that links the post to the crown. After this, the gum is given time to heal around the abutment.
- Finishing with a crown: The final step in the implant process is placing the crown, the replacement tooth that is custom made to precisely match your natural teeth. The crown attaches securely to the abutment, and with proper care, it never needs to be replaced.
Looking for top-quality implant dentistry in Pittsburgh, PA? Schedule a consultation at the Silberg Center for Dental Science to find out if implants are right for you.