Nobody likes to lose a tooth, but fortunately these days there are some great options available to replace a missing tooth. One of the most popular options is a dental implant. Many people prefer a dental implant to a bridge because it doesn’t require the alteration of adjacent teeth. Although bridges can be a great option for some situations, for implants placed today the statistical analysis shows fewer problems over time because implants are not susceptible to decay or other problems with the abutment teeth.
The entire implant process takes about four months. The ﬁrst part of the process is to place the implant into the jawbone. It might sound scary, but thankfully it is a comfortable process and most people experience zero pain during the placement and very little postoperative pain. Some of my patients report only taking several ibuprofen for a few days after the surgery.
We will check on your progress after about a week, and again after a month. Bone grows more slowly than other body tissues, so we need to wait about 4 months before placing the “crown” or tooth on top of your implant. What we’re waiting for is “osseointegration” which essentially means that your bone grows in around the implant. After the implant has healed we will get you numb one last time to place something called a “healing abutment.” It’s a small titanium cap that screws into the implant and then comes up through the gums. This will determine the “emergence profile” of your implant crown. We then need about three weeks for your gums to completely heal at which time we can then take a final impression. About 2 ½ weeks after we take your final impression you will then have your permanent tooth placed.