Once your treatment begins, the dentist administering the implant will perform a detailed initial work-up. The work-up includes impressions, CAT scan imaging, and dental photography. This allows our team to prepare everything necessary for the dental implant procedure and for the restoration of the patient’s teeth. If the patient is currently wearing dentures, an initial testing visit may be scheduled to allow them to preview their new replacement teeth.
Once the preparation is complete, the implant (which looks like a screw or cylinder) is installed directly into the jaw of the patient. Over the next two to six months, the implant and the bone are allowed to bond together to form an anchor for the artificial tooth. During this time, a temporary replacement tooth can be worn over the implant site.
The next step in the dental implant procedure is usually to uncover the implant and attach an extension. The extension is a small metal post, called an abutment, and it completes the foundation on which the new tooth will be placed. The patient’s gums will be allowed to heal for a couple of weeks following this procedure.
There are some implant systems that do not require this second step, called “one-step implants”. These systems use an implant which already has the extension piece attached. Our dentists will advise each patient as to which system is best for their dental situation.
Finally, a replacement tooth (referred to as a crown) will be created by our dentists and attached to the abutment. After a short time, the patient normally experiences restored confidence in their smile’s appearance and functionality. Dental implants look so natural and feel so normal that the patient may forget that they even lost a tooth.