A Look At The Dental Implant Procedure When You're Replacing A Single Tooth

Getting a dental implant to replace a bad or missing tooth is a good choice since the implant replaces the roots of the lost tooth and a crown placed on top of the implant replaces the tooth itself. This makes for an artificial tooth and root that act as a natural tooth.

Dental implant procedures vary a little depending on the condition of your bone, your oral health, and the number of teeth that need to be replaced. Here is a general overview of what to expect with a dental implant procedure to replace a single tooth.

Prepare The Area For An Implant

If the tooth is badly decayed or broken off, the dentist needs to finish removing the tooth so the implant can be inserted. If you have gum disease around the area, the dentist may want to treat the gum disease before the implant is put in. The dentist also has to check that the bone is healthy and thick enough to hold on to the implant. If it isn't, a bone graft might be needed.

If a bone graft is needed, this surgery is done first and then allowed to heal fully before proceeding with the implant. Depending on the size of the bone graft, it might take several months for the surgery to heal.

Insert The Implant 

Once your gum and bone are ready, the dentist can proceed with the dental implant procedure. Your dentist decides on the right anesthesia to use with input from you. You might use local, general anesthesia, or IV sedation so you feel no discomfort.

The procedure starts by making an incision in your gum that lets the dentist see your bone. Then a hole is drilled in the bone so the implant can be screwed deep into the bone. Once it's in place, the implant is covered up with gum tissue, your gum is closed, and then you heal for a period of weeks or months. The rest of the dental implant procedure is done once the implant has fused with your bone.

Add The Abutment

The next step involves another surgery, although this one is minor. Your gum is opened back up so the dentist can see the implant. An abutment is attached to the implant, and your gum is closed around it. The purpose of the abutment is to join the crown and implant. It will take a couple of weeks or so to heal from this surgery, and then it's time to start working on the crown.

Attach The Crown

Your next appointment will be about making a mold for the crown so the crown can be made in a lab. It could take a few weeks for the crown to be made, so your dentist might make a temporary tooth to fill the gap if you want, or you can just leave the gap until the crown is put in.

When the crown is completed, you'll go back to the dentist and have it attached to the abutment with a screw or dental cement. This is the last step in the dental implant procedure. The entire procedure may be spread over many months, depending on if you need a graft and how quickly you heal from the surgical procedures.