For many patients, dental implants are an intriguing option. They are the most real-looking, most functional, and long-lasting teeth replacement solution, making them a great choice for anyone missing one or more teeth. That being said, how exactly do dental implants work? We will take a closer look at the process of getting dental implants below.
Dental Implant Basics
First, let us talk about the different parts that make up a dental implant. There are three main components:
- The implant post (also known as the body or fixture): This is the part of the implant that is physically implanted into the jawbone. Your oral surgeon inserts this piece deep into the tissue of the jaw to make sure it is completely fixed in place. If wisdom teeth are in the way, they may need to be removed first. This post ends just below the gum line, meaning it will not be visible.
- The abutment: This is the part of the implant that connects to the post. It screws directly on to the post and is what the new tooth will attach to. Because the gum will have healed over the implant post, oral surgeons often need to make a small incision when placing the abutment. The abutment will protrude just below the gumline.
- The crown: The crown is the replacement tooth that attaches to the abutment. This will be placed after the abutment incision has fully healed. In some cases where the patient is missing several teeth, a bridge may be used instead of a crown — this is just a group of connected crowns. If the patient is getting a full row of teeth replaced, they may even have a denture attached. If this is the case, the denture will attach to other abutments in the jaw as well.
Types of Dental Implants
Patients may have a few different options when it comes to their implants.
Standard Dental Implants
The standard dental implant procedure is what most patients will undergo. During this procedure, your oral surgeon will start by placing the post into the jawbone. He will then give the jaw several months to heal. Once the implant is secured in the jaw, he can place the abutment along with a temporary crown. Once the abutment has healed, the final crown can be placed. The full process usually takes six to nine months.
In some cases, patients can have their abutment and a temporary crown placed on the same day as their implant surgery. This is only possible patients with a hefty amount of bone tissue.
For All-on-4 implants, patients will receive a full upper or lower set of teeth that are supported with just four implants. The only caveat here is that all existing teeth must be removed to make space for the new denture — even wisdom teeth. Abutments and a set of temporary teeth will be placed on the same day as the implant surgery so patients will be able to eat while their jaw heals.
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
This was just a quick overview of the dental implant process. To learn more or schedule your consultation, call our office in the Salt Lake and Utah County area at (801) 446-4428 or contact your local oral surgeon.