Our Corpus Christi cosmetic dentistry patients are regaining their confidence with dental implant treatment. Dental implants are permanent, surgically placed screws that can be attached to restorations to improve the look and function of your teeth. Dental implant treatment requires patience but the result are well worth it. The following is a breakdown of what to expect during the dental implant treatment process.
Treatment Begins Prior to Dental Implant Surgery
The first step in the dental implant process is determining if dental implants are right for you. Candidates for dental implants must be healthy enough, both in general and oral health, to undergo oral surgery. Candidates must also be missing one or more teeth and need to have sufficient jawbone. The jawbone begins to disintegrate the longer teeth are missing. In order to determine the state of your jawbone, x-rays will be taken. If there is not enough bone tissue, a bone graft may be performed. Bone grafts can be done using a synthetic material or bone from another part of your body. If a bone graft has been performed, the bone must be allowed to heal, which may require five to nine months, prior to receiving the dental implant. Once the jawbone is determined sufficient for the dental implant, your surgery will be scheduled.
Dental Implant Surgery
Dental implant surgery is the next step in the treatment process. The dental implant, a screw-like titanium post, is surgically placed by cutting open the gum and inserting within the jawbone. Dental implant surgery is generally performed on an outpatient basis.
After surgery, the bone must fully heal before any dental restorations can be placed. As the bone heals around the dental implant, a process called osseointegration occurs. This process refers to the permanent bond that is formed as the bone adheres to the dental implant. Full osseointegration may take two to six months.
Placing the Abutment
The abutment is the structure that joins the dental restoration and the dental implant. The abutment may be placed during dental implant surgery or once the jawbone is fully healed. If the abutment is placed after the initial dental implant surgery, the gums will be reopened in order to access the implant. Once attached, the gums are allowed to heal before the dental restoration is placed. The gums may take one to two weeks to heal.
Placing the Dental Restoration
Prior to treatment, you and your dentist will decide which type of restoration is right for. Dental restorations include crowns for individual tooth replacement, implant-supported dental bridges for replacing a few teeth, or implant-supported dentures for replacing all or most of the teeth. Once the gums and bone are fully healed, your custom-made restoration will be attached to the dental implant to complete your treatment.
The Dental Implant Treatment Timeline
The time needed for dental implant treatment greatly depends on the number of implants required, the state of your jawbone, and your personal ability to heal. For some, the process may be as short as a couple of months to over a year. For our patients in Corpus Christi, dental implants are worth the time investment as they improve quality of life and self esteem. Contact our offices today for your personalized treatment plan.