Dental implants are a permanent and appealing solution to replace missing or extracted teeth. They are better than other alternatives like bridges because no additional teeth need to be altered to place the new tooth. Implants unlike bridges are immune to dental decay.
The entire implant process is performed over the course of a few months. The first part of the process is to install the implant itself, which is the screw like anchor placed into the jaw bone. An incision is made in the gum so that the implant can be inserted. After the implants are placed the gums are closed. Multiple implants can be placed at once if necessary.
The implant must be left undisturbed for about 2-4 months, during this time the jaw bone will bond to the implant in a process called Osseo-integration. During this healing time you can have temporary crowns installed so that you can eat and speak normally while maintaining a proper aesthetic appearance for your smile.
After the implant has integrated it is time to place a healing abutment on the implant. This is normally accomplished through the use of a laser to expose the top of the implant. Very small amounts of topical anesthetic are typically all that is required for this superficial procedure. The abutment serves to provide access for your dentist to be able to take his impressions for your final restoration. The final restoration also known as a crown will be completed and placed by the patient's general dentist. Your smile will look just like it used to, and after a short period of getting used to the implant it will feel just like one of your own teeth.