Dental implants fill the gaps caused by teeth loss due to severe tooth decay, periodontal disorders or dental trauma. They are made from biocompatible materials – usually from titanium alloy, which is embedded to the jaw bone through a surgical procedure. These implants serve as teeth roots and anchorage to dental restorations and dental prosthesis. Besides restoring the natural appearance of your teeth, dental implants allow the patient to chew and speak normally and they also prevent your remaining teeth from shifting which can lead to bite misalignment.
How do dental implants work?
On your first dental visit, a local anesthesia is injected on the site where the implant is to be placed. An incision to the jaw bone is made where the implant should be embedded. After creating the access site, the implant is planted on the jaw bone, followed by a healing cover. The incised gums may be sutured depending on your oral maxillofacial surgeon.
The healing process usually takes 3 – 6 months or until the implant is completely attached to the jawbone. The process of the implant fusing with the tissues of your jaw bone is called osseointegration. When the implant has completely healed, you should return to your surgeon.
On your second dental visit, a post or an abutment is inserted to extend the implant above the gum line. The post serves as a point of attachment for restorations such as dental crowns and bridges, and dental prosthesis such as fixed dental dentures. During this visit, an impression is made for the laboratory fabrication of a restoration.
On your final visit, the restoration or prosthesis is attached to the implant post following the procedure in securing them in place.
For additional questions regarding how dental implant works, you may ask your dentist or your oral maxillofacial surgeon.