What is the process if I need a dental implant?
- Your dentist or dental surgeon will assess the health of the existing tooth, to see if there is a way to preserve your natural tooth. To do this an x-ray will be taken and, possibly, a Cone Beam CT scan of your mouth may also be needed. If it is determined the tooth is not viable, an extraction will be scheduled.
- Your natural tooth will be extracted by your dentist, and the titanium post might be placed in the space at that visit.
- In order for the bone to grow into your post successfully, there has to be enough bone to grow around the post. If there isn’t enough bone, some artificial bone can be placed in the space to help the bone grow around the post. Sometimes this can be done all at once, but often the artificial bone is placed during the extraction procedure, and then a 3 to 4 month healing time is required before the post is placed. Once the titanium post is inserted into the bone it takes another three to four months for the bone to heal around the post.
- When the bone has healed around the post, the dentist will then take a digital scan or a physical impression so the dental lab can fabricate the false tooth that will be placed over the implant. The false tooth is connected to the implant with an abutment—a connector that allows the false tooth to fit over the implant. The scan or impression is then sent to the dental lab so the tooth and the abutment can be manufactured. This usually takes around 3 three weeks.
- When the custom fabricated tooth has been completed by the dental lab, your dentist will have you return to insert the tooth over the abutment. The abutment is attached to the implant by a screw. At that point, you will have a functional “tooth” which looks and feels like a natural tooth.
Waltzer Berry Dental Associates is happy to help guide you through the implant process.