If you are missing some teeth or will be getting some removed in the near future, then you are probably wondering about your different options for replacing those teeth. Between dentures, bridges, and implants, there are quite a few options to choose from and a lot of information to digest. To help you get a better idea of what you want, here is an introduction to the last of the options: the dental implant.
So what is a dental implant?
A dental implant is basically an entire synthetic tooth that completely replaces missing teeth. A dental implant must be installed for each missing tooth and is attached directly to the jawbone, which means that there is fairly extensive surgery involved. A dental implant will take a long time to install and will normally take around three separate trips to the dentist. This is mainly because an implant is composed of three parts: the implant, the abutment, and the crown.
- The Implant - This is the deepest part and is pretty similar to a screw. It forms the foundation of the implant and anchors the implant to your jaw.
- The Abutment - The abutment bridges the gap between the crown and implant, allowing the two to connect.
- The Crown - The crown is the part that actually looks like a tooth and is the part that is used for chewing. Crowns can be made out of a variety of materials, but porcelain and metal alloys are common.
The implant will be installed on the first trip, the abutment on the second, and the crown on the third. Depending on your circumstances, you might need additional visits, but you will almost always need a few weeks or months between each procedure.
Installing an implant will heavily irritate your gums, so it is critical that the tissue is allowed to heal before the abutment is added. Once the abutment is in place, your dentist will need to take your measurements for the creation of the new crown. While that new crown is being produced, you will likely be given a temporary crown to use in the meantime.
Don't be too worried if the temporary crown is a little uncomfortable or loose, but make sure to clean thoroughly. If you continue to have problems with the permanent crown, then you should consult your dentist as soon as possible. A crown that doesn't fit can cause some serious problems for the rest of your mouth and can displace the surrounding teeth and tissue.
For more information on dental implants, talk to a professional.