The dental implant process may seem lengthy, overwhelming and expensive at first. The end result, however, is worth the wait and cost. Teeth implants are the number one choice for replacing a single missing tooth and multiple missing teeth. They are the closest thing to natural teeth and may help to prevent the need for further advanced dental care. As a long-term investment, they offer a permanent solution for missing teeth and often require no future maintenance costs.
Dental Implant Process
To understand why the process is so involved and long, you need to understand how the process works. There are several phases involved including in-depth planning, a surgery and months of healing time. Since no two patients are the same, the dental implant process from start to finish will be different for every patient. In general, you can expect to have new teeth in about three to nine months. This could take longer if you need any pre-work completed or if you have a particularly complex case. A typical process involves:
An Evaluation and Planning Phase: Your treatment will begin with Philadelphia dentist Dr. Pamela G Doray doing a comprehensive evaluation and examination of your mouth, teeth, gums and overall health. She will be especially looking at your bone density to make sure you have enough bone structure to support the implant(s). If she determines you are a candidate for dental implants, she will create a very detailed treatment plan. If you need any pre-work done, that will need to be completed first. Such treatments may include gum disease treatment and bone grafts.
Surgical Implantation: If you need any teeth extracted, that can be done right before the implant post is surgically placed in the jawbone. An implant post is made of titanium and will actually replace the tooth root. This relatively minor surgery can be completed in about thirty minutes if only one implant is being place. For multiple implants, it can take up to three to four hours.
Integration Period: During this time, the implant is fusing with the surrounding live bone structure in a process called osseointegration. This healing and fusing time period can take anywhere from three to six months. Depending on the number and location of the teeth implants, we may be able to place a temporary crown or bridge to restore aesthetics and function.
Implant Restoration: After your healing period, you will now have a solid foundation for your new teeth and they can now be placed. Dr. Doray will remove the temporaries, uncover the dental implant and attach a piece to the implant post called an abutment. For a single missing tooth, you will have a dental crown attached. If you are missing multiple consecutive teeth, you will have a dental bridge placed. If you are missing an entire row of teeth, Dr. Doray will place an overdenture.
Maintenance: Like your natural teeth, dental implants depend on healthy gums and surrounding tooth structures for support. Therefor you must commit to a strict oral hygiene routine that includes brushing and flossing regularly. You must also visit our Philadelphia dentist office for regular checkups. We will advise you of any special care and maintenance you may need to do as well.
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