How Do Dental Implants Work?

Dental implants continue to be one of the best options for patients with missing or damaged teeth due to decay or impact. The success rate is typically anywhere from 90-100%, depending on the office, and the implants themselves become a permanent fixture in your mouth, making them a long-lasting treatment option.

The Process

Through a process known as osseointegration, the dental implants fuse with your jawbone to become a permanent part of your mouth. This is one of the key differences between dental implants and other treatment options, such as dentures.

The Implants

Dental implants themselves are typically made of three components: the fixture, the abutment, and the prosthesis:

1. The Fixture

The fixture is the bottom of the implant and is the part that is physically embedded below the gum line, fusing with the jawbone to become a permanent part of your smile. The fixture is made of titanium and has a cylindrical, screw-shaped design. The fixture is often coated with a material known as hydroxyapatite, which can assist with the osseointegration (fusion) process.

2. The Abutment

The abutment is the small portion that lies right around the gum line. Once the osseointegration (fusion) process has been completed, the abutment is screwed into the fixture and will eventually hold the dental work that becomes part of your smile.

3. The Prosthesis

The prosthesis is the dental work that is done on top of the abutment, such as a crown, bridge, or denture. This piece is cemented or screwed into the abutment if the prosthesis is a crown or bridge, or snapped onto the abutment if the prosthesis is a denture.

The Procedure 

The most widely practiced method of placing dental implants is a “staged surgery” procedure. The first stage consists of surgically burying the implant (which replaces the tooth root) flush with the bone but underneath the gum. This protects the implant from force while it is healing. At the end of this healing period, the implant needs to be surgically exposed by removing some of the overlying gum.

At this second stage, the surgeon checks the implant for its successful integration and connects some form of a post which penetrates through the gum into the mouth. This post is called the abutment. Abutments come in many forms and can be stock-manufactured or custom-molded by your dentist and a laboratory. The gum is allowed to heal around the abutment and form a cuff or collar through which the dentist has access to the implant when preparing the final restorative stage of placing the prosthetic tooth or teeth.

After the treatment, the ADA recommends choosing a nutrient-rich liquid or soft-foods diet. These foods can include low-fat dairy, lean meats, eggs, and beans, among other options.

If you have any questions about Dental Implants or if you would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact our team or make an appointment. Our incredible staff will give you the best dental care possible.

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