Dental implants are devices used to replace natural teeth that have fallen out or have been extracted. They comprise a metal post that’s implanted into the jaw bone and an artificial tooth or crown that attaches to the post and is designed to look and feel like a natural, healthy tooth. Implants have become especially popular in recent years as men and women look for more comfortable, natural-feeling options following tooth loss.
The dental implant placement process typically takes three visits. At the first visit, the post is implanted into the jaw. Implants require a certain thickness of bone to remain stable once the crown is attached. If the bone in the jaw is too thin to support the implant, a bone graft procedure may be performed to augment the existing bone with a tiny piece of bone taken from another location in the mouth or with a sterile graft from a tissue bank. Once the post is in place, it will need to fuse with the bone in a process called osseointegration which can take several weeks. At the next appointment, a second piece called an abutment is attached. This piece securely attaches the crown to the post. An impression also will be taken and sent to the lab where the crown will be made. At the third visit, the crown will be attached to the abutment and gently shaped so it fits comfortably.
Implants offer several advantages over dentures and bridges:
With proper care, a dental implant can last indefinitely.
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