First surgery is performed by a specialist to place the implant. When you need an implant, Dr. Crawford works with the specialist who inserts a metal post beneath your gum and into the bone. It fuses to the bone in your jaw and acts like the root of a tooth. Then Dr. Crawford makes a replacement crown on the metal post, designed to blend in with the way your own teeth look and feel. Dental implants also can be used to anchor dentures.
Most patients find that an implant is secure and stable—a good replacement for their own tooth. Implants, however, are not an option for everyone. Because implants require surgery, patients should be in good overall health and have healthy gums. Furthermore, patients must have either adequate bone to support the implant, or be good candidates for surgery to build up the area needing the implant. Patients should also be committed to very thorough oral hygiene every day and regular dental visits. If you are considering implants, a full evaluation by Dr. Crawford will help determine if you would be a good candidate.
What is involved in placing implants?
First, surgery is performed to place the implant. Up to six months may be required for the bone to grow around the implant to firmly hold it in place. In certain cases, dentists can use techniques that may allow immediate use of the implant. Some implants require a second surgery in which a post is attached to connect the replacement teeth. With other implants, the implant and post is one unit placed in the mouth during the initial surgery.
After healing, the replacement tooth is made and fitted to the post portion of the implant. Because several fittings may be required, this step can take one month or longer to complete.
Implant surgery can be done in a dental office, as an outpatient procedure or in a hospital, depending upon a number of factors. A local or general anesthetic may be used. Usually pain medications and, when necessary, antibiotics are prescribed. Dr. Crawford will give you instructions on diet and oral hygiene.
Dental implants can provide replacement teeth that look natural and feel secure, and also can be used to support complete or partial dentures. It is possible to stabilize dentures and eliminate the need to remove them each day.
Advantages of Implants:
- An implant is most similar to a natural tooth
- Adjacent teeth do not have to be involved in the placement procedure
- Implants may decrease or help prevent shrinkage of the jawbone from tooth loss.
- Implants are not intended for everyone
- Implant placement takes longer and may require more dental visits than alternative procedures