There are usually 3 or 4 visits to the dentist involved in this procedure. The first one is an evaluation of your mouth, as well as the necessary preparation. This may include extracting a tooth or bone grafting which could be needed if the tooth has been missing for a while. If bone grafting is needed, this first step could take 3-6 months. If the 2nd step happens too soon after bone grafting, the bone will not be able to support the implants. Once you are healed, you move on to stage two.
This is when your dentist will place the implants in the bone socket of the missing tooth. The healing time for this can be anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months, depending on the number of implants, as well as many other individual factors. During this time, you jawbone will heal. As it does this, it will grow around the implant, which anchors it in place.
Finally, during stage 3, you receive your replacement teeth. This stage will usually take two visits. During the first one, your dentist will make an impression of your mouth. Once your replacement teeth are created, usually about 2 weeks later, your dentist will attach them to your implants.
There are three main options for implants. The first one is single tooth replacement. This is one implant supporting one replacement tooth, or crown.
The second is fixed multiple tooth replacement. This is to replace a small group of missing teeth. This will consist of a few implants (the number may vary based on how many teeth are missing) and a custom bridge, which is a group of crowns, will be put in.
The final kind is removable implant-supported tooth replacement, which are an option for when all of your teeth are missing. Unlike the other two kinds, these dentures are removable.
Advantages of Implants
One major advantage to dental implants is that it improves your appearance and comfort. Since they are designed to fuse to bone, they become permanent. This means that they will begin to feel like your own teeth, which is something regular dentures can’t offer. Your dentist will also match the replacement teeth to your other surrounding teeth so they will look just like them.
They also make it much easier to speak and eat. Regular removable dentures may slide around. This can make talking more difficult by causing you to slur your words when they slip. It also becomes harder to eat because it could slip when you are chewing. Since dental implants act like regular teeth, you don’t have to worry about them slipping.
Another benefit to implants is their durability and convenience. They can last for many years, and many even last a lifetime if properly cared for. They only need the same care as real teeth, including brushing and flossing. And because they are not removable, they are much more convenient. You don’t have to worry about where and when to remove them, or the need for adhesives to keep them in place.
While it varies based on where in the jaw the implants are placed, in general they have about a 98% success rate. This means they are reliable options for people looking to replace missing teeth.