What Is Dental Implant Surgery?
This surgery involves placing screw-like posts in the gums and attaching artificial teeth to them. It may involve replacing multiple teeth or just one tooth. Some people choose this route instead of getting dentures, and others choose it to replace a diseased or broken tooth that must be pulled. Not all people are ideal candidates for this surgery or implants. However, a dentist or dental surgeon can perform a thorough examination to determine if dental implants are possible or right for an individual.
How Does the Dental Implant Process Work?
Once the tooth or teeth are extracted, the implant process involves two steps if the person has a healthy jawbone. The first step is surgically implanting the screws to support the artificial teeth, and the second step is affixing them to the screws. If the jawbone is not in ideal condition, the surgeon may perform bone grafting and let it heal before performing the implant surgery.
How Long Does the Dental Implant Process Take?
Depending on individual factors, the time that it takes varies for each person. For example, if someone just had a tooth extracted a few weeks ago and needs a bone graft, a dentist may suggest waiting until the extraction site is healed. When a person plans to get implants and still needs to have teeth extracted, it is possible to place a graft at the same time. In some cases, it may also be possible to place implant screws at the time of extraction if a person does not need a bone graft.
It may take between three and six months for a bone graft to heal before the screws can be implanted. After the screws are implanted, it may take between three and nine months for them to fuse to the bone. They must fuse completely to provide ample support for biting and chewing. On average, the entire dental implant healing process takes six to eight months for most people.
More than 3 million people in the United States have dental implants today, and that number is growing. Implants can help improve speech, enhance comfort and provide a more natural-looking smile. Also, they are more durable than dentures.