Dental implants are metal fixtures made out of titanium that are placed within the jawbone with great precision. Dental implants provide a highly biocompatible surface, which enables bone to completely fill in and provide long-term stability. When fully integrated with surrounding bone a dental implant serves as a root for a missing tooth. The dental implant also serves as the support for the final restoration, dental crown, bridge or denture.
The first visit consists of a consultation. During the visit radiographs, "dental x-rays", are obtained and the area where implants will be placed is evaluated to make sure that the quality of the bone is good and quantity of the alveolar bone is sufficient to support a dental implant and any forces that will be exerted on it. A diagnostic impression is also obtained.
The implant is placed in the jaw and allowed to heal and integrate with the surrounding bone. The time it takes for a dental implant to integrate with the surrounding jaw bone (alveolar bone) varies from patient to patient. Some of the main factors that can affect healing include the location of placement, health of the individual, quality of bone (good blood supply, soft malleable bone vs. poor blood supply, rigid bone), health of the surrounding area where implant is placed, type of dental implant used, and oral hygiene of the implant recipient. All these factors can determine how fast and how well the dental implants will integrate. After a dental implant is placed it can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months before the final restoration is completed. Healing time will vary from 3-4 months in the lower jaw to 4-6 months in the upper jaw. Implant placement surgery is completed with just local anesthesia and the whole procedure is performed under sterile conditions. Learn about immediate loading dental implants.
Impression for a crown is obtained. The dentist will attach an impression piece to the implant and obtain a dental impression for the crown or a bridge. In case an overdenture or an implant supported denture, as it is commonly known, will be the final prosthesis the denture fabrication process begins with the final impression of the surrounding tissues and dental implants.
Crown or dental bridge is tried in to confirm a perfect fit, good color match with surrounding teeth, and is cemented permanently.
An implant-supported denture with the teeth set in wax would be evaluated for esthetics, function, proper speech and stability. Adjustments are made in needed. Any changes to the position of teeth to improve esthetics, functionally, and speech should be made during this visit. Denture is sent to a dental laboratory for processing.
Implant-supported denture is delivered. Movement of denture teeth cannot be completed because they are permanently set in hard acrylic. Special overdenture fixtures are attached to the dental implants and the denture is tried in. The implant-supported denture should have excellent stability. The dentist can modify the retention of the denture if necessary. Slight bite adjustment will be made to ensure an even bite.
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