If you are considering dental implants, your dentist will begin by carefully examining your teeth and gums, and taking x-rays of your jaw, teeth, and head. The x-rays and exam allow your dentist to determine if you’re a good candidate for dental implants or not. If dental implants are a good option for you, your dentist will then schedule your surgery, which may take place over one or two visits.
During the first portion of your surgery, your dentist will make a small incision in your gum tissue, insert the titanium implant into your jawbone, then stitch the gum tissue back into place. As your gums heal, the implant will bond firmly to your jawbone and attach itself to your gum. It may be several months before your jaw and gums have completely healed.
Once your tissue has completely healed your dentist can perform the second half of your surgery and install your artificial teeth. During this phase, your dentist will attach an abutment to your implant. The abutment is a small metal post, that is used to join your artificial tooth to your titanium root. Once the abutment is in place, your dentist can attach your artificial tooth. Your dentist may need to schedule one or more follow up visits with you to ensure that your artificial tooth is fitting onto the abutment correctly.
If you are having more than one tooth replaced, your dentist may use your dental implants to support a fixed bridge. A bridge consists of several artificial teeth fused together and is used to span an area with no teeth. It can be held in place using dental implants or by natural teeth on either side.
Your dentist may be able to perform both the first and second parts of the surgery in one session, but this depends on a variety of factors and is not always the case.