Female patient is being seen by male dentist who is pointing at an x-ray as she looks on.

A Step by Step Guide to Dental Implants

Dental implants are recommended by dentists when a patient is in need of replacements for teeth. Whether a tooth or multiple teeth are severely decayed/ broken down or if a tooth has been lost due to trauma and cannot be saved, a dental implant is a possible solution.

An implant consists of an artificial tooth root that is surgically implanted into the jaw bone in place of a natural tooth root. A crown is placed on top of the implant that looks and functions just like a natural tooth.

If you are in need of an implant, you may be wondering what exactly the procedure entails. Here is a step by step guide to a dental implant procedure.

  1. Evaluation. The first step is always an oral evaluation of your teeth, gums, and jaw. The doctor will determine which teeth will need to be replaced with dental implants and whether or not there is sufficient jaw bone to support the implants that are needed. The evaluation may involve X-Rays and possibly a 3-D CAT SCAN to determine bone density and positioning.
  2. Establish a plan of care. After the initial evaluation, the doctor will discuss your options with you and make recommendations. Together you and your doctor will establish a plan for your oral care that involves implants and possibly other procedures.
  3. Tooth Repair and Extraction. If any restorative procedures need to be done, such as fillings or root canals, these will be taken care of first so that they have time to heal. Teeth that can’t be restored will be extracted (removed). All of these procedures can be performed with local anesthesia.
  4. Bone Grafting, if needed. In some cases where a tooth or multiple teeth have been missing for a while, bone loss in the jaw is common. If there is insufficient bone to support an implant, bone grafting can be done to prepare and strengthen the jaw bone. Bone grafting involves placing a bone supplement under the gums, into or on top of the jaw bone. It stimulates the existing bone and even promotes regrowth of bone. This procedure will not be necessary for every patient.
  5. Implant placement. Using local anesthesia, the gum tissue is opened and the implant is surgically placed/screwed into the jaw bone where it will remain for several weeks/months while  the jaw bone bonds to it. The gums are replaced and a cover screw or healing cap will be placed on the implant to allow for healing.
  6. Abutment placement. Once the implant is fused with the jaw bone and is firmly rooted into place, the gum tissue is reopened and the abutment (a post or connector) is attached.
  7. Prosthetic tooth attachment. A replacement tooth (crown) will be created to attach to the abutment that will look and function just like a natural tooth. Once this crown is attached the process is complete.

Dental Implants for Bridges

In some cases when a number of consecutive teeth need to be replaced, implants are placed and used as anchors for one or more bridges. A bridge is a row of artificial teeth that attach to existing teeth or implants. The process of receiving the anchor implants will be similar to the steps above with an additional step for bridge fitting.

A bridge is a more affordable option than multiple implants, however, implants are the highest quality solution for tooth replacement. You will likely be more satisfied with your results if you choose implants. Benefits include:

  •         Chewing strength
  •         Jaw bone preservation
  •         Look and function more like natural teeth
  •         Better long term solution

Same Day Implants/Immediate Function Procedures

For some patients it is possible to receive the complete dental implant procedure in one visit. If so, the implants will be placed and the permanent crowns attached the same day. In some cases even extractions of teeth can be done the same day. Ideal candidates must have sufficient jaw bone to support the implant/s and requires detailed proper planning.

Periodontal Associates Specialize in Dental Implantology

Dr. Cary Feuerman and Dr. Giovanni Castellucci are highly skilled periodontists who specialize in dental implant procedures. Successful implants require experience and precision in order to last and function properly. Trust your dental implant procedure to Periodontal Associates.

Call (508) 875-6185 today to make an appointment at our Framingham Office or (617) 964-6185 for our Newton Centre Office. We look forward to helping to restore your natural, healthy, functional smile.