Prior to starting the dental implant process, we will conduct an in-depth dental health history review to determine the possible reason why dental implants are necessary. This process will include an examination of your bite and for any indications of signs of periodontal disease, TMJ, loose teeth, bone loss, or oral cancer.
Once the underlying cause has been identified and it is decided that dental implants are the best solution for you, it will then be necessary to then take diagnostic exams (a CT scan and X-Rays) to determine the precise placement of the implant or if more than one is necessary. Once this is identified and the ideal locations are marked, the procedure will begin with the numbing of the soft tissue with the administration of a local anesthetic and/or sedation. A small opening will be done surgically to give our dentist access to your jawbone. Then a small hole is drilled in the jawbone to insert a titanium post. Next, we wait. It may take several months for the post to fully fuse to the jawbone, or integrate, (osseointegration). Once that post has fused it will act like the root of a tooth delivering strength and durability. During this period, a temporary crown is placed to reduce any risk of developing an infection and allow you to continue to sport a healthy smile.
In a just a few situations two additional steps may be added. If you still need a tooth extraction or if it is determined with the x-rays that your jawbone needs a bone graft to accept the implant.
As soon as the jawbone has completely fused with the post an extension or abutment is added, which will be necessary for the permanent ceramic or porcelain crown. When in place, we will evaluate the overall fit and appearance of the permanent crown to ensure it matches your natural teeth and provides you with optimal functional support. Once determined that the implant meets these criteria, the dental implant process will be complete, and you can begin to enjoy your new, healthy smile.