Posted on: 12 May 2015Share
A dental implant is a good option for replacing a lost tooth because it is strong and it looks natural. An implant consists of three pieces: implant screw, abutment, and crown. It takes several months to go through the entire process of getting an implant, as each part is added in stages. Here's how it works.
The Implant Screw
The dental implant itself is a small titanium screw. Titanium is used because it is accepted well by the body, which eliminates the fear of rejection and enhances the fusion with bone. To insert it, your dentist opens your gum and screws the implant directly into the bone in your jaw. It takes several months for your bone to grow over the screw. During this time, the implant is hidden under your gum. When the fusion is complete, the screw will be anchored securely in your bone and ready for the next step.
The abutment is a tiny connecting piece that allows the dentist to attach a crown to the implant screw. To attach the abutment, your dentist has to reopen your gum to access the implant. Once the abutment is in place, you'll need to allow time for your gum to heal from the surgery before the permanent crown is put on. Abutments are made from a variety of materials. They don't fuse to your bone, so steel and ceramic are suitable choices. Your dentist may opt for steel in a molar, so it can withstand the force of chewing. Ceramic may be chosen for a front tooth to prevent a metal color from showing through.
The last step to getting an implant is to have the permanent crown installed on the abutment. The crown is custom made for your mouth, so it has a perfect fit and color match. Crowns are made from a variety of materials such as resin, porcelain, or even gold. Resin is the most affordable, while porcelain looks the most natural. You may want a porcelain crown if the implant is for one of your front teeth, unless you prefer the look of gold.
You can get an implant for just one tooth or you can get an implant for a bridge that covers several teeth. You can even attach dentures to dental implants. Although it takes a long time to complete the process, the end result is worth it because the implants are so strong, they're the next best thing to natural teeth.
For more information, contact Implant Dentistry of Virginia or a similar location.