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Dental implants are one option for replacing missing teeth. An implant replaces a missing tooth root with an artificial root made of titanium metal that looks like a screw or cylinder. The implant is attached to the jawbone beneath the gum tissue. Once attached, it acts as an anchor for a replacement tooth, called a dental crown. An abutment (post) is used to connect the implant with the replacement tooth.
If you are missing more than one tooth, a fixed dental bridge can be used instead of multiple replacement teeth. A bridge extends across or “bridges” the gap where one or multiple teeth are missing.
Because an implant is placed into the jawbone beneath the gums, to be a good candidate for an implant, you need to have healthy gum tissue and a healthy jawbone. There needs to be enough bone to support the implant.
Unlike other options for replacing a missing tooth, a dental implant is more stable and lasts longer, making it very similar to natural tooth. Unlike dentures, you don’t need to worry about adhesives, removal, overnight soaking or cleaning.
The first stage involves attaching the implant. The implant is placed into the jawbone under the gum tissue. The gum tissue is then stitched back into place. The implant needs time to bone (fuse) with the bone and this can take anywhere from three to six months.
During the next stage, an abutment or post, is added. The dental implant is uncovered and the post is attached. This stage can be different depending on the type of implant used.
Finally, the crown or replacement tooth is attached. The crown is matched as close as possible to your natural tooth. It needs to be similar in color, size and shape to existing teeth.
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You can prepare for your first appointment ahead of time by completing the following new patient information forms at home, created by dental professionals.