A good way to describe dental implants is “artificial tooth root.” The actual implant basically replaces the root of a missing tooth. They are ideal for supporting a single tooth crown, which is visible above the gum line. Dental implants are also a way to anchor dental bridges and full or partial dentures.
With dental implants, you have some of the same restorative options as you have with natural teeth. These options range from single-tooth, dental bridges, and fixed or removable full or partial dentures.
The process for placing and restoring implants usually takes several months. If you are already missing teeth, the doctor will evaluate the area to make sure you have enough good, solid bone in that area to hold and support the implant. Sometimes, if there is not enough bone, a bone graft can be done, which adds additional artificial bone to that area. If you have a tooth that needs to be extracted, and you already know you want to replace that tooth with an implant, the perfect time to do a bone graft is immediately after the tooth is taken out, before they place stitches and close up the tissue covering that bone.
Once the implant has been placed and adequate healing has taken placed, a cover is put on top of the implant, called an abutment. The abutment is the connector from the implant to the replacement teeth on top of the implant. It must be placed on top of the dental implant so teeth can be anchored to the implant. The abutment screws into the dental implant and acts like the root under a crown of natural tooth, except it’s stronger and is not susceptible to decay.
If you have any additional questions about implants or want to see if they would be an option for you, call our dental office in El Paso. Dr. Del Greenhalgh and his staff can help you find the perfect solution to make your teeth and smile comfortable and functional for you.
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