Dental implants are a permanent and appealing solution to replace missing or extracted teeth. They are better than other alternatives like bridges because no additional teeth need to be altered to place the new tooth.
The entire implant process is performed over the course of a few months. The first part of the process is to install the implant itself, where a screw is placed into the jaw bone. An incision is made in the gum so that the implant can be inserted. Multiple implants can be placed at once if necessary. After the implants are placed the gums are sutured.
The implant must be allowed about 3-6 months to heal, and during this time the jaw bone will form around the implant in a process called osseointegration. During this healing time you can have temporary crowns installed so that you can eat and speak normally and maintain a proper aesthetic appearance for your smile.
After the implant has healed it is time to place an abutment on the implant. The abutment serves as the base for your new tooth. One this is placed an impression of the abutment is taken and is used to create your permanent restoration. Some offices have an onsite lab to create the crown, but others will have to send it to an outside lab. Once the restoration is completed you can return to the office to attach the restoration permanently. Your smile will look just like it used to, and after a short period of getting used to the implant it will feel just like one of your own teeth.
Mini dental implants are about half the size in diameter of a regular dental implant. This offers many benefits, and they can also be used in situations where regular implants cannot. If an implant needs to be placed in a narrow space, mini implants are the preferred method because of their smaller size.
A main use for mini implants is to install a full upper or lower denture. A series of mini implants (4-6) are placed along the gum line and they serve as the base of the denture. Rather than placing a single implant for a single tooth, an entire lower or upper set of teeth are directly attached to the gum line.
The small size of mini implants often means that no incision needs to be made to place the implant. They can usually be inserted right through the gum into the bone. This eliminates the need for a recovery period, and the restoration can usually be placed right away or only a short time after.
Mini implants are also less expensive than regular implants. Only your dentist knows if mini implants are right for you, so call for your consultation today.
- How long do I have to wait to get a tooth on my implant?
One of the most important factors affecting the time needed for bone to heal to implants is the inherent density of your bone. Generally it is best to wait 2 months for the implants to stabilize in the lower jaw (dense bone), and 4 months in the upper jaw (softer bone). A temporary tooth that has little or no biting pressure can often be placed on the implant during the healing period.
- Tissue has grown over my implant, is that ok?
Sometimes this happens. We will do a simple procedure to fully uncover your implant, removing unnecessary tissue.
- A screw came off my implant what should I do?
The screw that came off is the healing collar or cover screw. This is not an emergency but we would like to see you as soon as possible to put it back on.