Dental implants are an excellent solution to replace missing or extracted teeth. Implants do not require preparation to adjacent teeth as would a fixed bridge. When an implant is placed, the bone site ("osteotomy") is first prepared. The implant is placed in the bone to proper depth, bone grafting is performed if necessary, and the soft tissue is sutured. The implant must be allowed 4-6 months to heal, and during this time bone will form around the implant in a process called osseointegration.
After bone integration has taken place, it is time to place an abutment on the implant. The abutment serves as the base for your new tooth. An impression of the abutment is taken, and the crown is fabricated.
Immediate Implant Placement
In some cases it is possible to place an implant at the time a tooth is extracted (generally molar sites that have adequate bone.) The socket guides the doctor to accurately place the implant. Immediate implant placement may cut 4-6 months off of the total treatment time. The bone in the extraction area begins integrating (healing) around the implant immediately.
Molar tooth broken to gumline,
Implant placed and grafted
same day as extraction
Delayed Implant Placement
In most cases standard implants are placed after the extraction area has already healed. It is important to first develop the proper bone and soft tissue support for the implant. Please visit our page entitled "Guided Bone Regeneration" for more information about this important step taken prior to implant placement.
Missing tooth, before implant placement
Following implant, abutment, crown
Implants can also be used to retain dentures, partials, and bridges. Please visit our "Dentures" page for more information about the denture stability one can achieve with implants.