How Does a Dental Implant Work?
The placement of dental implants takes multiple steps. Surgery will be necessary in order to place the implant, but the number of surgeries will depend on the type of implant used.
Dental implants are typically made of titanium and can be either two-stage or one-stage implants. The three parts to a dental implant are the post, the abutment, and the dental crown that serves as the replacement tooth. During the placement surgery for a two-stage implant, the gums are cut open at the site where the missing tooth was located. The surgeon will then drill a hole into the jawbone. The post portion of the dental implant will then be placed into the jawbone and the gums will be closed over it. It will then take several months for the implant post to fuse with the bone in a process called osseointegration. Once the fusion has taken place, the gums are cut back open so that the implant post is exposed. The abutment is then attached to the post and the gums are closed back around the abutment, but not over it. It will take several more months to heal from this second surgery, and then the dental crown will be connected to the abutment, thus completing the implant. For a one-stage implant the post is already connected to the abutment, so the additional surgery is not necessary.
Once placed, the dental implant will look, feel, and function like a natural tooth. Since the dental crown will be made from porcelain, it will absorb and reflect light much like a natural tooth. In fact, it will be unlikely that anybody will be able to tell the difference between your implant and your natural teeth. You can check out some dental implant before and after images to get an idea as to the seamlessness of the replacement.
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