Updated: November 11, 2017
Your dentist makes an opening in the jawbone where an implant is surgically placed. After the implant is attached to your bone, it acts as a new root for the crown that will replace your missing tooth.
A crown, which is made to look like a natural tooth, is attached to the implant and fills the space left in the mouth by the missing tooth. Single-tooth implants can be used in people who are missing one or more teeth. There must be enough bone in the jaw and the bone has to be strong enough to hold and support the implant to get success in this procedure.
A procedure called bone augmentation or bone grafting can be done if there is not enough bone. Also the natural teeth and supporting tissues near the implant area must be in good condition.
An implant-restored tooth consists of several parts.
This is made of titanium, which is placed in the upper or lower jawbone.
This can be made of titanium, gold or porcelain which is attached to the implant with a screw. This part connects the implant to the crown. It is shaped like a natural tooth that has been cut down to receive a crown.
This is the part that looks like a tooth called crown. It usually is made of porcelain fused to a metal alloy (PFM). It also can be of only metal or only porcelain. The crown is screwed or cemented onto the abutment. If the crown is screwed to the abutment, the screw hole will be covered with restorative material such as tooth-colored filling material.
The traditional method of placing an implant is about five months in the lower jaw and six months in the upper jaw which includes surgeries and placing the permanent crown.
If there is not enough bone in the jaw and bone needs to be built up first,then the process can last a year or more.
In mini implants, the implants as well as the crown, bridge or denture can be placed at the same visit.
In the traditional method, two procedures are required which requires three to six months of interval between them. During the first procedure, a small incision is made in the gum where the implant will be placed. A hole is drilled in the bone where the implant is placed and the incision is stitched closed.
The second procedure takes place at the end of the healing period of first one. A new incision will be made to expose the implant and a healing cap is screwed onto the top of the implant. It helps the surrounding gum tissue to heal. The healing cap will be removed after a few weeks. The abutment is screwed into the implant and used to support the crown.
In one-stage procedure, the implants, abutments and a temporary crown or bridge all can be placed in one visit.
A comprehensive examination will be done by your dentist which include review your medical and dental history, take X-rays, and create impressions of your teeth and gums so that models can be made.
In some cases, a computed tomography (CT) scan of your mouth will be one which will help your dentist determine how much jawbone is available to hold the implants in place. It also will show the location of structures such as nerves and sinuses ,so they can be avoided during surgery.
If the X-rays show that your jaw does not have enough bone to hold an implant, you can go for the procedure to build up the bone which may include bone grafting or bone distraction.
Grafting is taking bone from another source and adding it to your jaw. A graft could be your own bone, from your mouth, chin or hip or a synthetic material such as hydroxyapatite or calcium phosphate.
Bone distraction is a surgical procedure at the site where more bone is needed which causes the body to grow more bone by slowly pulling apart the existing bone using pins and screws.
It will take about four to twelve months for the bone to be ready for the implant for any of these procedure.