A dental implant is an artificial tooth replacement. The implant bonds to the jawbone where the former tooth was. It is outfitted with an abutment and crown made to match the surrounding teeth with the correct size, shape, and color. Dental implants function just like natural teeth and should be cared for in the same way.
First, the dental implant is placed beneath the gums with a temporary tooth replacement over it. Three to six months later, after the implant has bonded to the jawbone, a mold is taken to fabricate a custom abutment and crown. Two weeks later, the abutment and crown are placed to complete the permanent dental implant.
Due to the use of anesthesia, placement of dental implants is not usually painful. Patients may take TYLENOL® or Advil® to help with any discomfort during the first few days after the implants have been placed.
While dental implants are an excellent option for most people, they may not be the best option for everyone. For example, individuals with compromised immune systems or serious medical conditions may not be able to receive implants. Also, if a tooth has been lost for a long time, there may be too much bone and gum loss to place an implant without additional procedures. People who can’t afford the time and investment for implants or those whose neighboring teeth may need crowns or caps at some point may be better off getting a dental bridge. Acknowledging these exceptions, most individuals will still be best off with a dental implant, as they are highly durable, long lasting, easy to care for, and they function and look the most like natural teeth.