If your dentist has suggested a dental implant to replace your missing tooth, you may know little about the device or what to expect after the initial implant surgery. Here is a bit of information to help you better understand the dental implant and what typically occurs after its placement.
The Make-Up of an Implant
The dental implant is fashioned from titanium and is shaped like a small screw. The titanium, which is considered biocompatible, is used to help ensure that the body does not reject the implant. In addition, the shape of the device allows it to be drilled into the jawbone and remain in place as the resulting wound heals.
The Healing Process Takes Months
After the dentist has inserted the dental implant, the surgical wound starts to heal. The soft tissue begins to self-repair, but the bone also undergoes a regenerative process.
The healing process of the bone is called osseointegration and results in the stabilization of the implant. During the process, the bone cells around the implant grow, filling any gaps between the implanted device and the bone tissue. Osseointegration requires several months for its completion.
Multiple Surgeries Are Needed for a Single Tooth Restoration
The placement of the dental implant is not the only procedure needed to complete the replacement of a single tooth. Once the wounds of the initial surgery heal, the dentist schedules another procedure to contour the gums so that they curve naturally around the implanted device. The gingival tissues are permitted to heal, and another procedure is performed for the placement of an abutment to connect the implant to a dental crown. Finally, the dental crown is added.
A Dental Implant Is Permanent
An implant is considered a permanent application. The device is not replaced during the patient's lifetime unless it fails. If the crown covering an implant becomes damaged, as long as the implant remains intact, only the crown would need to be replaced.
An Implant Should Be Treated Like a Natural Tooth
The implant restoration and the area around it should be brushed and flossed as a natural tooth would. If plaque builds up on the surrounding gums, a condition called peri-implantitis may result. The condition, which is a form of gum disease, can prevent the implant wound from healing correctly. Properly cleaning the mouth and using an antibacterial mouth rinse can help prevent the development of the condition.
To learn more about dental implants, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.