Implants are one of the options to replace a missing tooth or a number of teeth. This article summerises the steps involved in replacing a single missing tooth with an implant.
Diagnosis, taking records, like photographs, radiographs, and study models. These records guide us for the coming surgery. It might show the need for any bone graft prior to the procedure. The study model will be used to fabricate a surgical guide.
Surgery, this step involves cutting the gum, drilling the bone where the tooth will be placed. An implant is placed in the bone. This piece is called a “Fixture”. Depends on strength of bone, this implant might be covered with gums and left to heal for up to three months, or the next step might be done simultaneously.
There is a piece that is screwed to the fixture, it is called an abutment. Two abutments are usually used, a “Healing Abutment” which is placed to allow the gums to heal around the implant. Then a “Definite abutment” is placed.
The healing abutment is removed. An impression is taken to record the position of the implant. The dental technician will send two pieces to the dentists, the definite abutment which is screwed to the fixture, and a crown (cap) which is either cemented or screwed to the abutment.
Follow up and care. Implants can fail years down the track due to lack of proper care. This involves brushing like natural teeth and having the hygienist or the dentist do proper scaling around the neck of the tooth.
Replacing a missing tooth with an implant involves many steps. These steps might vary from one person to another bu the main concept is the same.