Dental implant procedures are quickly becoming the standard of care for tooth replacement and are one of the single biggest advances in dentistry today.
Dental implants do not have some of the downsides of other methods of replacing teeth. Dentures can be uncomfortable and can make it difficult to chew properly. Bridges require the removal of tooth structure on adjacent teeth.
First, impressions and radiographs are taken to produce a surgical model to plan surgical placement.
Next is the surgical implant placement. Implant surgery is done under a local anesthetic (numbing agent) and optional mild sedation. The process is painless and less invasive that having a tooth removed.
A small incision is made in the gums and a titanium implant is placed into the bone. Often, additional bone is placed in the area to add strength. A few small stiches are placed and the area is left to heal for several months. During healing, the surrounding bone combines with the titanium implant in a process called 'osseointegration'. Upon full integration, an impression is taken of the implant and sent to the lab. A few weeks later, a custom abutment, or post, and a final crown is ready to be placed. The end result is a fully functional, esthetically pleasing tooth.
Studies on implant longevity are impressive. The literature reports success rates of 95-98%.