Dental implants are a permanent option that many find appealing. They can replace any missing or extracted teeth. Unlike bridges, dental implants often are a better solution because there is no need to alter any other teeth when placing a new tooth.
The process that comes along with dental implants happens over a few months. To start off, the implant itself needs to be installed. A screw is carefully placed in to the jaw bone. A small incision is made along the gum where the implant will be inserted. This can be done at the same time for multiple implants when necessary. After all implants are placed, the gums are sutured.
At this point, the implant needs time to heal, which can be anywhere between 3 to 6 months. It is during this time that the jaw bone will form around the implant. This process is called osseointegration. Temporary crowns can be placed at this point to allow you to eat and speak normally and still have a the appearance of your normal smile.
Once the implant has healed, an abutment is placed on the implant. The abutment acts as the base for the new tooth to use. An impression of the abutment will be taken and then used to help create the permanent restoration. Some offices can create this restoration on site, or they can be sent out to a lab to be made. After the restoration is finished, it can then be attached permanently. Your smile will be fully restored and have a natural look and with time will feel exactly like your normal teeth.