A dental implant is a replacement for a lost tooth. The procedure takes several months to complete. It starts with the placement of a titanium post into the jaw of the patient. It is placed in such a way that it should occupy the root portion of the empty space to be able to accommodate the crown which will eventually be placed here. Titanium is used for this procedure because research has shown that this metal integrates so well with bone, that in time, separation is difficult. The titanium is inserted into a predrilled socket into the jawbone so as to give the crown a stable support platform.
Placing the Titanium
The process of placing the titanium root into the jawbone requires surgery. Some x-rays must be taken of the entire oral cavity of the individual for the dentist to assess the situation and be familiar with the lay of the mouth. A CT scan may also be necessary for the dentist to assess the condition of the teeth and the bone in the jaw. The gum area above where the titanium root is to be placed will be opened and lifted to enable access to the bone. The size of the implant used will depend on the amount of bone available. Bone grafting may be needed if the bone is not enough for the dental implant to be attached to. Once attached, the gum is stitched back to heal for about six months. When it has healed, another procedure will commence. The gum is again opened and the post is integrated into it. The permanent crown is not placed at this time.
The recovery period from the time of the placement of the initial dental implant can take some time. During this period, the patient is encouraged to use temporary teeth or bridges or continue to wear dentures to prevent the disturbance of the healing area. This may take up to six months to heal. After this duration, a temporary one is placed unto the post until such time that it heals and the permanent crown in then placed. The use of the temporary cap may reach up to six weeks because the dentist will want the gum area to mature before placing the permanent crown. Regular visits to the doctor may be necessary for him to asses the condition of the dental implant , the post and the temporary crown.