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In the past, people with missing teeth had limited options available to replace them. One or two missing or damaged teeth could be compensated for with crowns and bridges, while multiple missing teeth typically required either partial or complete dentures. However, there is now another option available: dental implant clinics like Summit Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery have been replacing missing, damaged, or decayed teeth with realistic-looking implants for over 40 years.

What Is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant consists of three main parts: the prosthesis, the abutment, and the fixture. The prosthesis is the part people will see. It closely mimics the look and feel of your natural teeth. The fixture, also called the post, is the part that actually gets implanted in your mouth. It is made of metal, usually titanium, and serves to hold the prosthesis in place. The abutment screws into the fixture and connects the prosthesis to it.

What Types of Dental Implants Are Available?

There are two different types of dental implants: subperiosteal and endosteal. Subperiosteal implants are not placed directly into the bone but under the gum. They are performed rarely, and usually only under certain circumstances.

The more common type of dental implant is the endosteal implant, which is placed directly into your jaw bone. Endosteal implants can only go where the bone is strong enough to support them. Otherwise, you may require a subperiosteal implant or an additional grafting procedure to improve the bone quality in your jaw.

How Long Does the Dental Implant Process Take?

There are many advantages to getting dental implants, but same-day surgery is not one of them. Getting one or more dental implants requires at least two different procedures that take place over the span of at least six to nine months.

Furthermore, if the bone density in your jaw is too low to support the implant, you may require an additional bone augmentation procedure such as a bone graft or a sinus lift to improve the quality of your bone. It will take time to see the full effects of these procedures, and they can add several months to the overall process.

Other factors that determine the length of time it will take to complete your implant include the number of teeth involved, which teeth are to be replaced, whether one or more teeth need to be extracted beforehand, and your overall dental health. For many patients, the end result is worth the wait, but it is essential to know about the length of the process before you can decide whether a dental implant is right for you.

What Happens During the Two Dental Implant Phases?

The first phase involves implantation of the fixture into your jaw or under your gums. This procedure is performed under local anesthesia and/or IV sedation. It takes a couple of hours to place one implant. Regardless of the type of implant, the procedure involves making an incision into the gums, placing the implant, and closing the gums back up over it.

The second phase begins when healing from the first phase is complete and the implant has become securely attached to the bone. After another procedure to open the gums and re-expose the implant, you will have impressions made of your teeth that your dentist will use as a guide in making a prosthesis that will fit in among your other teeth and function the same way. This may take place over a series of appointments; your dentist may wish to test the prosthesis before it is ready for final placement. Once the prosthesis is determined to be a good fit, it will be placed in your mouth permanently, and the process is complete.

Do You Have Further Questions?

The process of getting dental implants in Michigan can be confusing and intimidating. Fortunately, you can contact Summit Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery anytime by filling out our online form.