Missing or damaged teeth can not only negatively affect the quality of your smile, but they can also compromise the integrity of your bone structure. Your jawbone needs stimulation to prevent deterioration. This stimulation is received when teeth make contact with foods during chewing.
Dental implant treatment is a popular option for patients looking to avoid the negative effects of missing teeth. Some patients underestimate the amount of time and effort required to install dental implants. A quality implant requires the completion of three very important steps to ensure the durability and longevity of the implant over time.
Step 1: Setting the Screw
Dental implants are successfully installed via a series of surgical procedures. The first step in the dental implant process is a surgery to set screws within your jaw.
The implant will not have its own natural root to anchor the tooth to the jawbone. Tiny screws are inserted underneath healthy gum tissue and screwed directly into the bone. These screws act as anchor points for dental implants to ensure a snug fit once the artificial tooth is inserted by your dentist.
Step 2: Adding the Abutment
You will need to allow ample time for the screw implanted by your dentist to fuse with the jawbone before moving on to the second step in the dental implant process. Once the screw is firmly set within the jawbone, your dentist will add an abutment to the top of the screw.
The abutment acts as a connector between the screw and the artificial tooth (referred to as a crown). Without a sturdy connector, any damage to the crown could result in movement of the screw. The abutment ensures that there is a snug fit between the screw and the crown and that these two elements can act independently of one another.
Step 3: Connecting the Crown
Because your dentist will be cutting into your healthy gum tissue to attach the abutment to the screw, you will need to give your tissue time to fully heal before having a crown set. Your dentist will likely create a mold that matches the shape and size of your existing teeth to send to a lab where the crown will be generated.
As your gums are healing, your customized crown is being created. This helps reduce the amount of time required to complete the dental implant process. A crown can be connected to your abutment in a single appointment, and typically produces little discomfort once set in place.