A dental implant is an artificial tooth, attached to a metal post that is inserted beneath your gums and into the bone.
Implants are now regarded as the standard of care for tooth replacement. Although daunting in its description, the implant process provides long-lasting results and isn’t as uncomfortable as most patients anticipate.
The team here at Spruce Roots, wants you to have a clear explanation of the entire process from start to finish.
How Dental Implants Work
The dental implant itself is a small titanium post with fine threads that fuse to your jaw as it develops new bone around it. Once anchored in place, the forces of natural chewing are easily supported. Most patients are surprised at how simple and quick the process is. They report feeling no pain during the surgery, and very little discomfort during recovery.
In fact, the most common feedback we hear is, “I wish I hadn’t waited so long!”
Prior to Implant Surgery
Planning to place an implant is a very careful process that eliminates any guesswork.
Between the specialist (surgeon) and our office, we use technology including:
- surgical mapping
- CT scans
- digital guides
- x-ray imaging
… to plan out the optimal position for each implant. This preparation allows the surgery to go as smoothly as possible. It also determines whether you are a candidate for implant therapy to begin with.
During Implant Placement
You will be referred to a dental specialist within Fairbanks, a Periodontist or Oral Surgeon, to have the implant placed. The specialist will make sure you receive the level of sedation that keeps you comfortable.
For most single “tooth” implants, local anesthetic is sufficient and the whole surgical procedure can take less time than a normal filling or crown!
For the majority of simple, single implants, a small incision is made in the gums at the implant site. The bone is exposed by slight flaps of gum tissue being sectioned out. It isn’t uncomfortable, but patients often feel a slight vibration as the implant is placed into the open socket. Once the sterile implant is seated, the gums are sutured closed to completely cover the implant for a few months or the surgeon places a healing cap over the implant with gum tissue hugging the temporary cap.
The Stages of Recovery and Restoration
The specialist will discuss after-care instructions and any medications that you may need. Discomfort is usually minimal. Most patients return to work the next day.
The next stage is critical. Your bone around the implant will need 3-6 months to heal and securely fuse to the implant, a process known as osseointegration.
Once osseointegration has occurred, Dr. Willis or Dr. Bast can prepare for the permanent restoration. You will return to our office for the removal of the temporary healing cap. A transfer post will be placed and a mold will be taken and sent to our dental laboratory for the fabrication of your custom-fit implant crown. The healing cap will be placed back in the mouth for about 3 weeks. On final delivery, the healing cap is removed for the last time and the permanent crown is finely adjusted to accommodate the new space. Time is taken to get the bite just right.
If the implants are supporting a denture or a partial denture, posts called abutments are placed and the denture or partial is modified to accept the abutments.
Dental Implants in Fairbanks, AK
Wondering if a dental implant is right for you? Fairbanks residents are encouraged to schedule a consultation to learn more about the many benefits of implant therapy. Call today to book your visit with us and restore your smile!