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Chad D Burgess DDS PC

Gentle Family Dentistry

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What is a Cavity? > Radiographs > Periodontal Disease > Implant > Crown or Bridge > Removable Partial Denture > Root Canal >  
What is an implant?
People loose teeth for a variety of reasons. When a tooth is lost, there are only a few options to replace it such as a:

Of course, you are here in this section to learn more about implants.

Implants are by far the best way to replace a missing tooth. The first part of the process is to determine if you have enough bone in the area that you want an implant. The next step is to take some radiographs. Some dentists just use a panoramic radiograph, others use a tomograph (a special radiograph that gives different views of your bone) or even a cone beam scan (a very high tech radiographic machine that gives all the details you could want about your skull bones). My recommendation is to have at least a tomograph done. A panoramic x-ray can only tell you so much. Yes, many dentist do just fine using them to do implants, but I personally would want a tomograph or cone beam scan if I were getting an implant.

With the radiograph in hand, the implant can now be placed in the bone. The implant that goes into the bone is much like a screw, but a very special screw. This goes into the bone and then you let it heal for several months (unless you are getting what is called an "immediate load" implant, which we will not be discussing here). Surprisingly enough, this does not hurt at all! I know, you are thinking yeah right, doesn't hurt. You just put a screw in my bone. How can I believe that it doesn't hurt. Well, trust me, it doesn't hurt. To place the implant, the dentist numbs you up just as if you were getting a filling. When that wears off and the procedure is over, you will be surprised that there is no pain.

For those of you that like to know, while you are healing, the bone is growing in around the implant and making it very solid. After several months (3 months or so) you are ready to get the crown (tooth) on top of the implant. This part is also very easy. Some pieces are attached to the implant that is in the bone, an impression is taken, and then a "temporary" tooth is put on the implant. The impression is sent off to a lab where a crown is made. In the meantime, you have this temporary tooth to fill the space where you used to have a tooth. When the crown comes back from the lab, the dentist will cement the crown on and you now have something that looks much like a tooth in the empty space that used to exist.

Implants have proven to be the most effective way to replace missing teeth, but we must still remember that they are no substitute for the real thing. But if you happen to be missing a tooth, an implant is a great way to replace that tooth.