What is a Dental implant and how does it work?

A long-lasting choice, implant-supported dentistry brings you as close to growing new teeth as possible and corrects even the most severe problems associated with missing teeth. Precisely placed in the same bone that once supported healthy teeth, they help preserve the tooth-supporting bone that naturally deteriorates when a tooth is lost, thereby sustaining the integrity of your facial structure and restoring the strength and function of nature. Modern porcelains produce a life-like result that may leave you completely unaware that they aren’t your natural teeth. Dental implants are an excellent choice for replacing a single missing tooth, multiple missing teeth or supporting dentures. The stability and sense of confidence you develop with implants will leave you pleasantly surprised.

Implant services with Peterson and Sunde Dentistry.

  • Single-tooth replacement: Dental implants consist of three individual parts that form the root, neck and crown of the missing tooth. Single tooth implants have the highest success rate, and because they will never get a cavity or need a root canal treatment, are the best long-term investment for replacing a single tooth.
  • Multi-tooth replacement: Similar to fixed bridges, implant bridges are commonly used when three or more teeth in a row are missing. Similar to single tooth implants, they will never get a cavity or need a root canal treatment. Implant bridges are easy to maintain and allow hygiene maintenance on the neighboring teeth to remain unchanged.
  • Implant-supported dentures: Improve facial esthetics by restoring the jaw line and replacing top and/or bottom missing teeth. Implant dentures screw in or lock into place so they will not shift in the mouth or fall out during jaw movement.
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What are the three parts of a dental implant?

  • Dental implant:  a small titanium or ceramic zirconia screw shaped post that replaces the root of the missing tooth. The implant is sometimes referred to as a platform. It serves as the base for a variety of screw-retained attachments.
  • Abutment: an attachment that screws into the implant platform, forms the gums into a natural tooth shape and provides the base upon which the crown is seated.
  • Crown: a life-like ceramic tooth that covers the implant abutment.

Dental implant process

The amount of time it takes for the entire implant process varies depending on several factors including the overall health of the individual, the quantity and quality of the existing bone and compounding factors such as smoking. Generally, an average procedure time from tooth removal and graft to functioning crown is between 6 - 8 months though compounding factors may require up to a year or more. 

The implant process:

  1. Tooth removal and bone grafting: Extracted teeth leave a defect in the bone. Bone grafting accelerates the bone formation process and preserves the natural quantity and shape of bone for implant placement. Dr. Sunde waits approximately three to four months for the lower jaw or five to six months for the upper jaw to allow for adequate healing.
  2. CT Scan: Dental implants are often placed near vital anatomic structures (nerves, blood vessels and sinuses). A CT scan will allow Dr. Sunde to look at a 3-dimensional image of your jaw for proper planning and safe placement of your implant.
  3.  Initial consultation: Dr. Sunde has advanced training in the placement of implants and will meet with you to review your medical and dental history, take x-rays and photos, and create impressions of your teeth and gums.
  4. Implant surgery: The implants will be placed into the bone in the planned sites. A healing abutment cap will be noticeable just above gum level. Dr. Sunde waits approximately three to four months for the lower jaw or five to six months for the upper jaw before scheduling the next step in order to make sure the implants have properly integrated to the jawbone.      
  5. Impression Appointment: Impressions are captured for fabrication of the custom shaped abutment and crown.
  6. Crown Delivery: Final placement of the abutment and crown. 

Please read our Implant Pre-Operative and Post-Operative Instructions prior to receiving treatment:

Implant Pre-Op Instructions
Implant Post-Op Instructions