People who have lost an individual tooth or several teeth in different places may be good candidates for dental implants. These consist of a synthetic tooth which attaches onto a titanium steel post that is surgically inserted into the jaw bone. To find out if they are eligible for dental implants Los Angeles patients can visit a dentist.
The implant unit is comprised of three parts, which act as a substitute for the tooth and its root system. The titanium steel post must be surgically embedded in the jaw, which is followed by the addition of an abutment or collar onto it, and lastly a crown made of composite or porcelain is cemented or screwed on.
If this procedure is to be successful, there needs to be enough bone in the jaw to hold the implant. The dentist will be able to assess this by performing an examination, making impressions of the teeth, taking x-rays and if needed, a CT scan. When the bone is insufficient, other preliminary procedures may be necessary, such as grafting or augmentation.
The total length of time to complete the procedure depends on the whether a one or two-stage approach is used and if the implant is on the upper or lower jaw, as the former takes longer. Using the traditional process, the steel post is inserted in the first surgery and another is performed to secure the abutment. Some dentists prefer to install the entire implant, including the post and crown at once.
If the patient does have sufficient bone, they will undergo surgery to drill small holes into the jaw bone and place the titanium posts into them. Normally this procedure is carried out by an oral surgeon or periodontist. In 4-7 months, the second step will be done.
The patient needs to wait before undergoing the second stage in this process because the implant and bone must fuse together and fortify so it can support the crown. The next procedure involves attaching an abutment, or tiny metal collar is secured to the post which serves the purpose of separating the implant from the gums. Sometimes it is removed after several days, other times it is left in place.
A temporary crown may be affixed to either the abutment or directly onto the steel post, and is worn by the patient while his or her permanent crown is being made according to the impressions the dentist made. The softer temporary crown facilitates healing of the gum tissues. After about 4-6 weeks, the permanent crown will be attached using screws or dental cement.
Implants require the same oral hygiene as natural teeth, brushing and flossing. At first the patient will need to see the dentist every 3 months, but eventually this will be reduced to every six months. In most cases involving dental implants Los Angeles patients will be pleased with the results and can expect them to last as long as 25 years.
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