What do you need to know about dental implants and restorative dentistry? You're missing a tooth—and the dentist recommended an implant. If this is your first experience with this type of restoration, take a look at the top questions patients have about the dental terms, process, and more.
What Is An Implant?
As the name implies, this dentist implants this restoration into your mouth. This means the dentist will insert an anchor under the gumline that will fuse with the jawbone. Over time, the bottom part of the implant becomes a permanent part of your mouth.
What Implant Terms Do Patients Need To Know?
The better you understand the lingo, the easier it is for you to learn about an implant and the procedure necessary to insert or install this type of dental device. Along with the word implant, you may also need to know these terms:
Fixture. This is the implant or implant post that goes under the gumline. It looks like a small screw and will take up the space where the tooth's natural root would normally go. As your mouth heals (after the dentist places the fixture), this anchor will fuse with the bone.
Abutment. The abutment is a connector that fits in between the fixture and the false tooth (crown). One end will fit into the fixture and the other will hold the prosthetic part of the implant that replaces the visible tooth.
Prosthetic. The dental prosthetic or dental implant crown is the tooth-colored, tooth-shaped part of the implant. This will look and feel like a natural tooth. It will also give you the ability to chew and speak easily.
Other words you may need to know are endosteal and subperiosteal. Endosteal implants are the common fixture screw restoration devices. Subperiosteal implants are an older version of the restoration. These devices have an exposed post that holds the prosthetic in place.
How Will the Dentist Place the Implant?
If you choose the common endosteal implant, you will need more than one dentist appointment. This process includes:
A consultation. The dentist will need to examine and possibly x-ray your mouth. This helps the dentist determine if you have enough jawbone to hold the anchor in place.
The placement. The next step is to place the fixture in your mouth. Again, it will extend from the gumline to the jawbone. It's possible that the dentist will place the abutment during this visit.
Osseointegration. This part won't happen at the dentist's office. Osseointegration is the healing process. The bone will grow into the implant's post, anchoring it in your mouth.
After the implant bonds with the bone, the dentist will place the prosthetic tooth or crown. You may need a check-up or follow-up appointment with the dentist to monitor your progress.