The first thing a periodontist will tell you before getting dental implants is that it’s a long process—it doesn’t happen overnight, nor in a single visit. In fact, getting dental implants consists of a series of procedures. In total, dental implants can take up to a year to complete.
Made of titanium, dental implants fuse directly with the jawbone to serve as the new roots of missing teeth. Once healed, they will anchor new dental crowns in place. Their placement—deep in the jawbone—makes them a complete and permanent tooth-replacement system that can last a lifetime. And it’s also because of their placement that the procedure is extensive, with three main phases:
- Consultation and creation of personalized treatment plan
- The dental implant surgery itself, possibly including a bone graft, followed by the implantation, osseointegration, placement of the abutment, and actual dental crown restoration
- Recovery and any follow-up appointments.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these phases, from the first consultation to final fitting.
Are dental implants right for you? Your consultation with a periodontist in Mississauga
The first step in getting dental implants is finding out if you are a good candidate. During your consultation, your periodontist will assess the number and location of missing teeth and the condition of your jawbone, gums, and remaining surrounding teeth.
Depending on your case, a periodontist may also work with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (a doctor that specializes in treating the mouth, jaw, and face) a prosthodontist (a dentist who creates dental crowns or replacement teeth), and an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist. Your consultation will include:
- Comprehensive dental exam, with x-rays and 3D images of your teeth and jaw
- Review of your complete medical and dental history to determine if you have any underlying conditions or potential drug interactions that can affect the procedure
- Your personalized treatment plan, based on the number of missing teeth and their location, and the strength of your jawbone and remaining teeth
- Overview of anesthesia options, including local, sedation, and general anesthesia.
Following this comprehensive consultation process, your periodontist will advise if you are a suitable candidate for dental implants. Generally, this means:
- Your jawbone is healthy enough to support the implant, or you are able to undergo a bone graft
- Your gums and tissues surrounding missing teeth are healthy
- You are in good oral and overall health and haven’t been diagnosed with any condition that affects bone healing
- You generally maintain healthy lifestyle habits, including not smoking tobacco
- You can commit several months to the entire dental implant process.
When Your Jawbone isn’t Strong Enough: Getting a Bone Graft
A primary requirement in receiving dental implants is having a healthy jawbone that’s strong enough to support them. But often, the gaps left by missing teeth, along with the natural process of aging, can cause the jawbone to deteriorate. In order to receive dental implants and ensure their success, you will first need a bone graft.
Your periodontist can graft a section of bone transplanted from another part of your body or use a synthetic graft. This bone tissue is then grafted onto your jawbone, allowing it to strengthen. Depending on the type of graft and the rate at which your body heals, this process can take up to a few months. Once the jawbone is fully healed, your periodontist can proceed with the actual implantation.
The Dental Implant Surgery
The actual dental implant procedure consists of three parts. Your periodontist will provide you with instructions to prepare, including preventative measures to lower your risk of infection. Following these instructions will help ensure the success of your dental implant procedure.
Your periodontist will place the dental implant. First, they will create an incision along the gum line to expose the jawbone, then drill a hole where the implant will go. Since the implant will function as the new root of a replacement tooth, it will be placed deep into the bone. Once implanted, gaps left by missing teeth will still be visible so that you can wear temporary dentures in the meantime.
Following the implantation, osseointegration begins. Taking place over several months, this process essentially involves waiting for the implant to take or fuse with the jawbone. During this time, the jawbone will grow into the implant and combine with its surface, creating a solid base that will hold your new teeth in place—much like the roots of natural teeth.
- Placing the abutment
Once the dental implant has fully fused with the jawbone, your periodontist will place the abutment. This is where your new dental crowns will be placed, attaching them to the implant. To place the abutment, your periodontist will reopen the gum tissue and expose the dental implant, then close the tissue around it. It takes about two weeks for the gums to heal before you’re ready for the final step—getting your new teeth.
Choosing Your New Teeth
Now that the dental implants are secure and the abutments are in place, you’re finally ready for your new teeth. Working with a prosthodontist, your periodontist will take impressions of your mouth and teeth to create your new dental crowns—artificial replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural ones.
There are two options for replacement teeth. Your periodontist will help you select the best option based on your needs and lifestyle.
- Removable: Similar to removable dentures, these can be partial or full and mounted on a metal frame that is attached to the abutment. Unlike conventional dentures, these snap securely in place so they won’t slip off or fall out but can still be removed for cleaning.
- Fixed: Designed to emulate natural teeth, fixed artificial dental crowns are permanently screwed or cemented onto the abutment. These are permanent and not removable, so all you need to do is follow the basics of good oral hygiene—regular brushing and flossing.
Talk to Our Periodontists in Mississauga About Your Dental Implant Procedure
Are you considering dental implants to replace missing teeth? It’s time that we closed the gaps in your smile, so you can eat, talk, and laugh with ease and confidence. At Periodontal Associates, our periodontists in Mississauga are committed to ensuring a smooth and successful dental implant procedure, from the first consultation to final fitting.
Our periodontists are here for you at every step of your dental implant procedure. From confirming that you are a suitable candidate and ensuring that your jawbone is strong and healthy, to the actual implantation and fitting of your new permanent teeth, you can count on us to provide expert periodontal care, guided by the highest standards in dental implant and tooth replacement procedures.
Ready to receive your dental implants and finally close the gaps in your smile? Visit Periodontal Associates in Mississauga. Talk to our periodontists about the dental implant procedure.