Dental implants are the best option for replacing missing or non-restorable teeth, however, implants can be costly and take a long time from start to finish. Dental implants are a great investment if restoring teeth that are in poor conditions will mean a lifelong round of treatments, bridges or dentures.
Bone grafting may be required to start the implant process. Bone grafting is sometimes needed to increase the amount of bone present to place the implant into, which needs time to heal before the surgery to actually place the implant into the bone.
An implant is a root shaped titanium screw which is screwed into the jawbone. It must be left for three to six months for the bone to fuse around it before the crown and post are added. This fusion is a process called osseointegration. After the osseointegration process is complete, an impression is taken and a ceramic tooth made according to the shape and color of the adjacent teeth.
In a few cases, the implant can be placed and a temporary crown can be immediately sat on the implant. This is called immediate loading. Immediate implant loading can only be done when the amount of bone is ideal, the temporary crown is completely out of occlusion and the gingiva surrounding the implant is healthy. The healing process still takes several months and care must be taken during the healing period in order not to place pressure over the temporary crown which may cause the implant to fail. Once the implant has fully integrated to the bone, a permanent crown can be made to restore the implant.