Dental implants are one of the newest innovations in modern dentistry. As the name implies, it is “implanted” in the jaw to take the place of a tooth that is broken or decayed and functions exactly like the tooth it is replacing. The dental implant is topped with a crown, and if you didn’t know any better you’d never be able to tell the difference between it and a real tooth.
But how do implants work? After all, a tooth has been removed from the jaw and replaced with a metal implant. How in the world can that end up stabilizing and replacing the tooth that was lost?
The body initiates a process called osseointegration (“osseo” – bone, “integration” – fusion with). If we’re talking about a front tooth, the tooth socket is cone shaped. The implant penetrates the apex of that socket and is affixed to the bone in the area. Kind of like placing a screw in a previously drilled wooden hole that’s too large. The only way to stabilize it is to screw it into the wood beyond the screw’s original reach.
The implant is very carefully placed and stabilized. Then the process of osseointegration begins. In about 2 months the bone will fill the remaining gap and heal by fusing to the implant.
Implant patients must be careful during that period, but once the osseointegration is complete, the implant and crown will function as any other tooth in the patient’s mouth.
If you have any questions about implants, make sure to give us a call. We’d love to discuss them with you.