Dental implants are a permanent and appealing solution to replace missing or extracted teeth. They are better than other alternatives like bridges because no additional teeth need to be altered to place the new tooth.
The entire dental implant process is performed over the course of about 4-9 months, depending on the case. If necessary, the initial stage may requre a bone graft at the time the failing tooth is removed. Generally this bone graft will need to heal about 12 weeks prior to having the dental implant placed. A titanium post will then be placed by a dental surgeon into the site of the missing tooth.
The dental implant requires about 3-6 months to heal, and during this time the jaw bone will form around the implant through a process called osseointegration. During this healing time you can have a temporary crown or appliance installed so that you can eat and speak normally and maintain a proper aesthetic appearance for your smile.
After the implant has healed it is time to place an abutment on the implant. The abutment serves as the base for your new tooth. Once this is placed, an impression of the abutment is taken and is used to create your permanent crown restoration. After about 2 weeks, the crown restoration will be complete, and you can return to the office to have it attached to the abutment permanently. Your smile will look just like it used to, and after a short period of getting used to the implant it will feel just like one of your own teeth.