The dental implant process involves 3 steps: tooth removal, implant placement and placement of an implant abutment and crown. The entire process usually will take 3-6 months.
The original non-restorable tooth must be removed unless it is already missing. A dentist will surgically place the implant into the jawbone. If there is not enough bone to hold the implant the dentist may add bone around the implant. This is called a bone graft.
Next, the bone around the implant heals in a process called osseointegration. What makes an implant so strong is that the bone actually grows around it and holds it in place. Osseointegration means “combines with the bone”. This process usually takes 3-4 months but may take longer. In some cases patients can have the implants and replacement teeth placed all in one visit.
Once the implant is set in the bone a dentist will attach an implant abutment to the implant. An implant crown is then attached to the abutment. The crown will be designed to blend in with your other teeth. If you are replacing more than a single tooth, custom-made bridges or dentures will be made to fit your mouth and your implants. A temporary tooth, bridge or denture if often made to help you eat and speak normally until the permanent replacement is ready.