Dental Implants- A Three-Step Procedure

Dental-Implants-3-Step-300x246One of the most common questions we hear from patients when it comes to dental implants is “Why does it take three separate procedures?”

It helps to understand that within the entire dental implant process, there are not just three stages, there are also three important parts to the final product that replaces your tooth.  First, there is the implant itself, which is the metal rod that we surgically implant into the bone.  Next, there is the abutment, which connects the implant to the artificial tooth.  And lastly, the crown (or prosthetic tooth) itself.

The fact that the process has three physical components alone doesn’t tell the whole story though.  Here, we explain why the most commonly employed dental implant method is split up into three separate procedures.

Step One:  Placing the Implant

The first stage of the dental implant process is to  insert the implant in the jaw bone via a minimally invasive surgical procedure.  The dental implant essentially replaces the tooth root, and requires a period of healing after placement.  During this healing period , osseointegration (microscopic healing of the bone with the implant itself) occurs.   Bone cells actually attach to the titanium implant surface, securing the implant in place for long-term support of the crown.  The healing time usually takes from 2-6 months depending upon upper or lower jaw positions.

Step Two:  Placing the Abutment

The restorative abutment is a post that allows the crown (prosthetic tooth) to attach to the implant fixture.  The restorative abutment extends above the gum level to allow this connection to the crown. After placement of the restorative abutment, a brief (2 – 3 weeks) of gum healing may be necessary before impressions can be obtained and the definitive crown be fabricated and placed.

Step Three:  The Prosthetic Tooth

Once the implant fixture and abutment have successfully healed, the prosthetic tooth (crown) is fabricated and installed. The final fabrication and placement of the crown is performed by your restorative / general dentist.

If you have any questions about the dental implant process, give us a call!

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