If you are missing teeth, your Bloomington dentist may have recommended dental implants. Dental implants are a permanent tooth restoration option that replaces the missing root, providing a secure replacement that allows you to bite, chew, and speak normally. Dental implants are often thought of as the gold standard in tooth replacement because they prevent the jawbone from deteriorating. Bone deterioration or resorption can lead to sunken facial features, causing an individual to look much older. Dental implants allow individuals to retain natural tooth functionality as well as appear natural.
One of the most common questions we get from patients in Bloomington when it comes to dental implants is, “What is the dental implant process.” The following is a step by step guide to placing dental implants and restoring the smile.
The very first thing we do is a full oral exam along with digital imaging. This allows us to assess oral health, the current condition of the jawbone, and determine whether dental implants are a viable solution. During this step, we’ll explain the process for dental implants and answer any question the patient may have and develop a plan to move forward.
For dental implants to be a success, the patient must be in good oral health. If there are any signs of gum disease or decay, this will be addressed prior to the dental implant procedure.
For individuals who are already missing teeth, extraction may not be necessary, however, in many cases, we need to remove failing teeth. This is typically done as an in-office procedure under local anesthesia.
Dental implants must be placed into strong, quality bone for them to integrate, stay in place, and support the final restoration. If the patient has lost bone structure, a bone grafting procedure may be recommended to replace the bone tissue. After a bone graft, the area needs to heal for several months prior to the placement of the implants.
Placing dental implants is typically done under local anesthesia. First, once the area is numbed, a flap will be cut in the gum tissue and a small hole will be created in the bone. Once the hole is the appropriate size, the implant can be screwed into the bone and the tissue is placed back over the hole. Depending on the location of the tooth and the patient’s situation, a healing cap may be placed over the dental implant. The implant must heal for several months to be accepted and become strong in your bone. In cases where the area can be seen when you smile a temporary solution will be available to replace the missing space during the healing time.
After the designated healing period, the implant will be evaluated with updated digital imaging. If it is determined all has healed well and you are ready for the restoration phase, we must prepare the area for the abutment and crown. Sometimes further tissue healing is necessary and sometimes the impression can be taken the same day to construct the abutment or connector between the implant and crown and the crown that goes on top. A post is placed on the implant to show its relation in your mouth to your other teeth and impression is taken of the area. This is then sent to the lab where the abutment and crown are constructed. A healing cap will go back in place while the crown is being made. You will return in 2-3 weeks to receive your tooth that goes on top of the implant.
Once the crown is returned from the lab and the tissues have healed accordingly, you are ready to get your tooth. The healing cap is removed, the abutment is placed and the crown is tried in. We make sure the crown fits and functions well and that you are happy with the appearance. Once that is complete, we cement the crown on top of the abutment. After this long process, you now have a tooth that looks and functions naturally.
While thinking about the many steps of the dental implant process can be overwhelming, the team at Eastland Dental Center wants you to know that you are in good hands. Dental implants have consistently become a common option to restore a missing tooth because of their strength, longevity, and affordability over their lifespan.
If you want a tooth replacement solution that:
If you are in the Bloomington area, call the team at Eastland Dental Center today at (309) 663-4711 to schedule your dental implant consultation. We’re happy to walk you step by step through the process so that you can ensure you feel comfortable with the entire procedure.
Dr. Mike completed his doctor of dental medicine degree from Southern Illinois University in 1978. Dr. Marisa completed her doctor of dental medicine degree from Midwestern University in 2015. Both doctors have logged hundreds of hours of continuing education to stay on top of the latest technologies in dentistry as well as the most current research on the oral-systemic, mouth-body connection to benefit their patients. Dr. Mike and Dr. Marisa are active members and in excellent standing with the American Dental Association, Illinois State Dental Association, Chicago Dental Society, McLean County Dental Association, American Academy of Oral Systemic Health, and numerous other societies.
Both doctors are avid golfers and have won several national golf tournaments over the years. They are the only father-daughter team in the state to have won the Illinois State Amateur Golf Championship. Dr. Mike in 1974 and Dr. Marisa in 2005.