If you are thinking of getting dental implants, the first thing you'll want to do is have a consultation with a dentist who offers implants. During this consultation, your dentist will look at your mouth, take some x-rays, talk to you about the implant process, and let you know if implants are a good choice for you. These consultations can be really informative and eye-opening. Yours will be even more productive if you're familiar with the following terms that your implant dentist will likely use.
Your dentist may explain how after you have the implant inserted, you need to wait and allow osseointegration to occur. This is just the process by which your own jaw bone grows into the implant, anchoring it stably into your jaw. It takes a couple of months for osseointegration to be complete.
When you think of a dental implant, you are probably picturing the entire false tooth. But when your dentist uses this term, they will typically be referring to the actual screw that is implanted into your jaw bone. The other part of the implant that you actually see and chew with is called the crown.
The abutment is the part of the prosthesis that connects the implant (the screw) with the crown (the visible portion of the tooth.) Your dentist will attach the abutment to the implant a few weeks after the implant is placed in your jaw bone.
If you are missing all or most of the teeth in either your upper or lower jaw, then your dentist may recommend something called all-on-four implants. With this type of implant, you would have four screws implanted into your jaw bone. Then, a series of crowns will be attached to all of the four implants.
Immediate loading is a different kind of implant procedure that's becoming more common. Instead of getting your implants and then coming back later for abutments and crowns, your dentist will "load" the implants, or add crowns to them, during the same appointment that the implants are placed. You may be a candidate for this procedure if you have good overall dental health and a strong jaw bone.
Knowing the above terminology will help you better understand the conversations you have with your dentist during an implant consultation. The dental implant process is pretty simple once you get to know the basic ins and outs.
For more information, reach out to a dentist that offers dental implants, such as Parkview Dental.