Here at Excellent Dental Specialists in San Antonio, TX we want all of our patients to be happy with their smile, which is why we offer so many great tooth replacement options. When you lose a tooth, not only does your smile suffer, your self-perception and your ability to eat and speak suffers too. With dental implants we can replace your missing teeth in both form and function, giving you back all of the things you lost when you lost your tooth. Dental implants rely on a biological healing process known as osseointegration to provide you with a long-lasting and permanent dental prosthesis.
What is osseointegration?
Osseointegration describes the process of healing and integration that human bones go through when a biologically compatible material is surgically placed into them. Because dental implants will be performing all of the same tasks that your teeth once did, they need to be held in place firmly by your jawbone. When we place an implant into the bone in your jaw, we will then give it some time to heal. Usually this takes a couple of months to complete. Over this time, the bone in your jaw will be growing around the dental implant, shoring it up and supporting it as it goes.
The Parts of a Dental Implant
Dental implants are made up of three separate parts—the titanium implant post, the abutment, and the implant restoration. The titanium post is the first part of the implant that we place, and subsequently the portion of the implant that is placed directly into your bone. The post is made of titanium for a few different reasons. Titanium is strong, long-lasting, and does not corrode or break down over time. Also, titanium is a biocompatible material, meaning the human body does not try to reject it, but rather, accepts it and grows around it. Titanium is the key to osseointegration.
Titanium isn’t the only material that is biocompatible. Zirconia is also used to create dental implant posts. It is not as common of an implant solution as titanium, but it meets all of the same criteria. Zirconia is not metallic in coloration. Instead, it is white. Zirconia is sometimes used when the aesthetic appeal of the implant is in question, or if there is an issue with soft tissues in the mouth.
Once we place the implant post, we will give it some time to heal. This can take several months. During recovery time we might place some temporary implant restorations on the implants depending on the case. Once the implant posts have healed in the jaw, it will be time to come back to our office so that we can place the implant abutments and restorations. The abutment screws into the top of the dental implant and is held in place with permanent dental implant adhesive. The abutment gives the implant restoration some surface area on which to be attached.
The final portion of the implant to be placed is the restoration prosthesis. These prosthetics can be made to replace a single tooth, multiple consecutive missing teeth, even a full arch of missing teeth.
For more information about our dental implant and oral surgery services, please contact us at to schedule a consultation.
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