The process of getting a dental implant may sound quite complicated, but it doesn't have to be that way. Here are some terms that you need to become familiar with so that you understand what your dentist is describing when it comes to your new implant.
A bone graft procedure is not always needed when getting a dental implant since it is an additional procedure used to strengthen the jawbone. This is often the case when the existing jawbone is too weak to support a dental implant, so bone material is surgically attached to your jawbone to give it the strength it needs.
The part of the implant that goes into your jawbone is often referred to as the post. This post can be made out of zirconia or titanium material, both of which are fine choices for your implant. Your dentist will likely prefer to use a titanium post because it is very strong and lightweight, but zirconia is often used if the patient has an allergy to the titanium metal that is used.
That metal post will need to bond with your jawbone so that it becomes a permanent part of your body. This process is known as osseointegration, and it can take several months for it to fully take place. As that bone heals and forms around the post, it will eventually gain strength to the point where it cannot be easily removed and can withstand the force of chewing.
The implant does not go into your mouth as one solid piece, since there are actually three pieces that make up your implant. While the post is the part that goes into the jawbone, the abutment is the part that screws into the post. It creates a surface that the artificial tooth can be attached to once the implant has healed. One of the benefits of using an abutment is that it can be replaced if it becomes damaged from trauma. It can potentially prevent the need to replace the entire implant.
A dental implant crown is very similar to the type of dental crown that is placed on a natural tooth. The crown is typically made out of a ceramic material that is designed to replicate the look of a natural tooth that blends in with the surrounding teeth. You'll be given a temporary crown after the procedure while the post is integrating with your jawbone, and then a final crown will be placed on the abutment with dental cement to keep it attached.
For more information on dental implants, contact a dental office in your area.