COLORADO SPRINGS — Unless you have ever had a dental implant or you happen to know a lot about dentistry, you likely have no idea what the process is to replace a missing tooth. Once in place a prosthetic tooth can function and look almost exactly like a natural tooth.
When you see an x-ray of an implant in place it looks like a screw embedded into the jaw bone, because essentially that's what it is. Dr. Fred Guerra, DMD with Guerra Dental in Colorado Springs says, “The actual procedure involves starting with a smaller drill and increasing the size of the drill until you get to the size of the implant that you want. Then screwing the implant into the bone. Bone comes in all different kinds of density. You want to have enough bone density to support your implant.”
The process may sound gruesome or painful but Dr. Guerra says numbing medications and dental technology are modern miracles. “I think people should know, and I think most dentists would confirm that the actual placing of the implant is a relatively comfortable procedure. It's not like extracting the tooth if one needs to be extracted or like dealing with a root canal or a highly sensitive tooth. It's pretty easy to numb up the bone so the actual procedure goes quickly and comfortably.”
Once the implant is in place an abutment - or post is attached to it, and then a crown is placed on the abutment and completes the assembly of the implant. Dr. Guerra says your basically good as new but with that said, “An implant is not a replacement for your god-given natural tooth. It's a replacement for a missing tooth. So whether it's one implant, or multiple implants we do the best prosthetic we can to restore that missing tooth. The best solution is to have the dentistry you need to prevent the loss of those tooth structures in the first place.”
In our next story Dr Guerra will talk about the reasons people may need implants and shares the big questions you should be asking your dentist before you have an implant procedure done.
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