Dental Work before Implants
Many dentists recommend planning ahead for possible dental implants. If you are getting a tooth extracted, you can ask your dentist to prepare the cavity in the jawbone for a dental implant. This can be done even if you are not sure you will actually get the implant anytime soon.
All it takes is for your dentist to fill the cavity where your tooth was with a material that promotes bone growth. This simple step keeps you from losing the bone around the hole.
This would make it so that the bone would be ready for the titanium screw whenever you were ready for your implant.
Dental Implant Surgery
In the next step of the process, you will be sedated, and the dentist will cut into your gum to expose the jawbone. They will then drill a small hole in your jawbone and insert a titanium screw.
Then the gum tissue is closed up again and stitched back in place. You must wait until the bone has grown solidly around the titanium screw so that it is held firmly in place before the next phase can begin.
This usually takes about five months.
Once the screw is well secured, the dentist will open up your gum again and install a tiny hexagonal head on the screw.
This is called an abutment, and it is the bit that the artificial tooth will connect to.
It will stick up out of the gum tissue and be visible until the artificial tooth is installed.
After the abutment is installed, it will take another two weeks of healing before the new tooth can go on.
As soon as the abutment is solidly in place and well-healed, the artificial tooth (called a crown) can be installed on top of it.
Over the next couple of weeks, the gum will heal even more around the tooth. At this point, your new tooth will look and feel completely natural.
You will be able to eat normally, and nobody will be able to tell that the tooth is not your own.