Dental implants are medical-grade metal posts that are implanted into the jawbone to support a crown, an artificial tooth shaped and tinted to look like a natural tooth. Dr. Koo has color-corrected lights in her office which allow her to match the shade of the implant with the rest of the patient's teeth. Once implanted into the jaw, the natural bone tissue surrounds the post and provides a very secure and sturdy attachment for the crown. Dental implants are designed to look and function just like natural teeth, making them a popular alternative to dentures and bridges.
Dental implant procedures are performed over three office visits in most cases. During the first visit, Dr. Koo will implant the post into the patient’s jawbone. If the jawbone is very thin, Dr. Koo may perform a bone graft procedure to supplement the existing bone with a small graft of bone taken from the patient or from a tissue bank. Once the post is in place, it’s left undisturbed for several weeks to enable it to fuse with bone tissue. This process is called osseointegration, and it helps ensure that the post and crown are very stable. During the second visit, Dr. Koo will attach a second piece -- called an abutment -- to the post, make an impression, and send it to a dental lab, which will make the crown. During the third visit, Dr. Koo will carefully attach to the abutment, then gently shape it for a perfect fit.
Many patients prefer implants over other options because they are very secure and look and work like natural teeth. There’s no risk of embarrassing slippage or painful sore spots, and implants require no special care beyond what you would provide for your natural teeth. As a result, patients find that implants offer far greater self-confidence than bridges and dentures.
Implants are designed to last as long as natural teeth as long as they’re cared for properly. That includes regular brushing and flossing to keep the surrounding gums healthy and routine checkups to prevent gum disease. It’s also important to avoid activities like crunching on ice or hard candies to avoid breaking the crown -- or your own natural teeth for that matter.
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