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Dental implants are prosthetic titanium frames that are surgically placed into the jawbone or above the jawbone for the purpose of allowing a dentist to mount replacement teeth or a bridge into a specific area in order to restore both aesthetic pleasantry and functionality to the teeth and jaws.   They can be placed inside the jaw bone (known as an endosteal implant) or above the jaw bone (subperiosteal implant). They serve as an effective and long-lasting solution to missing teeth, which can be lost as a result of periodontal disease, traumatic injury, or any other oral-related condition. The Dental Implant Placement Procedure Dental implants are commonly used to replace missing teeth. They can be placed at any time once bone growth is complete. The first step of the procedure involves getting the jaw prepared for implantation. Typically, a dental implant consists of a titanium screw and crown. A tiny (pilot) hole gets drilled into a toothless area of the jaw bone as a way to guide the screw which will hold the implant in proper position. Dentists, like those from Ballantyne Center for Dentistry in Charlotte, NC, use careful and exact precision during this drilling process for dental implants to prevent causing damage to crucial jaw and facial structures. Often, the dentist will be assisted by surgical guides, which are created using the CT scans while performing the implant placement. The second step of the procedure includes placement of the implant. Once the initial pilot hole has been drilled into the corresponding jaw site, it must be slowly widened to accommodate the placement of the implant screw. Once the screw has been placed, the surrounding gum tissue must be securely fastened over the implant and topped with a protective cover screw to prevent infection in the incision site and to allow the osseointegration (a process in which the dental implant fuses with the jaw bone) time to occur. After a healing time of up to six months, the dentist will uncover the implants and subsequently attach a structure known as an abutment to the implant. Once this piece is in place, the dentist will model a temporary crown whose purpose is to act as a template in which the gums grow and mold around naturally over time. Once the temporary crown is replaced with a permanent crown, the dental implant placement process is complete. Sources: Dental Implants, American Academy of Periodontology What are Dental Implants?, Colgate
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