A natural tooth consists of a root and a crown. If you compare natural teeth to implant-supported replacement teeth, you’ll see they have the same basic parts. Both have a crown (the visible part used to chew food). Both have a root that holds the tooth securely under the gum and is anchored into the jaw. The difference is that the implant is made of titanium–the same time–tested material used by surgeons for artificial joints.

Dental implant surgery is a procedure that replaces the tooth roots with metal, screw-like posts and replaces damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function much like real ones. Dental implant surgery can offer a welcome alternative to dentures or bridgework that does not fit well and can offer an option when a lack of natural teeth roots does not allow building denture or bridgework tooth replacements.

Some patients might require bone grafting before having dental implant surgery, because your jawbone might not be thick enough or is too soft to support the implants. The bone graft can create a more solid base for the implant.

It may take several months for the transplanted bone to grow enough new bone to support a dental implant. In some cases, you may only need minor bone grafting, which can be done at the same time as the implant surgery. The condition of your jawbone determines how you proceed.

What you can expect:

  • You will need to have a comprehensive dental exam with your Oral surgeon. You may have dental X-rays and 3D images taken and have models made of your teeth and jaw.
  • Dr. Scarbrough will need to review your medical history. He will need to know about any medical conditions and any medications you are taking, including prescription and over- the- counter drugs including supplements. If you have certain heart conditions or orthopedic implants, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics before surgery to prevent infection.
  • Dr. Scarbrough will then come up with a treatment plan tailored to your situation. This plan will consider factors, such as how many teeth you need replaced and the condition of your jawbone and remaining teeth.
  • Dental implant placement is a team effort with your Oral Surgeon and your Dentist. Dr. Scarbrough will perform the implant surgery along with tooth extraction and bone grafting if necessary. Your dentist will make the permanent prosthesis and any temporary prothesis needed during the implant process

The healing process after the implants are placed varies from person to person, depending on the quality and quantity of bone. Dr. Scarbrough will advise you on your follow up care and the timing of healing. You might have to come back for several visits and x-rays during the healing process.

Your dentist when then complete the restoration by fitting the replacement tooth (crown) to the dental implant.