What is Implant?

Implant is a fixed type of tooth replacement.  In patient's own word, the implant is exactly like his or her tooth.  Being taken care of, it can last a long time.  What does it look like?  How does it work?  How it hurt?

Mrs. Pei has lost a 2nd molar (Fig.1 M2).  She chooses an implant.  After local anesthesia, a small incision is made over the gums.  At first, a small drill is used to make an initial hole (Fig.2 D1).  Gradually the hole is enlarged (Fig.3 D2).  When the hole size is reached, a tap drill is used to make threads in the bone (Fig.4 T) so that an implant can be easily placed with stability (Fig.6 I).  When local anesthetic is used, the patient does not feel any pain during surgical procedure.  After surgery, the pain is minimal.  Implant placement is just insertion of the root of the future new tooth.  It takes about 2-4 months for the bone to grow into the threads of the implant to be firm (Fig.6 >).  For the most cases, there is no tooth for time being.  Two to 4 months later, a new X-ray is taken to confirm normal bone growth (Fig.6).  Then an abutment (Fig.7 A (red line)) is placed on the top of the implant.  An impression is taken for crown.  When Mrs. Pei leave the dental office, she has a temporary crown so that she starts using the crown for chewing. About two weeks later, she has a brand new permanent tooth (crown, C in Fig.7).  She has enjoyed the implant tooth for 9 months. 

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Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 10/14/2014, last revision 10/14/2014