When your dentist tells you that you need a dental implant and begins to describe the procedure, you may start hearing some terms thrown around that you don’t know. However, the more you know about dental implants and what the terms mean, the better prepared you will be for your procedure.
To help you out, here is a list of some of the most common terminology related to dental implants. And remember, if you are unsure of something that your family dentist is discussing, just ask.
Dental Implant – The dental implant is the actual device that is surgically inserted into the jawbone. It fuses to the jawbone and holds the artificial tooth in place with the help of the abutment.
Abutment – This is the piece that is connected to the dental implant itself after the healing process is complete. The artificial tooth is attached to the abutment, holding the tooth to the implant.
First Surgery – A dental implant procedure is typically done in two stages. The first step is when the implant is placed in the jaw. This procedure can take anywhere from one to three hours and takes a few months to heal completely.
Second Surgery - Once the implant has fused with the jawbone (usually three to four months), a second procedure is performed to place the abutment in the implant.
Osseointegration – This is the process of the implant fusing with your jawbone. The bone attaches itself to the implant and grows around it, and then it is able to hold the implant in place, just like a natural tooth root.
Recovery – This is the time after each procedure when your mouth needs to heal to prepare for the next step. You will have to take special care of the surgical site during recovery.
Sinus Lift – This is a procedure where the sinus is moved upward by the dental specialist so that bone can be added in order to support a dental implant.
Bone Graft - A piece of bone is implanted into the jaw to help make it stronger to support the dental implant. Bone may be taken from your own body (like your hip) or a special bone grafting material may be used.
Mini Dental Implant – Very similar to traditional dental implants, mini dental implants are used where the space for the tooth is smaller. These are usually about half the size of traditional dental implants.
Dental work can be stressful but the more you understand, the better it can be. Ask questions and educate yourself, and the process will go much smoother for you.