A dental implant is used in prosthetic dentistry. There are several types. A typical implant consists of a titanium screw, with a roughened surface. At jaw sites where no prior tooth has existed for many months, a pilot hole is bored into the recipient bone, taking care to avoid vital structures (in particular the inferior alveolar nerve within the mandible). This pilot hole is then expanded by using progressively wider drills. Care is taken not to damage the osteoblast cells by overheating. A cooling saline spray keeps the temperature of the bone to below 47 degrees Celsius. The implant screw is usually self-tapping and is screwed into place at a precise torque so as not to overload the surrounding bone. Once in the bone, a cover screw is placed and the operation site is allowed to heal for a few months for integration to occur.
After some time to allow the gums to adjust and swelling to go down, the implant is uncovered and a healing abutment and temporary crown is placed onto the implant. This encourages the gum to grow in the right scalloped shape to approximate a natural tooth's gums and allows assessment of the final aesthetics of the restored tooth. Once this has occurred a permanent crown will be constructed and placed on the implant.
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