Dental implants are the leading tooth replacement procedure of today, but that doesn’t mean that every patient knows all they need to know about implants.

Dr. Corbet Locke, a dentist in Waco, Texas, believes in the power of dental implants to restore and rejuvenate his patients’ smiles. Here are some of the questions he’s asked most frequently about dental implants.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a small, titanium anchor surgically inserted into the jawbone to serve as the “tooth root.” Once your implant anchor has been placed, Dr. Locke will attach a custom crown, bridge, or denture to give your new tooth a 100 percent natural appearance. Over time, the jawbone will fuse to the titanium in a process called osseointegration. The body accepts the implant as a natural part of the anatomy, so the dental implant can potentially serve you for a lifetime.

What does implant therapy involve?

Implant therapy can be completed in two phases. First, a titanium anchor is placed. The surgery is considered to be minor, although patients need to be in good overall health. A healing period will allow the osseointegration process to begin. Healing time varies from patient to patient, but the average time for complete healing is about three months. During this time, Dr. Locke can provide you with a temporary restoration so you’ll never be without teeth. Dr. Locke will place your final crown, bridge, or denture once the implant has stabilized.

Am I eligible to receive dental implants?

After a thorough exam, Dr. Locke can determine whether dental implants are the right solution for you. The titanium anchors require adequate bone density for stabilization, although bone-grafting procedures can enable a patient to receive dental implants. Dr. Locke will also need to examine your medical history and lifestyle habits.

For more information about dental implants or to schedule your consultation appointment, call Dr. Locke’s dental office in Waco, Texas at (254) 776-4888.