The use of dental implants to replace one or more missing teeth is a very effective, fixed solution for patients. Removable partial or complete dentures are still an option but many people prefer the stability and appearance of dental implants. Your dentist and periodontist will evaluate your jaw and bone structure to determine if you may be a candidate for dental implants. The are several steps in achieving this treatment and may include appointments with your dentist and periodontist. The first step is for a periodontist to insert a titanium screw in the jaw where the tooth is missing. This screw will later hold the artificial tooth. Once in place, surrounding gum tissue is secured over the implant to allow the site to heal and for the screw to anchor to the bone. The anchoring process, called osseointegration, may take up to several months. Once the implant site is completely healed and the implant screw is securely anchored to the bone, your dentist will attach an abutment to the implant; the abutment will hold the new tooth. A temporary crown will be put in place to allow the gum line to grow and shape. And the final step is the placement of a permanent crown. The entire process can take up to six months to complete. During treatment it is critical that patients are diligent in maintaining excellent daily oral hygiene habits. With proper care, dental implants can give you the smile you’ve always wanted.