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The closer I get to the end of my dental-implant process, the more steps appear. Now that the surgical part is over and the implant's in my jaw, the process gets handed back to my regular dentist to produce the final abutment and crown.

It turns out this is going to be four appointments, of which the first was yesterday. That was a quick visit to take a dental impression, which will be used to make a form-fitting goop tray to take another impression at higher resolution with a more rigid material.

They need a precise model so that they can make sure the abutment and crown are made right. Right now, I've got a temporary healing abutment that looks like a flathead screw, which is just hand-screwed into the threaded hole in my implant. But the implant also has some kind of shape around that to keep the final abutment from rotating. It's a titanium piece with a computer-rendered shape that they'll make on a CNC milling machine, which will key into the top of the implant in a fashion reminiscent of flatpack furniture, and be held in place with a screw through the middle. Then the tooth-shaped ceramic crown goes around that. I think the abutment gets tested for correct seating and orientation at the third appointment before they make the crown part.

It won't all be done until early May, and then I go back to the oral surgeon for one last follow-up check. Here's hoping it's all worth it.

October 2017

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