Getting a dental implant is often a big step for many patients. The procedure replaces tooth roots with a metal post made generally out of a lightweight material like aluminum, which resembles a screw. Then a replacement,an artificial tooth, is attached, which looks and function as a real tooth. Dental implants are a fantastic alternative to ill-fitting dentures or bridgework which doesn’t fit very well.
How the surgery is performed is dependant on a number of factors. The type of implant and the condition of the jawbone will determine how exactly the surgery will be carried out. Consult with your doctor and they will help you create a treatment plan for your dental implant surgery.
A dental implant is a good option for you if you have more than one tooth missing, have adequate bone structure for the implant to be secured, and have healthy oral tissues and are willing to commit to the months-long process. Your dental implant will fuse to the jawbone, meaning that there will be no slippage or make noise or cause bone decay like how dentures or fixed bridgework can. They also can’t decay your own teeth like how regular bridgework may.
How to Get Ready for the Surgery
Dental implants may require more than one surgical procedures, so they require a thorough evaluation to prepare for the process. This evaluation includes a comprehensive dental exam in which you get x-rays taken and models of your teeth and mouth are made. Then your dentist will tailor a treatment plan for your situation, which will take into account a number of factors. Sometimes this planning will require the input of many dental specialists.
Be sure to tell your dentist about any pre-existing medical conditions you have, or any medications you take. Be sure to include any over-the-counter drugs and supplements you take. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics before the surgery to prevent infection.
During the surgery, you may have multiple options for anesthesia including a local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia. Discuss with your doctor about which option is best for you. If you choose to go with general anesthesia, be sure to plan to have someone take you home after the surgery, and expect to spend the rest of the day resting.
The surgery itself is generally an outpatient surgery performed in the following stages. First, the damaged tooth or teeth is removed. Then, your jawbone is prepared for surgery, which may involve bone grafting if your jaw isn’t thick or is too soft. The reason for a graft is because the chewing action of your mouth is incredibly powerful, and if your jaw cannot support the implant, it will very likely fail. The bone graft is done to create a solid base for the implant. If this is needed, it may take several months for the transplanted bone to grow enough to support the implant.
After your jawbone heals from the bone grafting surgery, which may take several months, the dentist will place the meal implant post into your jawbone. Next comes a healing period can last many months. This healing process is not only to make sure that the body recovers from the surgery but also so that the jawbone can grow around the implant. The bone growth securely fixes it in place. This process can take several months as the bone grows.
Next, the oral surgeon will place the abutment. The abutment is the part of the implant which allows the tooth to be placed. In some cases, if the jaw is strong enough and the implant is very stable the abutment can be attached at the same time as the implant is placed.
Finally, after the soft tissue heals, you will have molds of your teeth and jawbone taken, for the creation of the new tooth. Then, the tooth or teeth is placed. The process takes many months, most of which are devoted to recovery and healing.
The type of artificial tooth you choose is dependent on your needs and what your dental care provider determines is the best option for you. The crown that is made after the abutment is made is generally a realistic artificial tooth. There are a few types: removable, fixed or a combination of both. A removable one is very much like a conventional removable denture. It contains an artificial white tooth surrounded by pink plastic gum. It snaps into place and can be easily removed for repair or for daily cleaning. A fixed type is permanently screwed or cemented onto the implant abutment. It is not removable for cleaning. This type of implant can be used to replace one or multiple teeth.
After the Procedure
It is not uncommon for you to experience some discomfort associated with any type of dental surgery that can include: swelling of the gums and face, bruising of your skin and of your gums, pain at the implant site, and minor bleeding. Your dentist may prescribe you pain medication in order to help manage the pain.
If the swelling or if the discomfort gets worse in the days following the surgery, or if there is any other problem, contact your oral surgeon. They may prescribe you different pain medication or antibiotics. You will also have to stick to soft foods for a while while the site of the surgery heals. If stitches are used, they are usually self-dissolving, but your doctor may need to remove your stitches.
After the surgery, be sure to practice good dental hygiene by refraining from smoking, practicing excellent oral hygiene. Use a brush with specially designed brushes to clean between the teeth and the sides. Be sure to see a dentist regularly to maintain the health and proper functioning of your implants. Avoid damaging your teeth by using them to chew hard things like ice or hard candy which can break the crowns. Avoid tooth-staining tobacco and caffeine, and if you grind your teeth be sure to get treatment to help prevent it.