Dental implant treatment is an ideal option for patients with one or multiple missing teeth. They are made to look, feel, and function normally like your natural teeth, making them a great long-term solution to tooth loss. Dental implants have been used for decades and offer a safe, reliable way to restore missing teeth and provide a smile makeover.
This article discusses the dental implant procedure and how to prepare for it, as well as what to expect during the procedure and how is the recovery process.
What is a Dental Implant Procedure?
The necessary steps for dental implant surgery depend on the chosen implant and your jawbone condition. The procedure might include several surgeries.
One of the primary advantages of dental implants is that they provide a solid support for your new teeth. This process requires the bone to heal tightly around the implant, which takes time —sometimes several months.
Dental implants are done in outpatient surgery and use titanium-made surgical screws that look like a tooth root.
On this artificial root, dentists can then secure replacement teeth that will look completely natural.
Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a versatile solution for anyone, no matter their age or the number of teeth they need to replace. However, it’s important to discuss the pros, cons, and risks of the procedure with an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
What can disqualify you from having an implant dentistry may include:
Existing Medical Conditions
Some medical conditions can hinder the success of dental implants. These include diabetes, haemophilia, and chemotherapy treatments.
Smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products can affect the ability of bone to heal around an implant and increase the risk of infection or failure.
Insufficient Bone Structure
Dental implants require enough healthy jawbones to keep them firmly in place. If you don’t have enough, you may need to get a bone graft before the implant can be placed.
Gum Disease or Problem Teeth
If you have existing gum disease or problem teeth, it can make it difficult for the implant to be placed properly.
Currently Wearing Partials or Dentures
Implants can’t be inserted while a denture is in place. It’s necessary to remove them first before starting implant treatments.
By considering all of these factors, your dentist can help you determine whether you’re a good candidate for dental implants and should assess your overall dental health to identify any other conditions that may interfere with the success of your implant.
If you are qualified, the next step is to discuss the procedure in detail and prepare for it properly.
Getting Ready for Dental Implant
The dental implant treatment process begins with an initial consultation with your dentist, who will evaluate the condition of your mouth and gums. During this visit, your dentist will discuss the different implant types, materials, and potential risks.
Once the implant is chosen, your dentist will begin to prepare your mouth for the procedure. This may involve tooth extraction or bone grafting\augmentation to form a strong foundation. Your dentist will also take x-rays and impressions of your mouth to ensure that there are no areas of concern before surgery begins.
Dental Implant Surgery
One of the most common questions that patients ask is, “Is the surgery painful?”
It’s essential to know that any surgical or invasive procedure will cause some degree of discomfort. Still, your dentist will use anaesthesia or sedatives so that you feel comfortable during the procedure.
Once your mouth is ready, the dental implant surgery begins. After making a small cut in your gums to reach the jawbone, your dentist will drill a hole and place a titanium implant in it.
These implants act as a replacement for missing tooth roots. The implant is placed directly into the bone socket of the missing tooth and is secured with a metal post. This process typically takes about an hour to complete.
Titanium used in dental implants can permanently bond with bone tissue. This makes dental implants much more stable than dentures and increases the lifetime of this restoration type, compared to fixed bridges.
If you’re missing one of your front teeth, you may have a temporary replacement tooth placed during this healing process for your appearance. This type of partial denture can be removed for cleaning at night.
The Final Stage
Once the dental implant has healed, there is one more surgical step which consists of placing a small attachment called an abutment or collar on the top of the implant. This provides a base for the crown or replacement tooth to attach when it’s ready. The abutment usually requires local anaesthesia.
Some patients have their abutment attached during the original implant procedure, but this leaves the metal post of the abutment visible above the gum line as it heals. Many people don’t prefer this to look appealing, so it’s placed later on instead.
Either way, the abutment attaches to the metal base, and your gums need around two weeks to close around it. This requires about two weeks of healing for your gums before you can get a replacement tooth or teeth.
Subsequently, your dentist will take impressions of your mouth in order to create a new artificial tooth.
After your new crowns or replacement teeth have been attached to the abutments, you’ll be ready to smile for the world again. You may find it difficult to adjust at first, so make sure you follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions precisely.
After The Procedure
It’s normal to experience discomforts such as swelling, bruising and discomfort. Your dentist may prescribe medications or recommend over-the-counter ones to help you manage this pain.
It’s also essential that you incorporate soft foods into your diet for a few weeks in order to let your gums heal properly.
Recovery and Aftercare
The recovery period for dental implants varies depending on the type of implant and how many teeth were replaced. The dental implant treatment healing process can take between six weeks and six months.
During this time, your dentist will provide you with specific instructions on how to take care of your dental implant once it is placed. It’s vital that you follow these guidelines carefully, as not doing so could lead to complications. These instructions include the following:
Practise excellent oral hygiene
Maintain your oral health and keep your artificial tooth and gum tissue clean by brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice daily.
See your dentist regularly
Schedule regular check-ups with your dentist to ensure the health of your natural and artificial teeth and follow the advice for professional cleanings.
Avoid damaging habits
Avoid chewing on hard objects or grinding your teeth, as it may break your crowns. Stay away from smoking and tooth-staining products, such as caffeine products.
These tips will help you keep your implant in the best condition possible and ensure that it lasts for a long time.
Dental implants are a great option for restoring your beautiful smile and can provide you with several years of improved oral health. As with any major dental procedure, it’s important to make sure that you’re prepared for the process and know what to expect before, during, and after treatment. Be sure to discuss all of your options with your dentist so that you can make the best decision for your individual situation.
For more information, contact the friendly team at Beyond 32 Dental on (02) 9158 6334 to learn more about how we can help restore your natural smile.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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