So, you’re considering undergoing dental implants? Perhaps you have already made the decision to move ahead, but you’re still a little unsure of exactly how dental implants are done. You might even be a little concerned about the cost. Well, fear not!
Here at Beyond 32 Dental, we’re all about being open and honest, so we’re going to spill the beans, or rather – lift the lid if you like – on exactly what you can expect. So without further ado, let’s dive in.
Understandably the very thought of having a rigid object like a dental implant inserted into the jaw is quite a daunting prospect but in truth, it doesn’t have to be. With modern technology and advanced treatments, dental implants are in fact quite common with millions of restorations being placed every year. So in the right hands, the surgical procedure itself – the part that most people are worried about – is both comfortable and quick.
The important point to note here is that dental implants are usually placed in two phases spanning 5-9 months and the actual implantation process is only a small but important part of this. The rest is taken up with planning, healing time and a process called osseointegration (more about this later). So here’s what you can expect…
The first part of the dental implants process is the consultation. This is where your dentist will take some scans and check out your medical records. This is also a great time to get any questions or concerns answered.
Once all parties are happy, your dentist will come up with a personalised treatment plan to restore your smile.
On the day of the surgery, once you’re good to go, your dentist will administer sedation. This normally comes in the form of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) which puts you in a relaxed and carefree state or Intravenous (IV) sedation which is inserted via a catheter into the back of the hand or arm.
Either way, you will remain awake throughout the process. Don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing and in fact, most people don’t even recall the process being carried out! During the surgery itself, your titanium dental implants will be placed directly into the jaw.
A tiny incision is made into the gums and a small but quiet drill is used to create a space for your dental implants to go. Your implant or implants are then screwed firmly into position using either a hand tool or the same drill. Finally, one or two stitches may be used to close up the gum.
After dental implants surgery, it’s normal to experience some bruising and swelling in the area, however, this can usually be quickly brought under control using ice packs. In addition, over-the-counter medication such as Ibuprofen can be used to treat any mild discomfort you may be feeling. Most people return to normal daily activities within 3-10 days.
Dental implant patients normally adopt a soft food diet for a period of time but this is something your dentist will talk to you about.
Over the next 3-6 months, your bone tissue will fuse with your dental implants in a key process known as osseointegration. This is where bone and implant fuse together and is needed to create the stability needed to fit your permanent crown. During this time you’re free to continue your normal daily life but expect to check back regularly with your implant dentist.
Once the bone has fully fused, you’ll be called back to the surgery and the implant will be re-exposed. This is so that an abutment can be fitted. This is a separate component that sits on top of your implant and connects your permanent crown. At this stage, the lab will look to fabricate your permanent tooth or teeth.
Finally, after several more weeks, your journey is almost over as it’s time for your permanent crown fitting. Once in place, your dentist will check for shape and fit and once all parties are happy, you’re good to go.
So that in effect is how dental implants are done!
But there’s one final thing we’ve yet to address and that’s the dental implants cost.
In Australia particularly, dental implants don’t come cheap. However, what you are paying for is a permanent replacement tooth or teeth that should last for decades. So in the long-term, the initial dental implants cost actually works out to be good value for money.
Besides, most dentists offer payment plans that allow you to spread the dental implants cost over a number of weeks or months and some medical insurances will also cover the cost of implant restorations either partially or in full. So either way, it shouldn’t be quite so much of an impact on your finances.
If you’d like to find out more about dental implants or are considering replacing missing teeth with a permanent solution, come and talk to the experienced team at (02) 9158 6334. We look forward to welcoming you.