Dental implants provide solid and reliable support for new teeth. It’s a dental surgical procedure that replaces tooth roots with metal. Artificial teeth replace missing or damaged teeth, and they function and look like real ones.
Before undergoing the procedure, continue reading below to find out more about the important things you need to know about dental implants.
Indications for Dental Implants
Dental implants make a great alternative to your natural teeth. They are surgically placed in the jawbone and serve as the roots of missing teeth. Usually, titanium dental implants are used so they won’t make noise, slip, or cause damage to the bone.
Here are the indications and qualifications of undergoing a dental implant:
- One or more missing teeth
- Unwilling or unable to wear dentures
- Full growth of jaw bone to secure dental implants
- Healthy oral tissues
- No medical conditions that can affect bone healing
- Need to improve speech
- Don’t smoke tobacco
- Willing to commit to a long time process (several months)
Preparation for Dental Implants
So, how do you prepare for a dental implant? When it comes to the planning process, dental implants involve the collaboration of different specialists. These dental professionals include an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Also, a periodontist, or a dentist who is an expert in gums and bones, may be required, as well as a prosthodontist or one who designs artificial teeth. In some cases, the expertise of an ear, nose, and throat specialist or ENT is also needed.
A thorough evaluation will be carried out because a dental implant would require several surgical procedures. Here are the most common evaluation procedures:
- Comprehensive Dental Exam: This includes 3D images and X-rays of oral structures, particularly the teeth and jaw bone. Cone beam dental 3D imaging allows your dentist to see clear and detailed 3D images of the teeth, jaw bone, and oral soft tissues for accurate placement of dental implants.
- Review of Complete Medical History: You have to inform your doctor about the medications you take, like supplements, over-the-counter, and prescription drugs. Also, tell your doctor about any medical conditions you have, like certain heart conditions, allergies, or orthopedic implants.
- Treatment Plan: Your treatment plan should be tailored based on your situation. It should take into account important factors, like the number of teeth that need replacement, the condition of the jawbone, and the number of remaining teeth.
Expectations in a Dental Implant Procedure
Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics before and after the procedure to prevent infection. When it comes to pain management, you have the option to choose from sedation, local anesthesia, or general anesthesia. You’ll be advised about diet and nutrition before and after surgery.
Dental implant surgery is performed in stages. The entire dental implant process takes many months. Much of the time is intended to allow proper bone growth and healing. Certain steps can be combined depending on the materials used and your current situation.
Here’s the step-by-step process of a dental implant procedure:
- Removal of damaged tooth or teeth
- Preparing the jawbone and performing grafting as needed
- Placement of the dental implant
- Bone growth, allowing proper healing
- Installation of abutment
- Placement of artificial tooth
During the dental implant surgery, the oral surgeon opens your gum by cutting them to expose the bone. After which, holes are drilled where the implant metal will be placed on the bone. The dental implant post serves as the tooth root, which must be implanted deep into the jaw bone.
Choosing New Artificial Teeth
You can choose artificial teeth once your bone has healed from the dental implant. Choose from fixed, removable, or a combination of both. Removable artificial teeth are similar to traditional removable dentures, which can be partial or full. A plastic gum surrounds the artificial teeth mounted on a metal frame. It is easily removed for daily cleaning or repair.
On the other hand, fixed artificial teeth are permanently cemented or screwed on the individual dental implant abutment. Each crown is placed on the corresponding dental implant. You can’t remove the fixed tooth while sleeping or cleaning.
Dental Implant Aftercare
After the procedure, you might experience swelling and bruising of the face and gums. Also, the pain will be felt on the implant site. Minor bleeding may occur as well. Pain medications and antibiotics will be prescribed for pain management and to prevent infection.
You’ll be instructed when to resume eating, typically starting with soft and easy-to-chew food. Finally, it’s essential to contact your oral surgeon if you experience discomfort and swelling, and if other problems get worse.
Now you’re more confident to undergo a dental implant procedure knowing how it is done and what to expect. Make sure to choose a trusted, qualified, and experienced oral surgeon to do the job to ensure your dental health and safety. Don’t hesitate to ask your prospective dental surgeon questions before the dental implant procedure to clear any doubts, as well as for your peace of mind.