For people suffering from damaged or missing teeth the solution is generally either dentures or dental implants. There are several main differences between the two options and whether you're deciding which is best for you or if you already know you'd like implants, it is important to understand the process of getting the dental implants. Here is a breakdown of what to expect before, during, and after receiving dental implants.
Before the procedure is done you will need a thorough examination. Your medical history will be considered along with any medications you may be taking. The dentist will consider things such as number of implants needed, your jaw structure, the health of your gums, etc. Sometimes more than one type of dentist will help develop the strategy, such as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (mouth,jaw and face) and a periodontist (dentist who works with the structures that support teeth).
Dental implants are performed in stages. Sometimes multiple stages can be performed at once and sometimes it takes months between steps, all depending on individual needs. After each procedure, common side effects, such as soreness and slight bleeding, may occur. Generally, these effects last only a few days and are minor.
Firstly, (if still present) damaged teeth will be removed. After teeth removal, the jawbone must be prepared, which may include bone grafting. Jawbone grafting is a procedure whereby a piece of bone from another part of the body is used to help strengthen a weak or soft portion of bone in the jaw. If this is required, the healing time may take several months before you're able to move onto the next stage, although, minor grafting may be done the same day as the implant surgery, depending on each individual's requirements.
After the jaw is fully healed, the implant is placed. This is done by drilling into the bone and placing a metal rod in it. This will serve as the tooth root and stabilize the new artificial tooth. Before the artificial tooth can be placed on the metal rod, the surrounding bone must have time to regrow around the new rod--a process called osseointegration. This may take several months but ensures a solid foundation for the new tooth.
After your jawbone has fully integrated the metal post, the abutment is added. The abutment is what the artificial tooth (crown) will actually attach to. Sometimes the abutment is placed at the same time as the metal rod, but often it is done in a separate step because it is visible before the crown is attached. This is only a minor procedure that requires local anesthetic but will require a few weeks for your gums to heal.
After your gums have healed, again, it is finally time to place the artificial tooth. There are two types of artificial teeth: fixed and removable. You can get one or the other, or even a combination depending on the dentist's recommendation.
The majority of dental implants are successful. However, for a small percentage of patients, the bone does not fully fuse to the implant and the implant must be removed. Certain behaviors can increase the likelihood of a failed implant, such as smoking. If an implant needs to be removed you can start the process over again after a few months of recovery time. To increase the chances of a successful implant, it is important to practice good oral hygiene, avoid harmful behaviors, such as teeth grinding or chewing ice, and visit the dentist regularly.
You can learn more about Dental Implants here on our website.
Home Care Instructions for Dental Implants:
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