Dental implants are the most modern and effective way to replace lost teeth. Unfortunately, the American Academy of Implant Dentistry finds that "More than 35 million Americans are missing all their teeth in one or both jaws." This condition occurs mainly due to age, diseases, or accidents. Living without teeth or with fewer teeth than…
Before, During and After Your Dental Implant Procedure
The process for a dental implant procedure varies by patient. Every mouth is different, and the procedure depends on the type of implant you need. Also, some patients may have poor jawbone structure. When you account for these concerns, the process can take months.
A dental implant surgery replaces tooth roots with metal posts to which a dentist attaches an artificial tooth. This alternative to dentures provides strong support while reducing the hassle of dealing with dentures.
Phases of the dental implant procedure
Dental implants are surgically placed into your jawbone. The anchor fuses with the jawbone and will take some time to heal.
Before the surgery, patients undergo an evaluation. A dentist takes X-rays and creates models of the teeth and mouth.
A treatment plan is customized for each patient. Various specialists may be called in depending on the condition of the teeth or bone structure.
Patients will provide detailed medical information for a report that identifies conditions, such as heart problems, medications and other implants. Antibiotics may be prescribed before the surgery to prevent infection.
Depending on the type of anesthesia that is necessary, such as local, sedation or general, the dentist will specify rules about drinking and eating before the surgery.
It is crucial to make transportation plans before and after every procedure. Depending on the anesthesia and pain medications used, you may not be able to drive. Having a loved one to drive will also help boost your spirits after the procedure.
The procedure itself involves removing damaged teeth. Next, the jawbone is prepped for surgery. This may include bone grafting if your jaw is too weak to support the implant. Once the jawbone heals, the surgeon will install the dental implants into bone.
The next several months are set aside for healing.
Not everyone requires the next procedure as some opt to have it done at the same time as the first.
Once the jawbone has healed, the dentist secures an extension of the metal post, the abutment.
You will then take some more time to heal so that the gums can grow over the wound.
After several months of healing, the dentist can make molds of the teeth and jawbone. Once the lab creates the artificial teeth, you are good to go. The dentist simply attaches them to the abutment.
Several months can pass between prepping the jawbone and the final placement of teeth. During this time, you will have temporary dentures.
Following a dental implant procedure, you may experience swelling, bruising, pain and minor bleeding. If necessary, you can manage the discomfort with pain medications or antibiotics.
Between each stage and following the final placement of artificial teeth, your dentist will likely recommend soft food.
The best way to care for your dental work is to continue to care for your teeth by brushing, flossing and using mouthwash. Specially designed brushes can help clean your new teeth. Continue to see your dentist regularly and avoid ice, hard candy and tobacco products.
Ready for your dental implant?
The dental implant procedure may be lengthy, but the results are worth the process. Call our office if you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment.
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