Dental implant procedures are a tooth replacement treatment option for patients who have lost some or all of their natural teeth. These treatments can be costly, and the process is not always easy to go through, but it’s worth it in the end. I’ll break down what this invasive procedure entails, so you know what to expect if you’re contemplating getting one.
If you are considering dental implants to replace missing teeth, the most important thing for you is that there are many options available in terms of procedure. Choosing which one might be best for you can seem daunting at first, but by taking some time to research your options and speak with a dentist knowledgeable about implant dentistry, you’ll be able to make an educated decision.
If you’re looking for a detailed overview of dental implants, then continue reading this article.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a viable tooth replacement choice after loss or extraction. Permanent implants (artificial tooth roots) are surgically implanted into your jaw bone, resembling a screw in shape, and it fuses with the natural bone. They form a foundation to support the artificial teeth. They may be used to replace one or multiple teeth to give the patient a denture-free smile.
An abutment is placed between the implant screw and dental crown to join them. Abutments are also used for another type of procedure for artificial tooth placement, such as the crown of dental bridges, removable dentures, and partial dentures.
Types of Implants
An endosteal implant is the most common type of implant used today. These are made with titanium. Titanium is known to be biocompatible, meaning it does not harm living tissue. It can also fuse with the human bone upon insertion into the patient. The titanium post can be surgically inserted into either an upper or lower jawbone.
Subperiosteal implants are the less common type of implant, but they can be a more desirable option for patients with the insufficient jawbone. It is because the implant sits on top of the jawbone or under your gums rather than being surgically inserted into the jawbone.
You will need to meet with a dental surgeon at a consultation. They will examine your mouth and assess the condition of your teeth if you still have any remaining after removal. If the teeth are in poor shape, they might recommend dental implants because their condition is not compatible with other restorations like bridges and dentures. You’ll also find out how much it costs based on the type of material used.
Who Can Get Dental Implants?
For many people, dental implants are a viable and popular option for replacing missing teeth. However, not everyone is eligible to receive them. It would be best to have a good health status and high bone density levels that can withstand the dental implant process to be successful. If you have any pre-existing chronic illness or inflammatory conditions, it can negatively impact the healing process of dental implantation.
People with compromised immunity, such as those with autoimmune deficiencies or cancer, may need to review and discuss other alternative treatment options with their dentist.
Learn More: Who Can Get Dental Implants
How Long Does the Procedure Take?
The process of getting your implants typically takes about an hour, depending on how many implants need to be placed. Advanced dental imaging and surgical guides make it easy for oral surgeons to assess where implants should be placed with optimal success in mind.
What Happens During the Procedure
Implant dentistry must be carried out by doctors with specific experience or a team of experts. The surgical procedure can be done by either a dentist with sufficient advanced training or an oral surgeon.
Prior to any operation, your dentist will go through your medical history and conduct a thorough examination. It usually includes an x-ray of the area that is being treated, but other imaging may be necessary.
A computed tomography (CT) scan is usually used, which allows for accurate assessment of what’s happening in each part of your mouth, including examining for any tooth decay and gum disease before implant surgery takes place so any related problems can also be addressed beforehand.
If patients have low bone density or a damaged jawbone, they might first need a dental bone graft. It involves extracting some bone from the patient’s body and inserting it at their implant site, healing the tissue as quickly as possible. The bone is often taken from another part of the jaw but can come from other factors like the chin or hip.
A bone graft is a lengthy process, but it only improves dental implants by allowing the site to support the artificial root. However, this will cause an additional delay of anywhere from three months to one year.
Another challenge is when you need a tooth extraction. If you need to have a decayed or damaged tooth removed before the dental implant placement, it may take up to 2 months before the dental surgery occurs. However, it’s possible to remove and place the artificial tooth root on the same day in some rare cases.
Placing The Implant
Patients who are apprehensive about dental treatments request intravenous sedation, which numbs you completely and causes you to fall asleep during the dental procedure. Your dentist can advise whether this is appropriate based on your level of anxiety and the number and complexity of methods planned.
The procedure is a series of steps that need to be performed to make an incision into the gum and expose the bone. Next, the dentist drills a hole where the tooth implant will go, and then it is screwed into place.
The process of implant placement is complex and requires precision. Dentists must undergo specialist training to know precisely where and how to place the titanium screw correctly to last as long as possible.
Immediately following a gum implant, an oral surgeon will suture the flap of the gum tissue over the implant to create a seal that protects against food particles entering it while eating.
When implants are inserted, they fuse with the patient’s bone and stimulate bone growth. It is called osseointegration, and it can take four to six months for full integration. Implants use biocompatible materials, such as titanium to avoid complications since it is not harmful to the living tissues.
Installing The Abutment
Once osseointegration has been completed, the abutment is inserted. It is a post that protrudes from the gum line and connects the crown replacement to the implant.
An incision above the implant is made to attach the metal abutment. This procedure usually requires only local anesthesia and can be done as outpatient surgery. When the abutment is in place, the gum is closed but not covering it. Some patients can have the dental implant and abutment placement during a single oral surgery session, but they should take caution to allow sufficient healing time.
To avoid the awkwardness of metal stumps showing when your permanent teeth are missing, a dentist may provide you with a temporary tooth replacement solution like a temporary crown or temporary denture.
Two weeks post-surgery is the period where your gum tissue should be completely healed. This ends the surgery, and your replacement teeth will be made at this point.
Fitting The Crown
After your mouth has recovered from the tooth implant procedure, you’ll go back to see your dentist and have a new tooth made. They will take dental impressions to create a replica that can be fitted perfectly into place once it’s ready.
Matching the colour of your normal teeth with the implant crown is an integral part of achieving a natural-looking smile, but some people who want a more flashy appearance may choose to have bright metal teeth as well. For most people, however, what’s natural and undetectable looking is best for front tooth implants.
Your body will need time to recuperate after each stage of the process. It is common to feel uncomfortable or experience slight pain during recovery time, including:
- Swelling of face and gums
- Bruises on the outside of your skin or inside your mouth
- Minor bleeding
- Inflammation and pain on the implant site
If your symptoms worsen after treatment, contact your local dental specialist as you may need antibiotics or stronger over-the-counter pain relievers.
After dental implants are installed, dentists usually advise that you avoid tough or sticky foods for a few days after each surgery to provide time for your implants to settle. Thus, you may eat soft food like yogurt, pudding, ice cream, applesauce, mashed potatoes, soup, and smoothies in the meantime. Moreover, you are required to visit your dentist more often so they can check on the progress of your implants.
Once your healing period is over, you’ll be able to eat the same as anyone who has natural teeth. Implants are just as durable as real teeth.
Since dental implants are permanently placed in your mouth, you must continue taking care of the surrounding gum tissue and teeth properly for the rest of your life. Your oral hygiene should be an ongoing priority to prevent other diseases or tooth loss from occurring in the future. It means continuing regular checkups, cleanings, and fluoride treatments to maintain optimal oral health for many years into the future. Maintaining your dental health could mean avoiding other infections like gingivitis or periodontal disease by brushing twice daily and flossing daily, and seeing our office regularly for professional cleanings and exams at least twice a year.
Recovery Time For Dental Implants Procedure
Dental implant surgery is a long process. It takes as short as four to six months or as long as 12 months to recover from dental implant surgery. It depends on any pre-existing conditions or additional treatments done before the surgery, like bone grafting.
If you’re considering a dental implant procedure, there are some essential things to know and considerations to make. The information we provided as an overview of what the process is like from start to finish can help guide you through your decision-making process so that when it’s time for dental treatment, you’ll have all the facts at hand.
Whether this means exploring alternative options or preparing for surgery, we want to be here with answers when you need us most! Our team looks forward to hearing from you about how we can work together to improve your oral health and brighten up your smile today. To learn more about the process during an implant procedure, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at 03 7034 0333 today.