Your Guide to Dental Implant Surgery

If you are missing a single tooth or even multiple teeth but have decided that bridgework or dentures just aren’t the right choice for you, dental implant surgery may be something for you to consider, as it is a long-lasting alternative that has the ability to significantly improve the functionality and appearance of your smile while also increasing the overall quality of your day-to-day life. Consider just how much you chew and speak each day—wouldn’t it truly be nice to have a solution that is as durable and functions as well as a real, natural tooth?

Many individuals are stand-offish when it comes to dental implant surgery due to the fact that they believe it’s a complex and painful operation. However, the exact opposite is true. In fact, it’s a pretty straightforward operation with numerous benefits. When it comes to real teeth, dental implants are as close as you are going to get; they don’t move around and they don’t cause bone damage the way that dentures or dental bridges may.

If you’ve been thinking about dental implant surgery to replace your damaged or lost teeth, the below information will help inform you on what you can expect throughout the process and determine if the dental implant procedure is appropriate for you.

Pre-Surgery

Candidates for dental implants generally having missing or damaged teeth as a result of previous periodontal disease or injury, but otherwise, they have good oral health. When you visit the dental office for the surgical procedure, you will undergo X-rays for a full assessment of your bite, the location of the damaged/missing teeth, as well as the location in the jawbone for the placement of the dental implant. The dentist will likely make models of your teeth as well.

Surgery

In most circumstances that involve dental surgery, the first concern of patients is the amount of pain that will be experienced. There are multiple options that can be discussed with the dental professional to make sure that you experienced a pain-free and comfortable operation, which includes oral sedation and anesthesia.

If you’re replacing damaged teeth, the dentist will need to extract them first and foremost. In some cases, a bone graft may be needed in the jaw to ensure that the implant can be infused into the jaw. In the event it is necessary, this is a routine procedure. The procedure consists of adding graft material to the location where the tooth is missing to serve as an anchor for the implant that will be placed. Generally, the bone graft procedure can be performed at the same dental visit as the dental implant surgery, but if the jawbone requires additional support, the graft may need to heal prior to moving forward.

So that the dental implant can be placed, the dental professional will expose the jawbone by cutting the gum. You won’t feel anything because you will be under sedation or anesthesia. A hole will then be drilled in the jawbone so that the metal implant can be placed, then the incision will be closed. The implant serves as the root for the artificial tooth. Once it’s in place, it will be several months before the implant is actually placed. During this time, a process called osseointegration occurs, which is when the jawbone and dental implant fuse together, creating a solid foundation for the artificial tooth, or dental crown. For appearances, you will have a temporary denture.

After the fusing has taken place, you will be given local anesthesia so that the abutment can be attachment. The abutment is the piece that connects the prosthetic tooth to the dental implant. In some cases, you may need a healing cap for a few weeks to help with the healing of your gums prior to the placement of the abutment, but each person is different. Then, the temporary crown will remain in place for four to six weeks, while your permanent crown is formed in the lab.

Post-Surgery and Implant Care

After the surgical procedure, you may experience some minor pain and discomfort and bleeding for a short period of time. Swelling and bruising of the gums and face is relatively rare, and most patients say that these symptoms are more than tolerable. Patients tend to report that the suture tickling their tongue is the worst part of post-surgery. For the two to three weeks following the surgery, you will need to follow a soft food diet. You will likely be prescribed antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, and/or pain relievers.

You should take care of the dental implants the same at you would your natural teeth; simply brush twice a day and floss at least once a day. Don’t chew on ice, avoid eating hard and chewy candy, and avoid using tobacco products. Remember that certain beverages and food will stain your implants. With adequate care, your implants can last at least 10 years—possibly even the rest of your life. Make sure that you maintain bi-annual dental visits to ensure your implants are up to par and prevent any dental issues.

If you are thinking about dental implant surgery, contact us at Fountain of Youth Dental to schedule a consultation.

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