If you have lost teeth because of an injury, disease, or extraction procedure, then you should speak with your dentist about implant surgery. At Dental Town DC, many of our patients are interested in implants because they want the appearance and functionality of a healthy jaw, but are either unwilling or unable to wear dentures. We’ve compiled a list of helpful information about dental implants and the accompanying procedures below. Please reach out to us if you would like to learn more!
What Is a Dental Implant?
Realistic Artificial Teeth
Dental implants are artificial structures that hold replacement teeth or bridges in place. Installed by experienced periodontists, dental implants are a great choice for people who have good oral health and have lost one or more teeth. Dental implants are actually more effective at saving teeth than traditional dental bridges, as implants do not rely on the surrounding teeth for extra support.
Implants are highly durable and will last for years with proper care. Just like routine maintenance with your real teeth, you will need to brush, floss, and come in for regularly scheduled appointments for your dental implants. Although there are a number of ways to address missing teeth, dental implants have been proven to be more effective and durable than implants.
Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implant Surgery?
You may be a candidate for dental implant surgery if:
- You have at least one missing tooth in your mouth.
- You have a fully developed jawbone.
- Your jaw bone is strong enough to support the implant and/or recover from dental bone grafting surgery.
- Your overall oral health is good.
- You do not have any underlying conditions that could compromise your body’s ability to heal.
- You can commit to anywhere between three and nine months of treatment.
Are Dental Implants Associated With Any Risks?
Dental implants are a safe and effective treatment when the procedure is performed by a careful and experienced professional. However, like all surgeries, there are some risks:
- Infection at the surgery site.
- Damage to the surrounding tissue and/or structures.
- Sinus cavity problems.
- Nerve damage in the surrounding areas.
How Can I Prepare for a Dental Implant Procedure?
You’ll start with a full dental exam, including impressions of your jaw and X-rays of your mouth. Your provider will then develop a course of treatment based on the health of your mouth and how many teeth need to be replaced. You will be asked to disclose any medical conditions and medications that could affect your ability to heal. Prophylactic antibiotics may be recommended in some cases.
What Should I Expect During the Placement Stage?
Your surgeon will begin by removing any damaged teeth that are compromising your oral health. Next, they will work to ensure that your jaw is strong enough for the implant to be installed. If your jaw has lost bone mass, your surgeon will begin by grafting bone from another area. They will then drill holes into the jaw to ensure that the implants can be installed at a later date (your surgeon will install a temporary crown until the implants are inserted). This process can take several months to complete, as it’s crucial that your jawbone heals correctly before and after the implant has been installed.
What Should I Expect After the Abutment Has Been Placed?
You will need to undergo another procedure once your jawbone has healed around the implant. This time, your oral surgeon will be opening your gums and attaching an extension known as an abutment. The expected healing period for this procedure is roughly two weeks. In some cases, the abutment will be attached during the initial surgery to save time.
What Should I Expect When the Crown Is Placed?
Another set of impressions will be taking during this appointment. You and your provider will discuss whether a removable or fixed implant will be right for your circumstances. Removable implant prostheses are somewhat similar to dentures, as they can be inserted and removed from the mouth as needed. A removable implant prosthesis may be recommended in cases when more than one tooth is missing from the lower jaw. On the other hand, a fixed implant prosthesis is essentially a permanent artificial tooth that is held in place by dental cement or a small screw.
Recovering From Dental Implant Surgery
At Dental Town DC, we recommend that our patients eat soft meals and snacks until the site heals. You may experience swelling, bruising, pain in the surgical area, and some bleeding in the days following the procedure. Discomfort can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain relief products.
Most of our patients are thoroughly happy with their new dental implants. However, some patients do experience complications if the bone and the implant do not correctly heal. Smoking during the recovery period is the most common cause of this complication.
You should plan to take care of your new dental implants just as you care for your regular teeth. A thorough oral hygiene routine, bi-annual checkups and cleanings, avoiding hard foods, and abstaining from tobacco products and caffeine can all help you maintain a like-new appearance.
Dental implants can help you regain a confident and fully functional smile. If you would like to learn more about this fantastic procedure, then get in touch with a member of Dental Town DC today! We look forward to speaking with you soon.