For individuals with one or more missing teeth or damaged or diseased teeth that must be removed for health and aesthetic appeal, dental implants are a revolution in modern dentistry. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root surgically positioned beneath the gumline to secure a tooth or bridge in place. Because these implants fuse to the jawbone, they offer a permanent replacement for missing teeth that feels natural and often gives the individual a more attractive smile.
The first step in getting an implant is to visit a dentist. The dentist evaluates the mouth and determines if the individual has enough bone in the jaw to allow the implant to be placed. There are also some medical conditions and lifestyle choices that may make an individual a poor candidate for dental implants.
If a tooth needs to be extracted, this is the first step in the implant process. Most patients receive general anesthesia or IV sedation to help control any discomfort during this step. The tooth is removed, and then the gums must be given appropriate time to heal before the implant can be placed. The healing time varies from individual to individual, and dental x-rays are often used to determine that the area has healed.
When individuals do not have sufficient bone in the area where an implant is to be placed, a common procedure called bone grafting is often used to build the area up. With bone grafting, bone or bone-like material is added to the jawline in order to build it up and prepare it for the placement of the implant. When bone grafting is necessary, it is typical for individuals to need six to eight months healing time before the implant can be placed.
After bone augmentation, most patients are prescribed an antibiotic to assist with the healing process and prevent any infection caused by introducing a foreign substance to the jawline. For the first few days, individuals are often advised to consume a softer diet and use over the counter or prescribed pain relief as necessary. Later, a normal diet is fine, but it is important to avoid chewing with the area where the tooth is missing.
First Step in Dental Implant Procedure
Once the dental surgeon determines the jawline is ready for the implant to be placed, the two-step process begins. This step is usually accomplished with the use of local anesthesia or IV sedation, depending on the individual needs and comfort level of the patient. Placing the implant begins with a small incision being made in the gum to expose the bone below. A drill is then used to place a small hole with precision in the bone, and a titanium post is placed in the hole. Finally, the area is stitched, and the surgeon will take a digital x-ray to determine the implant was placed correctly. This part of the procedure typically takes less than an hour, but more time may be required for multiple implants or unique situations.
Following this step, most stitches will dissolve in about a week. Any remaining stitches are then removed at a follow-up visit, about seven to ten days later.
Second Step in Dental Implant Procedure
The second step in the implant procedure takes place several months later, after the implant has bonded to the bone. With local anesthesia to control any discomfort, the surgeon will make a small incision in the gum and expose the implant. A protective screw is removed from the implant, and it is replaced by a cap that sits above the gumline. Then, another healing stage takes place.
Approximately two to three weeks later, the permanent crown is placed by the dentist creating a natural looking, permanent tooth replacement.
There are several different types of dental implants, each helping individuals to restore proper functioning and aesthetic quality to the mouth when teeth are missing.
- Single Dental Implant – Placing one artificial tooth when a single tooth is missing from the mouth.
- Dental Implant Bridge – Used when multiple teeth are missing. This method also uses surrounding teeth to keep the permanent bridge in place.
- All-on-Four – Implant supported fixed dentures. Appropriate for individuals who need a full arc of teeth.
- Denture Stabilization – Implants are placed to help anchor removable dentures in the mouth. Prevents dentures from slipping and helps individuals to do away with irritation caused by rubbing.
Dental implants offer a more comfortable, attractive and practical solution for individuals who are missing teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do people choose dental implants instead of dentures?
Dental implants are the most natural looking choice for missing teeth. They are permanently adhered in the mouth and do not slip or come loose when talking, eating or drinking. Dental implants are also a cost effective choice because, when properly cared for, they last for years and can even offer a permanent replacement for missing teeth.
How long will it take for my dental implant to be placed?
The amount of time it takes to place a dental implant varies from patient to patient. For some patients, the process is very quick, and the implant is placed almost immediately. For other patients, bone grafting and jaw surgery are needed. This can cause the entire process to take up to six months. Oso Marguerite Dental can best determine the length of time your procedure will take after a thorough evaluation.
How should I care for my dental implant?
Dental implants are cared for in the same what that you care for your natural teeth. It is important to brush your implant twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss regularly. Also, continue to schedule six month wellness appointments with Oso Marguerite Dental to monitor your implant and the overall health of your mouth, teeth, and gums.
How can I find out if I am a good candidate for a dental implant?
Most individuals who are missing one or more teeth are good candidates for dental implants. To discuss your specific circumstances and schedule an evaluation, simply call Oso Marguerite Dental and request an appointment.