Dental implants are one of the most popular methods of replacing missing teeth. These artificial tooth roots are screwed into the jawbone and rely on a three-part system to work properly: 1) an implant screw that is surgically implanted into the bone, 2) a metal post that attaches to the implant, 3) and a crown or denture attachment which screws onto this post.
Dental implant surgery includes several steps, including a surgical procedure and the replacement of damaged or missing teeth.
The implant is placed below the jawbone to form new anchor points for chewing – The bone must completely heal around the implant. Because of this bone healing time, dental implants take a few months to fully heal.
One of the major benefits of implants is their increased stability over other methods. Dental implants can’t decay like your own teeth that support regular bridgework, giving them a significant advantage. They are tightly fixed in place and cannot be dislodged like dentures that can easily fall out. Additionally, dental implants prevent bone loss which is common with missing teeth.
Do you have at least one tooth or many teeth missing?
Dental implants are a good option assuming the following is true for you:
- Dental implants are best for people with healthy oral tissues.
- You’ve reached full adulthood because we don’t want to place an implant in a growing jawbone.
- You have the bone density to install an artificial tooth.
- Consider yourself healthy enough to have surgery.
- Do not want to wear dentures.
- Would like to have an easier time speaking.
- Want to boost your self-confidence.
- Willing to commit to the process, which can take several months.
- Are not using tobacco products.
An insufficiently thick jawbone or low bone density may require a bone graft before undergoing dental implant surgery.
If you have any questions, you will want to consult your dentist.
While rare, dental implant surgery can pose some health risks. Infection at the implant site is a potential complication and may require additional treatments such as antibiotics or further procedures to clear up the infection. Injury or damage to surrounding structures such as teeth, blood vessels, nerves, sinuses are also risks of dental implants.
Dental implants are replacements for your tooth and require one or more surgical procedures. You will need a thorough evaluation for dental implant surgery, including:
A comprehensive dental exam may include regular X-rays and 3D models of your teeth, jaw, and mouth.
A thorough review of your dental and medical history. Your dentist needs to know if you have a medical condition or take prescription drugs, as they could affect what’s best for your treatment. Certain heart conditions, diseased hearts, or recent surgical implants require antibiotics before surgery to prevent infection.
A treatment plan. The dental implant surgery is tailored to your situation and takes into account factors such as how many teeth you need to be replaced, the condition of your jawbone, and the remaining teeth.
Anesthesia options often include sedation, local, and general anesthetic. Consult with your dentist to determine which option is the best for you. Your dental care team will instruct you about eating and drinking before surgery, depending on the type of anesthesia that is administered. Depending on your anesthetic which the dentist will use, you may need to have someone drive you home from the surgery.
After dental implant surgery, you may require pain medication or antibiotics.
To recover from the procedure, your surgeon may have you eat soft foods after each stage of the surgery. Stitches are typically used that will dissolve when they’re no longer needed and are removed by the dentist.
Following the implant procedure and the full healing of the jawbone, an abutment with a dental crown will be placed over the implant. Your implant will function and look just like normal, healthy teeth at this stage.
Dental implants help people to regain lost confidence and generally improve the quality of life for those who get them. While they can be expensive for some, the investment is almost always worth it.