Every year, more and more patients are choosing dental implants as a final restoration option for missing or damaged teeth. Thanks to several advancements in dental technology, this popular teeth replacement procedure are more affordable than ever and are an exceptional solution in a variety of cases.
If you’ve ever been curious about fixing your existing smile with a permeant solution, this step-by-step process will help you decide if the procedure might the best fit for your treatment!
What Is A Dental Implant?
A dental implant is restorative tooth option involving two main components: the implant screw and the permanent crown. Inserted surgically into your jawbone, the dental implant screw fuses to your bone for a firm hold, while the dental crown screws in on top for a realistic, durable hold.
What Are The Benefits of Dental Implants?
Unlike less permanent dental solutions, the goal of the implant is to become a part of your existing smile, filling the gaps were missing teeth resided. Bridges and dentures only mask the gaps and spaces, while they function similar to your natural teeth.
How Do You Start The Process?
When you decide to explore the option of replacing an old implant or getting new implants, you’ll want to make an appointment with your dentist or another provider who specializes in the procedure. To start the process, your dentist will complete a comprehensive evaluation of your mouth, particularly the area where the implant is to be placed, to determine if the procedure will be successful. The provider will examine the health of the jawbone, surrounding teeth, and the gums. If the bone where the tooth is missing is not strong enough to hold an implant, a bone graft would most likely be needed to strengthen the area enough to sustain the procedure.
First Step – After the consultation appointment is completed, your dentist will install the dental screw surgically into your jaw bone where the replacement tooth is needed. If you required a bone graft, your dentist would require you wait for the bone to heal before the screw insertion. It will take between three to six months for the bone to fuse to the implant screw, in which time your dentist may provide a replacement tray (or other prosthetic option) to hide the space.
Second Step – Once the screw has fused to the bone, your dentist will insert the post. The post is a small metal nub that sticks up right above the gum line, serving as the anchor for the crown. For two weeks after the post is placed, your provider will secure a temporary crown to protect the implant and allow you to chew more normally during the healing process of the gums.
Final Step – Sometime during one of your appointments, your dentist will create a mold for the permanent replacement tooth based on the shape, size, and shade of your existing teeth. When the tooth is completed, you will return to the office to have the customized crown placed serving as the completion of the dental work.
Because this is considered a surgical procedure, your mouth will experience a healing process similar to other types of oral surgery. Recovery from a dental implant can take a few weeks, requiring lots of rest during this time. Common symptoms associated with the healing process include:
- Difficulty chewing food
- Phantom ‘loose’ implant ‘feelings
- Gum sensitivity
- Swelling at the site of surgery
- The appearance of receding gums at the location of the implant
- A rough or scratchy surface of the permanent crown
These symptoms should not be cause for alarm and typically subside a few weeks after the implant is placed.
Maintenance of Implant
Much like your natural teeth, you should avoid eating hard and sticky snacks. These types of foods not only cause cavities, but they can cause replacement crowns to crack and break. If you are experiencing severe pain and discomfort in the implant area at any time after the recovery process is completed, contact your dentist immediately to rule out the possibility of infection or other dental concern.
For more information or to start your journey with dental implants today, call your dentist to make a consultation appointment and to review your options for a beautiful, healthy smile!