When a dentist recommends a dental implant procedure, patients often wonder what the procedure involves and how long the process is. Implants can be an option for people who have lost one or many teeth and are looking for a replacement option other than removable dentures. The goal of the procedure is to leave the…
Dental Implant Surgery: Everything You Should Know
When it comes to replacing missing teeth, dental implant surgery is considered the best option because it provides patients with the closest thing to their natural teeth in terms of looks and functionality.
What happens during dental implant surgery?
Before we get to the surgery itself, it is important to understand what dental implants are and how they work.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are titanium posts that are fused to the jawbone with artificial teeth attached to the top of them. The posts act as tooth roots which stimulate bone growth and help to preserve the patient’s facial structure. They have become popular because they last from 25 years up to the lifespan of the patient and provide functionality to the teeth that devices like dentures or dental bridges do not.
Preparing for the procedure
Patients who want to undergo dental implants surgery have to get their mouths thoroughly examined by their dentist to determine if they are ideal candidates for the procedure. Things to expect during the evaluation process include:
- A comprehensive dental exam which includes getting 3D images and X-rays taken as well as models of the mouth and jaw
- A review of the patient’s medical history
- A treatment plan that is tailored to the patient’s specific needs
The dentist will also discuss anesthesia options with the patient before proceeding with the surgery to determine which option is best for them. The patient will also be advised about eating and drinking before surgery and about having someone to drive them home after the procedure if heavy sedation will be used.
What to expect during the procedure
Dental implant surgery is performed in stages due to the fact that the jawbone and gum tissue have to heal before the artificial tooth is screwed to the top of the implant. The steps involved in the procedure include:
- The removal of the damaged tooth
- Bone grafting (if needed)
- Placement of the dental implant
- Bone healing and growth
- The placement of the abutment
- The placement of the artificial tooth
The entire process takes months to finish, most of which is due to the time devoted to healing and the growth of new bone in the jaw.
When is bone grafting needed?
The dentist may determine that the patient will need a bone graft to hold the implant securely in place if the jawbone is soft or not thick enough. The bone graft is necessary because the powerful chewing action of the mouth puts a lot of pressure on the bone and if it cannot support the implant, the surgery will fail.
What happens after the procedure?
After the procedure, the patient will likely feel some discomfort, which is typical anytime a patient undergoes dental surgery. Some of the discomfort associated with dental implant surgery include:
- Swelling of the face and gums
- Minor bleeding
- Bruising of the skin
Dentists usually provide their patients with prescription medication for the pain and tips on how to deal with the swelling and bleeding.
Dental implant surgery can improve the appearance and functionality of your teeth, improving your appearance and self-confidence in the process. If you are planning to undergo dental surgery, you now have a better idea of what to expect before and after the procedure.
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