Dental implants serve as a replacement for the roots of your missing tooth. Through a surgical procedure, metal screw-like posts made from biocompatible titanium alloy are implanted into the jawbone and later covered with a dental crown that acts as the replacement tooth. Implants look and feel natural and once you have them you do not need to worry about functions like speaking, chewing and smiling. It is hard for anyone to tell that you’ve lost a tooth when you have dental implants.
Implant surgery is considered a simple routine procedure performed on outpatient basis and under local anesthesia. At Mountain West Dental, implant surgery is performed in phases that allow for healing time in between. The length of treatment and approach used vary from patient to patient and this is why your dentist needs to come up with an individualized treatment plan before anything is done.
You will first have to go through a consultation process where your oral and general health history will be reviewed as well as the current state of your mouth. Your dentist will run a comprehensive dental exam where dental x-rays and 3D images may be taken to help explore the implant options you have as well as draft a suitable treatment plan.
Before scheduling your implant surgery, it will be determined if there is need for any prior treatment such as tooth extraction, cavity treatment or bone grafting. Thereafter you can be cleared to proceed and have the implants placed. You will be sedated during the procedure and thus you will experience less pain and discomfort. it is however common to experience post-implant surgery effects like swelling, tenderness and minor bleeding. You will be given some medications to manage these side-effects as well as to help keep off infections from the site of surgery.
With the implants placed, you will be given time to heal and allow the implants fuse with the jawbone. This can take between 6 and 12 weeks and in the first few weeks you will need to adjust your diet to soft foods until you heal. You will also be provided with a temporary tooth during this time.
Once it is determined that the implant has properly bonded with the jawbone. A small connector called an abutment is attached to the implant which will help hold the artificial teeth/tooth in place. Thereafter you will need to be coming in for periodic check-ups just as you normally would.
Anyone that has lost a tooth or needs to undergo an extraction can be considered for implants. It is however necessary to have healthy gums and adequate jaw bone for the treatment to be successful. You also need to commit to good oral habits like regular brushing and flossing as well as avoiding harmful behaviors like smoking.
In case your jawbone quality and quantity aren’t good enough, you may have to undergo a procedure known as bone grafting, prior to the implant surgery. During bone grafting, a small incision is made in the gum to give access to the bone beneath and then a bone graft is added. The graft material is usually a mass of processed bone minerals that the body will deposit new bone cells around to encourage more bone growth. The graft could be from you, an animal, a human donor or it could even be synthetic.
Dental implant procedures have a high success rate that goes up to 98%. The complexity and recovery period may vary depending on where in the jaw they are placed but generally they are a success. They can last a lifetime if you care for them right, which makes them a valuable investment compared to bridges and dentures.
Implants make eating easier compared to dentures and also improve your appearance. You can speak, chew and smile with confidence. Implants also help protect healthy teeth by ensuring chewing forces are distributed equally and no tooth is overworked. They also close the gap left behind by a lost tooth and this help prevent teeth from shifting.