What is a Dental Implant?
The dental implant procedure entails the replacement of the extracted tooth with a metal post into the jawbone. The metal post serves as an anchor to the false denture or crown. It is an alternative to bridges and dentures with a poor fit. Dental implant surgery is dependent on the implant and your jawbone condition. We will split the procedure into parts, and you will make several outpatient visits to our offices.
You are an ideal candidate for a dental implant procedure if you have missing teeth, have enough bone mass to secure the implant, can have a bone graft, are healthy, and have healthy oral tissues. As an ideal candidate, you should also be able to commit to the treatment for several months and avoid substance use like tobacco, which could derail the healing process.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
The benefits of dental implants far outweigh that of dental bridges, dentures, and other restorative treatments. A dental implant offers a durable replacement for missing teeth, and you can have them for up to 20 years with proper management. Maintenance is also easy as you will care for your implants just like natural teeth. Other benefits of dental implants include the preservation of speech and facial structure.
With good facial structure and speech, you will restore your smile and confidence. A dental implant also maintains your adjacent natural teeth. This is unlike dental bridges, which often damage them.
Preparation for a Dental Implant Procedure
Planning for a dental implant procedure comprises a series of visits to our offices for an in-depth examination of your oral health. Given the complexity of the procedure, a thorough evaluation is necessary. Our team will conduct a dental exam consisting of dental x-rays and extract models from your teeth and jaw. We will also review your medical history during the visits. If you have an underlying condition or are currently under prescription, reveal this to us to ensure a customized approach. Finally, based on the condition of your jawbone and remaining teeth, we will devise a feasible treatment plan to restore your smile.
Extraction of Decayed Teeth
The dental implant procedure is an outpatient service, and we will undertake it in stages with healing intervals. If you have a decayed tooth that is yet to be extracted, we will start by removing it to allow for dental implant placement. Depending on the situation after tooth extraction, we recommend waiting a month before placing the implant. Alternatively, we can install the implant on the same day.
If you have had a missing tooth for a while, your jawbone will require a graft due to bone resorption. A bone graft creates a base for the implant, increasing the success rate of the surgery. We will use different grafting materials, including natural and synthetic. Our team will discuss these options, and you can select what works for you. After bone grafting, you will wait a few months before returning for the dental implant placement.
Placement of Implant
Placement of the implant requires anesthesia for maximum comfort. We will cut through your gum to expose the bone. We will drill through the bone using special tools and screw the titanium post into place. Lastly, we will suture your gum tissue to cover the implant, preventing food and debris from lodging in the gum. After this procedure, you will wait about four or more months for the implant to attach to the bone through osseointegration.
Upon successfully integrating the implant, we will proceed to the abutment installation on your next visit. The abutment joins the implant crown to the implant. This installation requires minor surgery under local anesthesia. We will then close your gum around the abutment.
Sometimes, we may attach the abutment to the metal post in one surgery. Since the abutment sits above the gum line, it will be visible when you open your mouth and will stay so until you complete your procedure. Most patients dislike the appearance and prefer the abutment procedure in a different appointment. Allowing your gums a two week window to heal after placing the abutment is advisable before we place the artificial tooth.
Fitting the Dental Crown
Fitting the crown is the final appointment in the dental implant procedure. After your gums heal, we will make more impressions of your mouth and use them to make the crown. The crown is the artificial teeth that will resemble your natural teeth. You will have the option to select a removable or fixed dental crown or a combination of both.
Removable crowns function more or less like removable dentures. They contain artificial white teeth with pink plastic gums. We will mount this crown on the metal frame attached to your implant abutment and snap it into place. As the name suggests, you can remove this crown for daily cleaning or repair.
The fixed crown is permanently screwed on the implant abutment. Once installed, you cannot remove the tooth for cleaning. Unlike removable crowns, fixed crowns attach to individual dental implants. If bridged together, we can also attach more teeth to one implant.
Recovery after the Procedure
After your dental implant, you will likely experience swelling on your gums and face, pain at the implant site, and bleeding. We will prescribe medication to manage these symptoms. However, if the discomfort persists, reach out to us for assistance. You will also need to manage your diet to avoid opening the wound.
Schedule Your Dental Implant Procedure Today
Dental implants stand out as a tooth replacement remedy. This is despite the duration for completion. If you are considering a permanent tooth replacement, contact Classic Smiles at (407) 378-0139 and schedule your appointment.
Check out our Dental Implant FAQ for more information!