Do you have missing teeth that you want to permanently replace with a dental implant? If so, you may be wondering what the process involves so you can be prepared with realistic expectations. The process can be broken down into the exam, pre-surgery preparation, surgical procedures, and recovery.
You start by visiting your dentist for an exam to determine if you would be a good candidate for dental implants. They will be looking for healthy gums that have no signs of gum disease or other problems. For example, if the dentist discovers a dental abscess, they will schedule to have it removed before moving forward with dental implants.
The dentist will also perform a blood test to discover health issues that can affect your dental implant. This includes screening for diabetes and hypertension. While this will not prevent you from getting dental implants, these problems will affect the recovery process later on and how your dentist monitors your health.
Finally, expect to have x-rays taken to look at the strength of the jaw bone. If the jaw bone looks weak, a bone graft may be recommended to move forward with the implant procedure.
Dental implants may require two or three surgical procedures, depending on your oral health. Even if you don’t need preliminary surgery, you will need to help get your body ready before having any procedures done.
You will have to learn how to control your blood sugar levels if you are diabetic, give up smoking if you are a smoker, and improve your oral hygiene routine to clear up issues with gum disease. These will all help your body heal faster from the surgical procedures.
The Surgical Procedures
Your dentist will move forward with the first set of procedures if your oral health looks good, which includes placing a bone graft onto your jaw and treating any infections. You can move forward with having the titanium post inserted into your jawbone once your body had healed.
Osseointegration will then need to happen, which is when the titanium post forms a solid bond with the jawbone by fusing with it. You will receive a temporary crown for the post while your body is healing for several months.
You will then come back one more time to make sure the jawbone has not rejected the implant. If the dentist feels that the implant and your jaw have fully healed, they will place the final crown on the implant to finish the dental implant procedure.
Post-surgery care is just as important as the procedure itself. Be prepared for your jaw to be swollen after the implant is inserted, which will require plenty of rest, cold compresses, and elevating your head upright. Avoid putting pressure on the implant by eating a diet of soft foods.
Have gauze on hand to deal with the bleeding that can happen after your surgery. It will help to use a salt water rinse to gently clean out the surgical area as well. Stay on top of brushing your teeth twice a day while using a soft-bristle toothbrush that is not too harsh on the surgical site. You should also refrain from any physical activities, such as exercise, until your dentist says it is okay.
The placement of dental implants is considered a major procedure that takes time to recover from. Exercise and other strenuous activity can cause bleeding, while hypertension or habits like smoking can affect healing time. Proper preparation and after-care are essential for successful implantation.
Thankfully, Beck Pearce Dental can help guide you through the entire dental implant procedure. You can turn to us with any questions you have along the way.