Dental implants are screw-like posts, usually made from titanium, that fuse to the jawbone. They help replace tooth roots and support artificial teeth and function just like natural teeth.
A dental implant procedure is an alternative to dentures or a dental bridge and is effective for replacing missing or damaged teeth. It is helpful to know what to expect during a dental implant procedure.
Dental implant surgery is ideal when a patient lacks natural teeth roots but wants to provide a solid foundation for new teeth. The condition of the jawbone will determine whether the patient is a good candidate for the procedure.
The process usually involves multiple procedures and can take several months from start to finish. This time allows the bone to heal securely around the implant, making the new tooth blend in seamlessly with the surrounding teeth.
Dental implant surgery is ideal for healthy adults who need teeth replacement. Growing children are not good candidates for the procedure because the jawbone is still developing.
People with chronic conditions like leukemia or diabetes are also not good candidates for dental implants as the patient’s health is a huge factor in the recovery process. If you are a smoker, you will need to quit before the procedure as it can interfere with healing.
Before the implant procedure, you will have an initial consultation. The dentist will conduct a comprehensive examination of your teeth, which will include taking X-rays and developing a custom surgery plan. The procedure takes place in the regular dental office.
If the dentist uses IV sedation, you will need to make transport arrangements for that day.
The condition of your teeth and jaw determines which techniques they use. The dentist will discuss whether you can get the implant and the crown on the same day. In most cases, the implant procedure requires multiple appointments.
In the first phase, the dentist places the implant in the mouth surgically. Local anesthesia helps numb the area, or you may get IV sedation. The dentist will cut the gum and insert the implant into the jawbone. After placing the implant, the dentist will close the gum to cover it.
After recovering at home for a few months, you will return for the second phase of the procedure. The recovery time allows the bone to grow and fuse with the implant, a process known as osseointegration. It will help ensure your implant remains firmly in place.
The dentist will examine your mouth to ensure that the implant is secure. A connecting piece known as an abutment is placed over the post. This is what will hold your new tooth. After the gums heal, they take impressions of the teeth to create the custom replacement teeth or crown.
Every patient recovers differently from the procedure. You may experience swelling, bruising, pain, or minor bleeding after the surgery. OTC (over-the-counter) pain medications can help relieve any pain. The dentist will give you instructions for recovery and long-term care of your implants.
For more on what to expect during a dental implant procedure, call Jonny Fisher DDS at (509) 383-8300 to reach our office in Pullman, Washington.