Did you know that every year, over 3 million dental implants are placed in the United States?
If you’ve decided to get a dental implant, you’ve made a wise decision. It’s an investment in your oral and general health and can give your self-esteem a huge boost. But it’s natural to have some questions about what the dental implant procedure entails.
Join us as we walk you through the process and put all your concerns to rest.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant creates a structure either in your bone or over it that replaces the root of a tooth.
Endosteal implants are the most common type of dental implant. That’s what we’re going to talk about in this article. An endosteal implant is a small, titanium screw that is surgically placed in your jawbone.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
If you have a severely damaged tooth that needs removing, a dental implant may be right for you. You may also have lost a tooth or several teeth at an earlier date. If you have sufficient jawbone to place the implant and are in good general and oral health, you may be a good candidate.
If you lost your tooth some time ago, the body may have reabsorbed the jawbone beneath your tooth. In this case, you will need a bone graft first. This will strengthen your jawbone and create a strong foundation for the implant.
What Is the Dental Implant Procedure?
The dental implant procedure begins with a thorough examination.
Your dentist will take x-rays and scans to get a clear picture of your teeth and jaw. He or she will determine whether there is sufficient bone to place the implant or whether a bone graft will be needed.
Next, your dentist will ask you questions about your medical history and your current state of health. Come prepared to discuss all medications you are currently taking. That includes any over-the-counter drugs or supplements that you use.
Your dentist may need to prescribe antibiotics before the procedure to place the dental implant can be performed.
Your dentist will then discuss the plan for surgery. Talk about anesthesia options and don’t be shy to express your preferences. The dental team will provide information on how to prepare for surgery, including whether or not to eat or drink beforehand.
Bone Graft Procedure
Bone is an amazing natural material. It has the ability to regenerate under the right circumstances.
In a bone graft procedure, bone is taken from either another part of the body. Using synthetic bone is another option.
Under anesthetic, your dentist will lift the gum and place the graft in the right area. The gum is then stitched in place and the graft is given time to fuse with the natural bone.
This procedure takes about 30 minutes to an hour. It might not sound very nice, but it’s very common.
As the graft heals, it forms a strong bond with the existing bone. In time, the body will replace the graft with new bone material. In a few months, the graft will be strong enough for the dental implant procedure.
Dental Implant Procedure
In most cases, dental implants are placed in a few stages. Occasionally, same-day treatments are available, but this is rare.
The first stage is to prepare the jawbone. This may involve removing a damaged tooth or a bone graft, as described above. Once this has healed, you are ready to have the implant placed in the jawbone.
After you have been given an anesthetic and possibly sedation, your dentist will make a small cut in your gum. He or she will drill holes into the exposed bone where the dental implant will be placed. They will then place the titanium screw deep in the bone.
The bone around the implant now needs time to heal. It goes through a process called osseointegration. The implant becomes fused with the bone, creating a super-strong new root for the tooth.
This process may take several months. In the meantime, you’ll have a gap where the implant was placed. Your dentist may provide you with a temporary denture to cover the gap.
Fitting the Abutment
When the implant and jawbone have fused, you will need to return to the dentist’s office to have the abutment fitted. The abutment is a small post that the final false tooth attaches to.
The dentist will open the gum again to attach the abutment. The abutment stands proud of the gumline. For the next two weeks, the gum will heal around it.
Some dentists may also attach the abutment during the initial dental implant procedure. In these cases, this step is not needed.
Fitting the Artificial Tooth
Once your gum has healed around the abutment, you will be ready for your new artificial tooth. You can choose from a range of natural-looking materials, including porcelain and zirconia.
The Advantages of Dental Implants
The dental implant procedure takes several months, but the results are worth waiting for.
You will have a strong new tooth – or teeth – that can stand up to daily life. You’ll be able to eat your favorite foods with confidence. With good care, they can last a lifetime.
They also give your smile a very natural appearance. Because they are placed in exactly the same position as natural teeth, it is very hard to tell them apart. You’ll have the confidence to smile in photos once again!
Ready for Your Dental Implant Procedure?
The dental implant procedure may seem a little daunting at first, but it’s really nothing to worry about. It’s completed in stages, with plenty of healing time in between. The end result is a permanent, solid new tooth that will last for life!
At Newbury Dental Group in Thousand Oaks, CA, we’re proud to bring you the latest dental implant procedures. We provide a personalized, affordable service to all our patients.
Call us today at 805.519.8285 or schedule an appointment online!