You are not alone if you require clarification on the dental implant treatment. Most people are startled to hear that there are a few steps involved in replacing a missing tooth or teeth with an implant. Dental implants are a common option for replacing lost teeth. They are designed to have the appearance and feel of real teeth and can last for a long period of time.
This article will guide you through the entire surgical process, from preparation to recovery. So, if you’re thinking about getting dental implants or simply want to learn more about the operation, this guide is for you.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant operation is an outpatient surgery. The implant, comprised of titanium and other elements, slips into your jawbone and functions as a tooth root. It enables the dentist to create strong replacement teeth that match seamlessly with the rest of your teeth.
If you have lost or broken teeth, implants can improve the appearance and strength of your mouth. Furthermore, dental implants protect your jawbone since they stimulate bone growth. Thus, it outperforms alternative treatments such as dentures or crowns.
To have dental implants, you’ll need to schedule a few appointments. These usually involve a consultation, a visit to install the implant, and another to fit the new teeth.
Why Do You Need a Dental Implant Procedure?
A dental implant is used to replace one or more natural teeth that have been lost due to an accident, gum disease, poor tooth, or infection. At your first appointment with your dentist, they may explore alternative treatments to replace missing teeth, such as dentures or bridges.
The dentist will determine whether there is enough room and hard bone where the tooth is missing to perform the surgery. If you’ve been missing a tooth for an extended period of time, the bone may have weakened. This means you’ll need a bone graft to add bone before obtaining dental implants.
The Steps Of The Dental Implant Procedure
Getting dental implants is a multi-step process that takes several visits to the dentist and may involve some surgery. It’s increasingly popular because these artificial teeth look and perform like real teeth. Unlike dentures, which might shift and cause discomfort, implants are firmly fixed into the jawbone, providing a more comfortable option.
Here are the steps in the dental implant process:
The dentist will interview you on your first visit and inquire about your medical history and oral health. They’ll check your mouth and use X-rays, 3D scans, and photos to confirm whether you’re a suitable implant candidate. A major part of these considerations is whether your gums are healthy and if you have enough dense bone to support an implant.
If a tooth needs to be removed due to severe damage or a lack of space for an implant, this is done using local anesthesia, and a healing period follows before the implant can be positioned.
Suppose you lack enough bone density to support the implant. In that case, a separate procedure may be required to add natural or artificial bone to your jaw, creating a solid foundation for the implant. After a healing period, which can take several months, you’re now set for the implant surgery.
During the implant surgery, a tiny titanium post is positioned into your jawbone to act as the root for your new artificial tooth. The surgical site will need some time to heal afterward.
An abutment, a connector piece, is attached to the titanium post. This can be done as a quick, outpatient procedure.
Placement of Prosthetic Teeth
Lastly, after about a two-week rest period, an artificial tooth that looks natural (a dental prosthesis) is attached to the abutment. The prosthesis, a crown, bridge, or denture, is designed to resemble your natural teeth and is made from porcelain or ceramic.
Though the process might take a while, once completed, you’ll be left with artificial teeth that look natural and are fully functional.
How Long Does It Take for the Whole Process?
Getting a dental implant typically takes 3 to 6 months. This includes consulting with the dentist, inserting the implant, and placing the crown on top. If you recover quickly, it may take less time. Sometimes your dentist will need to extract a tooth before proceeding, and you must wait at least three months for it to heal completely.
If a bone graft is required, you must allow around 6 months for recovery. When the location is ready, the implant can be placed. The crown cannot be attached to the implant till at least 3 to 6 months have passed. Healing is the most time-consuming aspect of the dental implant procedure. Resting and eating correctly will help your body recover faster.
Dangers of Dental Implants:
While dental implants are largely safe and successfully improve many people’s smiles, they can carry some risks, like any surgery. Here are some possible dangers:
After getting an implant, it’s crucial to keep it clean. Your dentist will show you how. This is to avoid infections, which can cause pain and other problems.
Incomplete fusion with bone:
The implant has to stick to your bone to work. You might need another one after the area heals if it doesn’t.
An implant too close to a nerve could affect parts of your mouth. For instance, if it harms a blood vessel, that area may hurt or feel numb forever.
Implants act like new teeth but can break if you put too much stress on them. If that happens, you must wait a few months for another one.
When to talk with a dentist
Missing or damaged teeth, often due to injury or infection, can cause concern, especially if the gap alters your appearance. Over time, your remaining teeth may move to fill the gap, which could change the shape of your jaw or face and affect your bite. If you’re dealing with missing teeth, discuss the best options for filling these gaps with your dentist or an oral surgeon.
Get Your Dental Implant at OMSI in Los Angeles, CA.
At the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Institute in Los Angeles, CA, we prioritize addressing all your questions and alleviating any concerns you may have. This comprehensive guide is designed to keep you well-informed about the procedure.
If you’re feeling a bit apprehensive about the surgery, no worries – you can conveniently schedule an appointment online or just give us a call at (213) 999-7590. We look forward to welcoming you to the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Institute in Los Angeles, CA!