Missing teeth can put your bite out of alignment, it can also change the structure of your face and might make you feel self-conscious about your look. If you decide to replace lost teeth, your dentist may advise you to use artificial teeth that are attached to the jawbone using a dental implant.

This article explains what a dental implant is and how to prepare for it. It also discusses what to expect throughout the surgery and afterward.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a small post, usually made of titanium, that serves as a substitute for the root of the tooth. A connector, known as an abutment, is placed on, or built into, the top of the dental implant, which connects it to the replacement tooth. This implant is inserted into the jawbone to give a sturdy structure that facilitates the stability of the tooth/implant, and the protection of natural chewing and biting. Dental implant surgery involves the replacement of the tooth’s root portion with metal, screw-like posts made of titanium, ceramic, or zirconium. As the artificial tooth looks and functions just like natural teeth, this sort of surgery is generally an excellent alternative to wearing dentures or having ill-fitting bridgework done.

Why should you get dental implants?

Dental implants are used to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or all teeth. Dental implants not only help to keep the beauty of your smile, but they also help to maintain the general structure of the mouth. They can assist in keeping the other teeth from shifting out of place in abnormal or painful ways.

Advantages

There are several advantages to considering a dental implant over alternative tooth replacement methods, like:

  • Dental implants can replace lost teeth without damaging or modifying the adjacent teeth. They blend into the bone structure
  • Implants are incredibly stable
  • They can easily resemble the look and feel of real teeth
  • The surgery is tried & tested safe procedure

Dental implant surgery procedure

Depending on the kind of implant , condition of your jawbone and clinical conditions , dental implant surgery can be conducted in  single stage which includes removal of  tooth and immediate implant placement and restoration or several stages, like:

Initial evaluation

The primary step will be an examination of your teeth, gums, and jawbone. A major element of this initial evaluation is assessing if you have enough healthy jawbone to keep the implant in place.

If your jawbone is too thin or fragile, a bone transplant or other operation may be recommended before proceeding with the dental implant procedure. Your gums must also be clear of periodontal disease. Dental implant surgery is often performed as an outpatient procedure. It can also be performed under local anesthetic, intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia. Your specialist will inform you ahead of time about the sort of anesthetic you will require.

During surgery

Dental implant surgery is often performed in phases, with the jawbone healing completely around the implant before advancing. The following is a typical procedure pattern:

  • Preparing the jawbone for surgery, which may need some bone grafting
  • Placing the implant in the gumline once the jawbone has healed
  • Allowing the jaw to heal again. The surgeon will next screw the abutment into the implant and put the artificial tooth on top, finishing the entire implant

This procedure might take few months to allow the implant to be integrated with bone thereby preparing for the restoration of implant with crown/bridge. The implant will not work until there is a solid jawbone in place around the implant; thus, it is critical to be patient during the healing process.

After surgery

After the dental implant surgery, some common after-effects include:

  • Facial and gum swelling
  • Bruising of the skin or gums
  • Experiencing pain at the location of your implant surgery
  • Minor bleeding

Poor oral hygiene due to decreased social interaction

If any of these symptoms develop after a few days, call your dentist or oral surgeon. It might point to implant problems that may require expert attention. Your dentist or oral surgeon may advise you to consume soft foods, apply cold packs to alleviate swelling and be patient while the surgical site heals.

While most dental implants are routine operations and the surgeries are successful, complications may happen if the following precautions are not taken:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day and clean between your teeth at least once a day with interdental brushes or water flossers
  • To keep your oral health in check, schedule frequent dental office visits and examinations
  • Avoid using tobacco products
  • Avoid unhealthy oral habits like biting on ice or sucking on hard candies

Potential risks & complications

There are always risks and possible consequences with any operation. It is critical to plan ahead of time to ensure that you are in good enough condition to have oral surgery and heal effectively. Bleeding problems, infections, allergies, pre-existing medical conditions, and medicines, like any other oral surgical operation, require careful consideration before treatment. Fortunately, the success rate of implants is quite high, with failures usually occurring in the rare scenario of infection, fracture of the dental implant, overloading of the dental implant, poor positioning of the dental implant, damage to the adjacent area, or insufficient bone quantity or quality.

Takeaway

Dental implants are used to maintain crowns, or artificial teeth, in place in the mouth. They appear natural and are designed to last for decades. Consult your dentist if you want to consider a dental implant. The duration of the process depends on the condition of your mouth and your overall health. Your dentist can tell you if you are a good candidate and can help you build a treatment plan that is best suited for you.

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