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Step-by-step Guide to Dental Implant Surgery
When it comes to replacing missing teeth, dental implant surgery is considered the right option. This surgery provides patients with the closest thing to their natural teeth in terms of looks and functionality. It is important for patients to understand what dental implants are and how they work.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are titanium posts that are fused to the jawbone with artificial teeth attached to the top of them. The posts act as tooth roots which stimulate bone growth and help to preserve the patient’s facial structure. Dental implants have become popular because they last from 25 years up to the life span of the patient and provide functionality to the teeth that devices like dentures or dental bridges do not.
Preparing for the procedure
Patients who want to undergo dental implant surgery have to get their mouths thoroughly examined by the dentist to determine if they are ideal candidates for the procedure. During the evaluation process, there will be a comprehensive dental exam, which includes getting 3D images and X-rays taken as well as models of the mouth and jaw. Then the dentist will review the patient’s medical history and tailor a treatment plan to the patient’s specific needs. The dentist will also discuss anesthesia options with the patient before proceeding with the surgery to determine which option is right for the patient. The patient will also be advised about eating and drinking before surgery and about having someone to drive them home after the procedure if heavy sedation will be used.
What to expect during the procedure
Dental implant surgery is performed in stages due to the fact that the jawbone and gum tissue have to heal before the artificial tooth is screwed to the top of the implant. The entire process takes months to finish, most of which is due to the time devoted to healing and the growth of new bone in the jaw. The steps involved in the procedure include:
- The removal of the damaged tooth
- Bone grafting (if needed)
- Placement of the dental implant
- Bone healing and growth
- The placement of the abutment
- The placement of the artificial tooth
When is bone grafting needed?
The dentist may determine that the patient will need a bone graft to hold the implant securely in place if the jawbone is soft or is not thick enough. The bone graft is necessary because the powerful chewing action of the mouth puts a lot of pressure on the bone. If it cannot support the implant, the surgery will fail.
What happens after the dental implant surgery?
After the procedure, the patient will likely feel some discomfort, which is typical anytime a patient undergoes dental surgery. The patient might experience swelling of the face and gums, pain, minor bleeding or bruising of the skin. Dentists usually provide their patients with prescription medication for the pain and tips on how to deal with the swelling and bleeding.
Dental implant surgery can improve the appearance and functionality of your teeth. If you are planning to undergo dental surgery, you now have a better idea of what to expect before and after the procedure. Contact your dentist to schedule a consultation.
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