Dental implant surgery provides the most natural tooth replacement option for your missing teeth. The procedure inserts metal roots into your jawbone to replace your natural roots. Your artificial teeth are then affixed to screw-like posts. The result is teeth that not only look real but also function the same as your natural teeth.
This is the best tooth-replacement option and can also be used as an alternative to dentures and bridgework. This is a permanent solution that will offer improved dental health once your surgery and recovery are complete. Here is everything you need to know about dental implant surgery.
How do dental implants work?
Dental implants use titanium posts that can fuse with your jawbone following surgery. Because of this natural integration, your artificial teeth become more secure as your implants will function exactly like your natural roots. With the implants, you won’t experience any common issues related to other tooth replacements such as bone loss, slipping and poor fit and bite. Instead, you will have lifelong tooth replacements that will not decay like your natural teeth.
Who can have dental implants?
Dental implants are suited for you if:
- You have any missing teeth.
- Your jawbone has reached full growth.
- Your bone will provide a secure fit with implants.
- Your oral tissue is healthy.
- You don’t suffer from health issues that will interfere with your bone healing.
If you are tired of dentures and are ready to commit to the procedure, which takes several months to complete, we can discuss the possibility of dental implants. Some people might not be suited to dental implants, including those who smoke, and those with poor oral health or bone loss issues.
What types of artificial teeth are used?
Your artificial teeth are actually crowns. We can discuss the type of crowns you would like, which can be removable, fixed or both.
Removable teeth consist of your artificial teeth and pink plastic gums like dentures. They are mounted on a metal frame that you attach to the implant abutment. They can be removed for cleaning like dentures but are far more secure.
Fixed artificial teeth are permanently screwed or cemented onto the implant abutment as individual teeth. If you have a string of missing teeth, you can also have one bridge of several teeth affixed to the implant.
Are there risks with dental implants?
Because it is a surgical procedure there are some risks involved. Although they are rare, risks include:
- Injury or damage to other teeth and blood vessels.
- Pain, numbness and tingling due to nerve damage.
- Sinus problems if you have upper jaw implants.
Preparation for Dental Implant Surgery
You will first meet with our dentist to discuss your possible surgery. We will review your medical history to ensure you can proceed with the surgery. At this time, we will also take x-rays and possibly 3D images. Once we determine you are a suitable candidate, we will customize a treatment plan that outlines the number of teeth to be replaced, your jawbone condition and your remaining teeth. We will also address issues such as oral health to ensure your mouth is in perfect condition to proceed.
In some cases, it might be determined a bone graft is required before your surgery if your jawbone isn't thick enough or is too soft. A bone graft will provide the solid base required for your implants. We will discuss your options and decide the best way to rebuild your jawbone.
If you do require a bone graft, this will add several months to your procedure. The transplanted bone will have to be completely healed to support your implants. If you require minor grafting, this can be performed at the same time as your implant surgery.
The entire process will take several months to complete. This is because you will require healing time between each step. Your dental implant surgery is considered outpatient surgery, which means you will go home following your procedure. The preparation steps for the surgery include:
- Models are made of your tooth and jaw
- Your damaged tooth is removed
- Jawbone grafting is completed as required
The Actual Dental Implant Procedure
Once all preparation is complete, you can then begin the actual implant process, including:
1.Placing the dental implant
This is the actual surgery in which your gums will be open, and holes are drilled into the bone. The posts are then implanted deep into the bone. In some cases, the abutments which provide the post for attachment of your artificial teeth are also inserted. If the missing tooth area is noticeable, you will be given a temporary denture to be worn during the healing process.
2.Healing and bone growth
This process is called osseointegration. This is the period where your jawbone and dental implants fuse to create a firm root for your artificial teeth. This can take several months.
If your abutments were not attached in the first step, once your roots are fused, the abutments will be placed. Your gums are reopened the abutments are attached to your implants. Further healing of about two weeks will then be required.
When healing is complete, we will take impressions of your mouth and remaining teeth so we can make your crowns.
What to Expect After the Procedure
The stitches used during surgery will dissolve on their own. There will be some discomfort expected following your dental surgery, including:
- Swelling of your gums and face.
- Pain at the implant site.
- Minor bleeding.
Pain medication will help keep you comfortable. You will also have to eat a special diet of soft foods while the surgical site heals. If you experience bleeding or swelling beyond a few days, you can call our office.
To make sure you avoid issues with your new artificial teeth, you can use these tips:
- Practice excellent oral hygiene.
- See your dentist regularly.
- Avoid damaging habits such as chewing ice and hard candy. Also, avoid foods and drinks that stain such as coffee and tea, red wine, blueberries, etc.
If you would like more information on dental implant surgery, call Guelph Family Dentistry at (888) 588-1691 or contact us here.