Many people get dental implants to replace teeth which have been removed for various reasons, either the teeth have rotted away or they were broken in an accident. Instead of wearing removal dentures, permanent implants are fitted into the patient. If a candidate has no health issues to prevent him or her from healing, and has a good bone structure, then he or she is a good candidate for implants. These people choose to have implants because they can’t or don’t want to wear dentures or simply want to improve their quality of life.
Before you start getting dental implants, you should check if your dental plan covers this type of procedure. Once everything is cleared you will learn that a dental implant procedure involves three approximately hour-long procedures. The first two are surgeries, followed by a simple crown or bridge fitting.
First, the dental surgeon has to carefully plan out how the procedure will be done. It’s not just a matter of putting in the implants – he or she has to make sure that aside from fitting properly, they will not harm any existing nerves. They can take several pictures, dental x-rays and even CT Scans. There are also special 3D imaging programs that can be used to give the surgeon an overview of the patient’s skull, jawline and sinus, to help them visualize better where the implants should be placed.
The first surgery involves implanting the metal rods into your jaw, if this is in the front of your jaw the dentist will usually give you a temporary bridge. There will be some discomfort after the surgery, this severity depends on the person but isn’t too extreme.
There are several things to avoid after this surgery, these include smoking, sucking on straws, and spitting. You also may be advised not to brush the area for a week or two but you will likely be given an anti-bacterial rinse to keep it clean. You will also be given pain medication and antibiotics.
You will go to the doctor seven to ten days later to have the stitches taken out.
Then four to six months later comes the second surgery. After the implants have attached to the bone, the dentist will make a small cut in the gum and remove the protective screw in the implant and replace it with a metal healing cap. There is a chance that your implants will not integrate into your jaw, if this occurs your dentist can either remove your implants and replace them with wider ones or he can remove them and wait for your jaws to heal and try it again.
Two or three weeks after this surgery you will go back to the dentist’s office and begin having your bridge, denture, or crown made.
Keep in mind, there are risks involved with getting a dental implant. Infection is always a risk, if you don’t take care of the open wounds. There could be permanent damage to your bone and to your nerves, if your surgeon makes a mistake.
However, the results, when the dental surgery is done correctly and once the healing is done, can be fantastic. Your new teeth will look and feel natural, and many patients have reported improved speech and breathing. But, you’ll still have to take care of it like your own teeth – see the dentist regularly, ensure proper hygiene and stop bad habits which can ruin your new implants.