Preparing for a dental implant makeover.
Dental implants are widely regarded as the best solution for permanently replacing one or more missing teeth. No other dental restoration is able to mimic the look, feel, and function of natural teeth quite as well as dental implants. Unsurprisingly, this state-of-the-art procedure is rapidly becoming the new standard of care tooth replacement option for healthy adults.
Compared to other types of restorative dentistry, the procedure required for dental implants is quite unique. There is an element of dental surgery involved and a longer healing period than, say, a dental bridge. Although the end goal of a beautiful, fully healed implant is well-worth any temporary inconvenience, it’s important to be aware of what’s involved if you’re considering dental implants.
Let’s break down the process step-by-step.
Step 1: Initial Oral Evaluation
Your first dental implant appointment is an initial evaluation to determine if you’re a candidate. Because dental implant surgery is more invasive, your medical history and overall health will decide whether this procedure is right for you.
The dentist will perform a thorough oral evaluation, including detailed digital x-rays and scans. They’ll review your medical history and ask you about recent changes to your health, such as new medications or a new health issue.
During your evaluation, your dentist will also take care to identify any pre-existing dental issues that may affect implant surgery. For example, if your missing tooth has been gone for a while, bone loss will likely have occurred in the jaw.
If your dentist determines that you aren’t an ideal candidate, they’ll suggest an alternative treatment, such as a dental bridge or traditional denture.
Step 2: Treatment Planning Consultation
Once your dentist has determined you’re a candidate for dental implants, they’ll begin planning your treatment.
Your dentist may take additional digital images, including 3D imaging, to have a clear digital model of your jaw to ensure perfect implant placement. They’ll also decide which type of implant best suits your needs. Most dental implant posts are made of titanium but come in varying lengths and thicknesses.
If you’re receiving several implants to replace multiple missing teeth or an entire arch, your dentist will also create a plan for your implant-supported denture during this step too.
Step 3: Preparatory Care and Placement of Dental Implants
Sometimes dental implant surgery has to wait until preliminary treatment is done to prepare for an implant. This may include having diseased teeth removed, active gum disease treated, or a bone graft placed to bolster the strength of your jaw to support an implant.
During the actual implant placement, your dentist will create an incision in the gum tissue and insert the post into the jawbone. Sometimes a small bone graft will be done simultaneously if a tooth is removed and an implant placed in the same appointment.
The implant post and incision will be secured with sutures, and gauze will be used to stem any bleeding. Depending on your treatment plan, your implant post usually has a temporary restoration or a healing cap placed over the top to protect it.
You won’t feel anything during implant surgery since you’ll be completely numb, but light sedation with nitrous oxide can help you relax and feel much more comfortable.
Step 4: Osseointegration and Healing
Osseointegration is the process of bone regenerating and fusing to the titanium implant post. This process takes time to complete, so the healing period for dental implants lasts a few months. Following your dentist’s instructions is essential, as a new implant post is fragile immediately after placement.
Your dentist will prescribe medication or recommend an over-the-counter pain management combination to relieve pain and swelling. They’ll also give important dietary guidelines for what you can and can’t eat while healing. Be prepared for a liquid and soft foods-only diet for a few weeks.
Don’t forget to maintain excellent oral hygiene. Be gentle around the new implant, but otherwise follow a standard twice-daily brushing and flossing regimen. Your dentist may also provide a special antibacterial mouth rinse to use.
Expect to see your dentist for checkups during the healing process to ensure osseointegration is progressing normally.
Step 5: Final Restoration Placement
The last step is the placement of your new tooth or teeth.
Single dental implants will have an abutment attached to the implant post and a dental crown placed on top. The dental crown will be carefully designed to seamlessly match the rest of your smile in terms of size, shape, and color.
Implant-supported dentures will also look ultra-realistic and complement your natural facial features. Your dentist will also triple-check to ensure your bite alignment is comfortable with your new denture in place.
With your dental implant finally finished, continue prioritizing your oral hygiene and make sure to see your dentist every six months for routine checkups and cleanings.
Ensure dental implant success by picking the best Bloomington dentist.
Dental implants have an exceptionally high success rate of over 90% when you choose an experienced dentist. The more knowledgeable your dentist is, the greater your chance of complication-free healing and decades of enjoyment with your new teeth. Not only is their skill in initially placing the post imperative, but so is their level of patient-focused care to support you through the delicate osseointegration phase.