Dental implants are the number one recommended treatment for missing teeth caused by injury, aging or general decay from lack of oral hygiene. Not only can missing a tooth, or several, be extremely discomforting in your day-to-day life but it can also cause issues in the confidence you have in your smile. With the right dental implant, you can feel ease in knowing that your smile and oral hygiene can be properly restored with the appropriate care.
Why you should consider dentals implants
If you are missing a single tooth, several teeth or wish to permanently replace your temporary dentures, a dental implant could be the best solution for you. Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth using a titanium post that is surgically implanted into your jawbone. Not only does the dental implant hold the crown, also known as an artificial tooth, in place amongst your natural teeth but are also great for stimulating and preserving your bone structure for the missing tooth by acting as a root. Further to that, the dental implant will help to save your natural smile and face shape that has been affected by the missing teeth or tooth.
Dental Implant Surgery
Initial consultation before the surgery
Before going ahead with any type of dental implant, your dental or oral hygienist will invite you in to discuss your current condition and potential options. You will have an x-ray to identify your jawbone structure to indicate the best dental implant for your teeth as well as teeth models to ensure the crown is closely matched to your natural teeth.
During your consultation, it is imperative to inform them of your lifestyle habits such as smoking and raise any medical conditions you may have as well as any medication you may be taking, including those over the counter as before the surgery, they may wish to prescribe antibiotics to prevent any infections.
Your dentist will discuss the best anesthesia options for you before your surgery along with a set of instructions or a list of things to avoid and/or to carry out for the days leading up to the surgery.
You will be strongly advised against driving yourself to and from the surgery with an expectation to book some days off for rest.
During the Surgery
The entire surgery is done in stages where you are required to allow the jawbone to completely heal around the implant before going ahead with completion of the abutment and crown. It is important to be aware that the process can take several months to complete, depending on how quickly you are able to heal from each stage and how strong your jawbone is.
A breakdown of the entire process:
- Remove the damaged tooth and prepare the jawbone for surgery
- Insert the implant into the gumline once the jawbone has fully healed around the implant
- Place abutment into the implant
- Attach the crown (artificial tooth) to the implant
Dental Implant and Bone Grafting
If your jaw is not big or strong enough to hold an implant, which is needed for protection of the implant and better chewing when eating; you may need to add extra bone for the implant to sit comfortably in your gum line. This process is called “bone grafting”. Bone grafting is where a small piece of material is transplanted into your jaw to help solidify the implant base within the jawbone. This is where osseointegration will occur, the process of which the bone grows into the surface of the implant which can take up to 9 months to heal before it functions as a normal tooth would; however, your dentist will give you a temporary denture, which is removable and must be kept clean, to keep the appearance of a tooth.
Once the healing and osseointegration process is complete, an abutment is added to the implant using a local anesthesia. An abutment is the final support added to the implant for your crown to comfortably sit on where your gums will be reopened to expose the dental implant to screw in the abutment. Your gum tissue is closed and left to heal for 2 weeks before the crown is added.
Choosing your teeth
The Dentist will make impressions of the mouth and remaining teeth to help with creating the crown or artificial tooth for your implant. There are two types of crowns available; the removable implant prosthesis which can be more affordable for a single tooth and easy to replace or the fixed implant prosthesis which is permanent and cost-effective for multiple missing teeth.
As previously suggested, it is highly recommended to have someone take you to and from the dental practice on the day of your surgery as you will most likely experience discomfort and pain. It is expected to experience bruising and swelling of gums and skin, pain at the site of the implant and minor bleeding. Should symptoms begin to worsen, you should immediately contact your oral hygienist.
It is highly recommended to eat soft foods and apply ice to the swelling. You should maintain proper hygiene by brushing twice a day with a dentist recommended toothpaste and clean between each tooth using interdental brushes at least once a day. You should look to avoid smoking or using tobacco products as well as other bad oral habits.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Getting implants can help to significantly improve your day-to-life with improved speech, easier eating, comfort and even confidence in your smile. Many of our patients have been able to reap the many benefits of dental implants including:
- Improved appearance
Your dental implant is designed to fuse with your jawbone to become permanently attached to your gum line. In the end, the crown will look and feel exactly like any one of your natural teeth.
- Improved speech
With temporary or poorly fitted dentures, you may find that your teeth can easily slip out when eating or even talking which can cause you to mumble or slur. With a permanently fixed dental implant, you can be sure that your speech will be fully recovered.
- Easier eating
Temporary dentures and missing teeth can cause difficulties in eating where an implant functions as your normal teeth making it easier to chew on foods without any pain.
- Self-esteem and quality of life
There is no greater feeling than being able to smile without feeling embarrassed or ashamed about missing teeth. Dental implants will bring life back to your smile which will only help to rebuild your confidence.
With dental implants, you feel comfortable knowing that your teeth will not fall out or slip when eating or even talking.
- Better oral health
As the implant is surgically placed into your jawbone, cleaning your teeth will be a lot simpler and easier as you will have access between each tooth when brushing and flossing.
Dental implants are permanent where you don’t have to take them out whereas with temporary dentures, you will find a lot of mess when cleaning and dealing with adhesives to keep them in place.
A fantastic benefit of dental implants is that they are life-lasting with proper care where you need not worry to replace them should you keep up with your oral hygiene.
Dental implants are a routine procedure however may cause complications, just like any other surgery, such as problems with fusing to the bone, improper implant placement, sinus and nerve damage or infection. It may be that teeth surrounding the implant with minor issues such as decay or root damage may worsen due to trauma from the surgery.
Your dentist should examine all teeth and gums before going ahead with the procedure to make you aware of any potential risks. When assessing potential risks, it is strongly advised that you are completely honest and forthcoming of any medical health conditions you suffer with, medication you may be taking and your lifestyle. With this information, your dentist will advise which dental implant is best suited for you.
Some of the potential risks include:
- Failure of osseointegration
Should the process of osseointegration, where the bone grows into the surface of the implant fails, the implant will not be secure enough to hold the crown into place which means it could fall out by itself. If this process fails, your dentist will discuss other options for an implant or replace it altogether.
- Improper implant placement
During the procedure, it is possible that an error could be made if there is an issue with the location or angle of the implant which could lead to complications. If the implant does not properly fuse with the bone or is too close to adjacent teeth, you may experience discomfort and pain where the implant could even become loose. This will mean that you may need to replace or remove the implant altogether, however; it is always recommended to get a second opinion from a different professional to approach the best option.
- Sinus damage
Implants that are installed to replace missing teeth at the top could penetrate the sinus to cause damage where the upper jaw is directly beneath the nasal sinuses and passages, under nasal sinuses and passages. This will ultimately lead to discomfort and even an infection. You should refer to your dentist who will advise you accordingly on how best to treat this.
Much like any surgery, oral or otherwise, there is always a risk of infection. Your dentist or oral hygienist will provide you with instructions to follow after the surgery, such as a cleaning routine. Any pain, swelling or fluid from the incision site should be seen immediately as you may need additional procedures to treat the area of infection in either a gum or bone.
- Nerve Damage
Before the procedure, your dentist should take X-rays to locate the nerves so they can avoid possible damage. Unfortunately, nerve damage can cause long lasting effects that should be discussed before undergoing any oral procedure.
Dental implants can be a life-changing and long-lasting procedure that is performed daily by our team of dentists and oral hygienists. The treatment can be especially helpful for your confidence, eating and overall oral hygiene. Before undergoing any type of oral surgery, you should be sure that you are fully aware of what the procedure entails and what is required of you before and after surgery. Unfortunately, the process can be long and tedious depending on which implant you opt for; however, the results will last a lifetime with the correct care.
Your dentist will walk you through the entire process from start to finish with additional aftercare. We recommend booking a consultation with one of our professional dentists to find out which type of dental implant is best suited for you.
Call us today to discuss your options with one of our friendly and trusted experts from the Art of Dentistry!