Dental Implants: The Procedure & How They Work

Have a problem with chewing? Missing a tooth or two? Then dental implants might be the best solution for you. Dental implants are often used in cosmetic dentistry to replace missing or damaged teeth. With dental implants, you can achieve optimum oral health and functions. In this post, we will help you answer the most common questions about dental implants. So keep reading and explore the possibilities of having dental implants.

How to Get Dental Implants

Typically, you would book a free consultation with your dentist where they will take x-rays and determine if you are a good candidate for an implant. People with no infection, non-smokers and those with overall good dental hygiene are the best candidates. Once you’ve been deemed fit for surgery, your dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon.

Dental Implants: The Procedure & How They Work

The Procedure for Dental Implants

During your procedure, you will be given anesthesia and metal screws will be inserted as this process allows the screw to fuse and anchor against the jawbone. This makes the site for your new tooth a sturdy one. Once the titanium screw has been inserted, you usually wait 2-4 months for the site to heal and to allow time for the screw to anchor.

Aftercare Instructions for Dental Implants

Implant surgery has a high rate of success in dental patients. In order to increase your chances of success, there are several things you can do after your surgery. The following tips are generally recommended, but check with your surgeon if you have a question:

  • Do not rub the implant site with your hands or tongue for several days after the surgery.
  • Eat soft foods for the first 24 hours after the surgery.
  • Apply an ice pack to the surgical site to minimize swelling.
  • Use over-the-counter pain meds for pain once the anesthesia has worn off.
  • If prescribed antibiotics, take as directed to avoid infection.
  • Rinse with warm, salty water several times daily for the first few days.
  • Call your doctor if excessive bleeding or swelling occurs.

Typically, you can eat a few hours after your surgery. In this event, your mouth may still feel numb and you may end up inadvertently chewing the inside of your cheek! Be careful! That is why, to keep this from happening to you, do not eat until after the anesthetic has worn off.

You should be able to return to normal daily activities the day after surgery. Some swelling and bleeding are normal. However, if you experience extreme bleeding or pain that cannot be treated with over-the-counter meds, contact your dentist.

Dental Implants: The Procedure & How They Work

Follow-up Visit

After your procedure, you will generally follow-up with the oral surgeon or with your dentist. They will determine if the site has healed and conducted an oral exam to check for infection.

After the site is determined to have healed, your dentist will fit you for a crown. A crown is an artificial tooth that is generally made of porcelain. To fit you for the crown, the dentist will take impressions of your teeth to measure their size. This determines what size crown you need.

Crown Placement

When you return to the dentist, your new crown will have arrived from the laboratory. The dentist will place this new tooth in your mouth and check the fit of it. The crown may need to be sanded down so that it fits comfortably with the rest of your teeth. If an adjustment is required, the dentist will generally use dental tools to do so during your visit.

The dentist might ask you to make chewing motions or bite down on something to test the size and fit. Once the crown is fitted, the dentist will cement it to the metal abutment that protrudes from your gum.

Cost

The cost of your dental implant will be determined by a number of factors. Some forms of dental insurance might cover partial costs. Your bill will normally include the following:

  • The oral surgery
  • The abutment
  • A porcelain crown
  • X-rays
  • Anesthesia
  • Office visits

The cost to replace one tooth can vary depending on a number of factors.  This is why a consultation is so important to explore your treatment options and costs associated with the dental implant procedure. 

Dental Implants: The Procedure & How They Work

  

Implants vs. Removable Dentures

While some people rely on removable dentures, implants are also popular. When given the choice between implants and dentures, choosing implants might be better. Though sometimes being able to pull your teeth on and off could be helpful, the hassle of applying glue to the teeth every day may be somewhat burdensome.

If you have noticed, some people have removable dentures that are difficult to affix. Removable dentures can also make it difficult to chew food properly. However, dental implants are not removable and they are sturdy enough for you to chew comfortably. 

Oral Hygiene

When properly cared for, implants can last a lifetime. After you’ve received your implant, you should resume your regular oral hygiene schedule. Your dentist may recommend that you do all of the following as usual:

  • Brush teeth at least twice daily.
  • Floss daily.
  • Schedule dental check-ups twice yearly.
  • Consult the dental office immediately if dental problems arise.

Though you should brush your teeth and floss them as usual, flossing may require a different method. It may be difficult to floss between tight crowns. Ask your dentist to recommend a special flosser.

Longevity of Implants

Most patients have success with crowns and implants. If properly cared for, crowns can last for numerous years and implants are designed to last a lifetime. However, crowns may sometimes break or chip. Even implants can shift out of position. If any such problems arise, contact your dentist right away!

Dental Implants: The Procedure & How They Work

Conclusion

In short, implants can improve your smile by replacing your missing teeth. If left untreated, gaps in your mouth from tooth loss can lead to more spaces as your teeth shift to cover gaps. This can result in the loss of more teeth. Missing teeth can also change your facial shape and cause you to have difficulty chewing. If you are considering implant surgery, contact your dentist for a consultation. Art of Dentistry is here to help you fix that smile and fill in the missing tooth with a dental implant! Contact us today!