Dental Implant Surgery: What to Know
Considering a dental implant? Learn more about the procedure.
Why Choose Dental Implants?
Missing teeth can be burdensome, often causing issues with speaking or eating/digestion, and can even have a psychological impact if the missing tooth/teeth affects the patient's self-esteem. Many opt to replace missing teeth with partials, bridges, or dentures. These options work perfectly well for many people, however, may not work for everyone.
Dental implants may work for patients who:
- Are unable to wear dentures or partials
- Have one or more missing teeth
- Have adequate and fully grown jaw bone structure to support the implant - A bone graft may be needed if the existing bone structure isn't adequate enough to support the implant
- Have healthy gum tissue
- Don't use tobacco or have any medical conditions that would affect the healing process
What Can I Expect When Getting an Implant?
Depending on your unique needs, you may need to visit several types of dental specialists to prepare for the procedure, like:
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
- Periodontist (gum and bone specialist)
- Prosthodontist (artificial teeth specialist)
The process of getting a dental implant generally takes several months and is completed in stages, allowing for healing time between each procedure. In preparation for the procedure, you may need to have a bone graft to build and strengthen the jaw bone at the implant site.
After the damaged teeth are removed, screw-like posts are surgically implanted directly into the jaw bone, mimicking the function of tooth roots and providing a solid base for the false tooth/teeth.
Once the post has been implanted and the surrounding bone has fully healed around the post, the dentist can surgically uncover the implant and install a healing cap or an abutment onto the post. This abutment will appear above the gum line and is the base to which the artificial tooth/teeth will be attached.
After gum tissue has healed from the placement of the healing cap or abutment and the dentist has confirmed that the jaw bone is strong enough to support the implant, a fixed crown or removable implant-ready denture/partial can be placed in the mouth to complete the process.
What Can I Expect Post-Procedure?
Though all surgical procedures do come with some level of risk of infection or collateral damage to the area around the surgical site, it is common for those who have had an implant to experience the typical discomfort one would expect after a dental procedure, like:
- Swelling of the face and gums
- Pain at the surgical site
- Some bleeding
- Bruising of the surgical site