Dental Implant Surgery Procedure Guide: Everything You Need To Know
What is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants are an artificial replacement for a natural tooth root secured into your jaw bone to hold a prosthesis; a crown, a denture or a bridge made to match your natural teeth. A Dental Implant is a small metallic screw made of titanium, which is lightweight, strong and biocompatible. Implants are a long-term treatment option for patients who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, or an injury. Along with replacing lost teeth, the implants maintain the shape of the jawbone and density supporting the facial structure.
Benefits of Dental Implants over other Treatments
Tooth loss can be uncomfortable for someone who loves smiling. Loss of teeth not only affects your appearance, it also affects the functionality of your teeth. This is why a lot of people seek restorative treatments that aim to bring that smile back. Today, there are various options available. Dental implants are one of the most sought after treatment. Unlike other options, implants offer a permanent solution to lost teeth and an individual can regain stability and maximum strength.
Some of the benefits of dental implants include:
Long Lasting Solution
Dental implants have a 98% success rate compared to other dental procedures. They can last up to 20 years. Fewer visits to the dentist translate into saving money and time. All you have to do is to properly care for them through regular brushing and flossing.
When implants are fitted, you can resume to eating whatever foods you like. Unlike dentures where you have to worry about the type of food to eat, dental implants act just like your natural teeth and provide you with excellent support when eating and talking.
Having badly fitted dentures can leave you worried and embarrassed when talking to your friends. Dental implants are fitted to your tooth’s root and they do not come out like dentures.
Healthier Jaw Bone
Losing one or more teeth leads to the loss and deterioration of your jaw bone. Dental implants prevents bone resorption. This substitution provides the same function as the natural tooth root.
Next Best Thing to Healthy, Natural Teeth
You do not have to worry about your smile anymore. As the jaw bone actually creates a bond and fuses with the Dental implant thus creating a stable and strong foundation restoring the loss of the tooth so that it looks, feels, fits and functions like a natural tooth.
Natural Face Shape and Smile
A lost tooth can make your face appear sunken. Dental implants protect the structure of your mouth helping maintain the natural shape of your face and smile.
Prevention of a Bite Collapse
The back of your mouth collapses and the bone deteriorates when the posterior teeth are missing. As a consequence of the back of the mouth collapsing, the front teeth flare out and the corner of the mouth drops. Due to the decreasing height of the jaw, the bite becomes weak and the facial expression begins to change. Bite collapse can be prevented with a dental implant.
Protect Adjacent Teeth
With the absence of a tooth the bone resorption is not the only problem to worry about. The adjacent teeth will now shift toward the empty space created by the missing teeth if left for an extended period of time. The empty space affects the adjacent teeth and gum health. Dental implants replace the missing teeth without affecting the neighboring teeth as it provides a very stable foundation.
Your Wallet Will Thank You
The next best thing to healthy, natural teeth is a dental implant treatment, they last longer and costs no more than other treatments to restore a tooth. Due to the high rate success of dental implants they are the most Cost-effective long-term treatment for absent teeth. In the long term, dental implants are generally less expensive than dental bridges, because a bridge on natural teeth normally have to be replaced more often. Dental implants mean less time spent in the dentist’s office and a one-time payment while the dental bridges you’ll be paying on each visit to the dentist.
Bridges or Dentures Vs Dental Implants
Dental implants are considered as the first choice by dentists for dental treatment to restore a lost tooth. In the short-term dentures or bridges may seem cheaper, but they may be more expensive in the long run. Since dental implants actually take the role of a tooth root, making it seem more natural, aesthetic and functionally; and for this it becomes the number one reason to be considered by dentists the best method for restoring a missing tooth.
These are some of the obvious reasons why dentists prefer dental implants over bridges and dentures:
Affect Neighboring Teeth
By placing bridges or dentures on your mouth, the health of the neighboring teeth gets compromise because they are cut out, thereby exposing tooth enamel making the tooth more sensitive and weak. Even whenever you have to replace your bridge or dentures you will have to go through the same process again, resulting in even more fragile and sensitive teeth.
When replacing a missing tooth with a dental bridge or denture, bone and gum under these prosthesis starts to deteriorate and collapse. Over time the bridge begins to separate from the gum line giving a false appearance. Dental implants prevent the deterioration of the bone as it is placed in the same site where the root of the tooth was, giving a more natural and attractive result.
If you have a dental bridge or dentures, you’ll have to take a little more time to make your daily oral hygiene routine, because the teeth are more difficult to clean and are even more susceptible to periodontal disease and cavities that can lead to a root canal.
Dental implants remain where they belong, in the mouth. You will not have to worry that your denture will move or fall out of your mouth, with dental implants you can speak more naturally, you can eat almost everything you want and enjoy your meals without any hesitation.
Not as Durable
Dental bridges tend to be replaced by an average of 7 to 10 years if the patient has had a proper oral hygiene and have regular visits to the dentist, but always at some point will may need to be replaced. Whenever a dental bridge is replaced more tooth structure is affected and if for some reason the bridge fails, additional teeth may be affected and more extensive treatments may be needed, and therefore a more expensive treatment.
How to choose a Dental Implant Expert? Where do I Begin?
You now know the advantages that dental implants give you as the best treatment for the restoration of a missing tooth; long-term treatment, prevents deterioration or collapse of the bone and gums and no more concerns about aesthetics and functionality.
Now that you decided to place a dental implant, you have to find an expert Dentist or an Oral Surgeon with good skills and good reputation that offers you the services that you need for an affordable price for you. This procedure cannot be mastered in a short course and patients should not be rushed through the treatment process. Keep in mind that there is a significant difference between “dentists who do implants” and “dental implant experts.” You must find a specialized surgeon who is highly recommended so that you can get the desired and favorable results that can ensure you a lifetime treatment. It is suggested that you personally look into their credentials and read their reviews online, you must be sure they qualify to make this procedure on you.
Your dental implant expert must have a specific education in dental implants or related continuing education in dental implants. Your dental implant expert should be experienced. Dental implants are complex and sophisticated, it would be best if they have two years or more of experience in implant placement. Finally, the expert must be competent; experience with the simplest procedure to the most difficult one is essential, from the placement of a single implant to multiple implants in one patient. Ideally the dental implant expert must have performed a variety of procedures in a significant number of patients.
The first step that a patient who is considering a dental implant as a treatment for restoration of a missing tooth is consultation and examination with a general dentist. This will determine whether you are or not a good candidate for dental implants.
The dentist must ensure the bone where the dental implant will be placed is in optimal conditions, strong and healthy. Usually this evaluation includes X-rays, models impression of your teeth and possibly a CT scan. Your dentist will examine the area under consideration, will discuss possible treatments options with you and will prepare you for surgery so you can get the best results. When everything is ready he/she will ask you to make an appointment with the specialist.
Referral to a Specialist
The next step after the initial consultation is being referred to a surgical specialist for a surgical evaluation in order to assess quality and quantity of available bone and also to determine the number of implants required. If for some reason the bone is fragile, the specialist will have to consider using a bone graft to fix the issue so that you can be a suitable candidate for the procedure.
Small bone defects can be fixed by placing a bone graft of real or synthetic bone to help fix and compensate the loss of bone. If this bone graft is performed, the dental implant will be inserted only until the bone is completely healed.
The specialist will evaluate the x-rays and teeth models and make the decision of where exactly the placement of the dental implant will be, based on occlusion, bite and where are the neighboring teeth located.
Preparing for the Dental Implant Procedure
The procedure of a dental implant is performed after the extraction of a damaged tooth or until the bone is fully healed after a bone graft. Some of the instructions that you will receive from the specialist on how to prepare for surgery to make it a full success may include:
- Using an antibacterial mouthwash with chlorhexidine as the main active ingredient.
- Prescribing you prophylactic antibiotics to take prior to the procedure if you are prone to infections.
- Quit Smoking a few months before the procedure, smoking causes a poor Osseointegration, causing the implant to fail.
- Eat a good healthy breakfast before the procedure unless your choice of anesthesia requires you not to eat some time before the procedure.
Visit your Dentist, it won’t hurt
Most people will avoid going to their dentists due to anxiety or fear of dental procedures. Nonetheless, it’s important to visit your dentists to ensure that any dental problem is treated early. Placement of dental implants is not painful. There are several options your surgeon will recommend to reduce the anxiety.
1) Local Anesthesia
This type of anesthesia is administered by the dentist offering the treatment and will make you feel completely numb in the implant site and the area around. During the procedure you’ll be awake and conscious even after the administration of anesthesia.
2) Anti-Anxiety Medication
These drugs can be administered orally or intravenously, but only by a licensed oral surgeon. Some clinics offer partial sedation, the patient is awake and numb but “out of if”. Sometimes not aware of what is going on around. Sedation is usually more expensive than local anesthesia and is not available in all clinics.
How much time will the implant procedure take?
This depends on many factors, starting with your overall health, the number of teeth being replaced, where the implant will be placed, if a tooth needs to be removed, among other things. The process begins when the surgeon drills the small screw into the bone, usually a simple implant to replace a single tooth can take about an hour. Once the dental implant is inside the jaw bone, it is left there to heal for a few months. Once healed, an incision in the gum is made and the dental prosthesis is attached.
If a tooth needs to be removed, it should be done first, prior to the insertion of the dental implant and in a separate procedure. If it is an anterior tooth, the specialist has to be very careful and be very precise when removing the tooth to avoid damage to the bone or gum tissue. If this is not done carefully the final result may seem crooked and unattractive. Not to mention that there may be a possibility that the body will reject the implant leading to the failure of the restoration treatment. After a tooth extraction, a small bone graft must be done. This is to preserve the dental alveolus and maintain its shape and the encompassing gum tissue for the new dental implant.
The Implant Surgery
The procedure itself is simple and minimally invasive.Researching, reading and talking to your doctor about the surgery will help you feel more relaxed and comfortable during the procedure.
The oral surgeon will make sure you are well numb and cannot feel any pain, except some pressure or vibrations. You will remain awake and aware of what is happening around you but will not feel anything. Sedation would be recommended for anxious people.. The specialist will test the implant site to make sure that the anesthesia has taken effect.
Preparing the Implant Site
Once the anesthesia has taken effect, the specialist will prepare the implant site and make an incision on the gum where the implant is to be inserted. Your oral surgeon will now have access to the bone and evaluate the implant site which has to be flat and smooth. The surgeon will make an osteotomy, or a small hole in the bone. This is carried out with a series of specialized drill bits that the surgeon will use until the hole is of the proper diameter. The specialist performing this procedure will periodically irrigate the area with saline solution to make sure the area keeps clean and avoid any tissue damage that may occur by overheating.
An alignment pin is then used to ensure the right position of the new dental implant. Once the hole is approved by the surgeon, the implant site will be sutured. Absorbable suture thread is usually used so that the patient does not have to worry about the stitches. Although some surgeons prefer to use the traditional suturing thread, if this is the case, you will have to make a new appointment so that your dentist can remove them in about two or three weeks. You’ll be required to wait for a few months before getting a new prosthesis.
The surgeon will examine the healing progress to ensure that the implant site is totally healed and perfectly situated for an aesthetically appealing replacement. Once the implant is completely healed and stable, the restoration can be placed. An incision is made in the gum to expose the implant site. The tooth is screwed onto the dental implant by hand or with a special drill very similar to the one used to make the pilot hole. The replacement tooth will be a crown based on the impression taken of your teeth in the first consultation. Once the crown is in place, your dentist will verify your bite and occlusion are okay.
Implant Healing Process and Aftercare
Like any surgical or cosmetic procedure, aftercare is essential. There are some simple steps you can take to make your implant infection-free, permanent and will cause the least possible pain.
Your dentist will recommend a soft, sugar free and a healthy diet. Always remain hydrated so that your body can keep the pace of the healing process at a respectable rate.
Keep the Area Clean
Continue with your daily oral hygiene routine, brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. You can use a mouthwash recommended by your dental hygienist to keep the site free of food debris.
Visit your Dentist Periodically
You must make sure you visit your Dentist every six months for routine check-up.
Some patients will experience a dull pain for almost a week . This can be controlled with ibuprofen or aspirin. This will not inhibit you from going to work or perform your daily routine.
Dental implants are a good option for an effective and permanent treatment for the restoration of a missing tooth. It’s a relatively simple procedure and with a very manageable postoperative care.
Schedule an Appointment with Laguna Vista Dental
We hope that you found our dental implant surgery guide informative. Laguna Vista Dental has been serving the Elk Grove and Sacramento areas with implant dentistry services for many years. If you have any other questions regarding the dental implant procedure you can give our office a call at (916) 684-3105. You can also request an appointment online.
Laguna Vista Dental
7915 Laguna Blvd, Ste 150
Elk Grove, CA 95758
Mon: 9am to 6pm
Tue-Thu: 8am to 5pm