If you’re missing one or more of your teeth, dental implants can replace them. They offer a more natural tooth replacement than dentures.
The first step is a consultation with a dentist who offers dental implants. They will create a treatment plan.
After numbing or sedating you, the dentist will cut open your gum to expose the bone. They will drill a hole into the bone and screw in an implant.
While consultation is essential for enhancing patient care, the process can become inefficient and less than collegial when handled poorly. Those who seek and provide consultation must have a shared concern for the patient’s welfare, clear communication, and timely transfer of reports to the medical chart. Consultants should be aware of the limits of their expertise and perform only those services and technical procedures for which they are qualified by education, training, and experience.
Dental implants are metal anchors that act as tooth roots. Your dentist places them in the jawbone. The procedure takes place under local anesthesia, although patients may opt for heavier sedation if desired.
The condition of your jawbone determines the type of dental implant you need. If the bone is too soft, we recommend a graft before implant placement.
A two-stage surgical procedure involves placing the implant body beneath the gum tissue until initial bone maturation occurs, then exposing the implant to replace the permucosal element.
A one-stage surgical approach has the implant placed immediately after removing the old teeth. This technique requires less surgery and a faster recovery period. After healing, your restorative dentist can attach the new replacement tooth to the implant post.
The next step is a healing period, lasting from six weeks to several months. During this time, the implant and jaw bone fuse in a process known as osseointegration.
Patients can expect pain and swelling around the surgical site during this time. These symptoms can be managed with over-the-counter medications.
Once the implant has healed, a doctor will place a piece called an abutment on top of the screw. It is a metal extension that will connect the screw to the replacement tooth.
During this time, patients mustn’t smoke or spit. Spitting or the use of a straw can dislodge a blood clot and cause bleeding from the surgical site. It is also essential for patients to follow the dentist’s care tips. It includes not brushing or flossing the dental implant area until it heals completely. In addition, patients should only rinse their mouths with warm water.
The final part of your dental implant treatment is to make and place the crown that replaces the missing tooth. It requires several visits to your dentist and oral surgeon.
While the tooth is numb, the dentist shapes the surface for the new crown. The amount of reshaping needed will depend on the type of crown used. Metal crowns require less reshaping than porcelain ones.
When necessary, bone grafts can enhance the size and shape of the jawbone where the implant will be placed. It is essential for patients with sinus problems who have a limited height of bone in the back of their upper jaw.
After the numb tooth is adequately shaped, an impression of it is made with a paste or putty held in place by the surrounding teeth. The resulting model will be used to create the replacement tooth or teeth. It will also be used to verify that the bite is correct and check the crowns’ space and placement.