Our smiles have a tremendous impact on the way we feel about ourselves. When you lose a tooth, unexpectedly, or because of long-term effects of gum disease or decay, it can be disconcerting.
Some people leave the space empty. This can have a detrimental effect on self -confidence and cause further dental problems. Others choose bridges or dentures, but they are frustrated by damage to natural teeth, movement, or speech disturbances.
Thankfully, there is another option to deal with missing teeth. Dental implants are a permanent solution to missing teeth. They can support a singe artificial tooth as well as partial or full dentures. They look and feel natural. If you are planning on having dental implant surgery, there are several things you can expect:
1. Multiple Appointments
First, you’ll have a comprehensive exam to decide if you are a good candidate for the surgery. The team will take x-rays and might make models of your teeth and the inside of your mouth.
You’ll be working with several professionals throughout the process. Your team will likely include an oral surgeon, a periodontist, and a restorative dentist as well as a lab technician and dental assistants.
3. Treatment Plan
After seeing the results of your examination, they will decide whether you will need bone grafts or not, determine the number of appointments needed, and choose the type of anesthetic (local, general or sedation) that is best for you. Remember to have someone take you home if you are having a general.
4. Tooth Removal
The next step is removing the damaged tooth, if it is still in place.
5. Bone Grafting
For patients whose jawbone is too thin or too soft, a bone graft may be necessary. Bone from elsewhere in your body can be moved to the implant site, or artificial bone may be used. Bone grafting creates a solid base for the implant, so it will be strong enough for the tooth to function. After this surgery, you may need to wait months, for healing and new bone growth to happen.
At the next appointment, the surgeon will cut the gum to expose the jaw bone, drill into the bone and put the metal post in place. More time will pass as the site heals and the titanium fuses to the bone.
7. Placement of the Abutment
If the metal post is very stable, the dentist will put the abutment in place. This is an extension of the metal post where the crown will be attached. If the post isn’t stable yet, he or she will need to cut the gum open again, at the next visit, to attach the abutment and more healing time will be needed.
8. Impressions and Placement
Finally, the team will use impressions of your mouth to create your new crown (artificial tooth), designed with your colour and style preferences in mind.
9. Minor Discomfort Is Expected
As with any surgery, you might see swelling, bruising, pain, or minor bleeding. Dental implants sound complicated but most patients say they experience minimal discomfort.
Although many patients will require multiple visits, some will be candidates for “Teeth in a Day”. With this option, you will need visits, ahead of time, for consults, design and fitting, but you will be able to go home, on surgery day, with a full set of teeth.
Dentists have been performing implant surgery for over 50 years, with a very high success rate. If you are seeking a solution to replace missing teeth, dental implants might be just what you are looking for.