How To Treat a Swollen Gum Around One ToothSeptember 20, 2023
If you have a missing or unfixable tooth, your dentist may recommend that you schedule an appointment for a dental implant.
While dental implants require a multistep procedure, people often see them as a welcome alternative to dentures or expensive, uncomfortable bridgework. Additionally, a dental implant is a great option for people with a lack of natural tooth root that doesn’t accommodate bridgework.
In this blog, we’ll go over a few facts about dental implants, who qualifies for the procedure and the dental implant process, step by step.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are fixed artificial teeth. The surgical procedure replaces existing unhealthy tooth roots with metal posts and fills the spaces with artificial teeth that look and function like real ones.
A dental implant is typically made of titanium, which integrates easily with the surrounding jawbone. These stable, long-lasting tooth replacements have the natural look and feel of normal teeth.
Who Qualifies for Dental Implants?
Dental implants may be the right solution for you if you meet these criteria:
- Have healthy existing gum tissues
- Have one or more missing teeth
- Are unable or unwilling to wear dentures
- Don’t smoke tobacco
- Have adequate bone for implant groundwork or can have a bone graft
Dental Implant Procedure Steps
The dental implant step-by-step process is complex but not major.
Your dentist replaces the tooth root with an implant that fuses to the jawbone with an attached crown. This new implant prevents any deterioration of the tooth’s underlying structure. Because this procedure is so involved, dentists usually perform it as an outpatient process in multiple stages.
First, you and your dentist go over your medical history. Your dentist or a dental team member then takes dental X-rays and 3D images. Next, they make models of your jaw and teeth.
After these comprehensive exams, your dentist creates a treatment plan covering how many teeth need replacing and the condition of your surrounding teeth and jawbone.
Damaged Tooth Removal
Your dentist extracts your damaged tooth, usually in an exam room. They may give you oral conscious sedation, nitrous oxide or IV sedation for comfort. Your dentist uses specialized instruments to gently loosen your damaged tooth and remove it from its socket.
Jawbone Preparation and Bone Graft
In some cases, your dentist may recommend a bone graft. Bone grafting fills the space where the old root was to create more width, height or density to secure and preserve the implant site. After your dentist places the bone graft, the site needs a couple of months to fully heal.
[Related: Are Veneers Right for You?]
Dental Implant Placement
After your mouth heals from the bone grafting process, your dentist places the implant and abutment screw in the space. They then make an excision to open the gum and expose the bone. Next, they attach a metal implant post deep into the bone.
Depending on your preferences, the dentist can place a temporary tooth replacement for aesthetics during the healing stage.
Bone Growth Process
Once the implant post is in your gum, you must wait for your jawbone to grow into and unite with the implant’s surface. This process is called osseointegration. The osseointegration process can take several months and provides a solid base for your new tooth.
After healing, your dentist makes more impressions of your mouth to make your realistic-looking artificial tooth, also known as a crown. You can get either a removable crown or a fixed crown.
A removable crown, which is similar to a conventional denture, mounts to a metal frame attached to the abutment. You can easily remove it for repair or daily cleaning.
Your dentist can permanently screw or cement a fixed crown onto an implant’s abutment. This kind of artificial tooth attaches to its own dental implant, and you can’t remove it.
Healing and Postsurgical Steps
During these stages, you may experience the typical discomfort associated with dental surgery, including swelling, bruising and minor pain at the implant site. Your dentist may prescribe you pain medication or antibiotics after surgery.
Be sure to eat soft foods, and always follow your dentist’s instructions regarding stitches and follow-up appointments.
[Related: Guide to Crown Lengthening]
Find Out More at Cascadia Dental Specialists
Contact us at Cascadia Dental Specialists today to learn more about the dental implant process and discuss which dental solution is right for you! You can also learn about our other periodontal services or request an appointment with one of our dental specialists.
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