If your dentist tells you that you need dental implants, then you will need to undergo a surgical procedure in order to replace the roots of a tooth with metal posts that look like screws. It is a way to replace damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and work like real ones. The type of implant you will be receiving and the condition of your jawbone will help to determine the procedure that you undergo. Regardless, all dental implant procedures happen in stages and can involve many different steps.
The first step in the process is to remove the damaged teeth. Your general or cosmetic dentist will then prepare your jawbone for surgery. You may need a bone graft if your jawbone is not thick enough or is too soft and your dentist does not feel that it will hold the implant. A bone graft is when either a piece of bone is removed from another part of your jaw or another part of your body. In addition, an artificial bone can also be used. Once the graft is complete, you will be given time to heal and so that the new bone has time to grow. This can take months.
When the bone is ready, your dentist will drill holes into the bone in the places where the metal posts will be placed. You will also receive a temporary denture and you will have to wait for additional healing to take place. Then, when your mouth is ready and the metal implant posts are placed in your jawbone, you will undergo a process known as osseointegration. This is when the jawbone grows into and unites with the surface of the dental implant. As with the healing and bone growth, this process can take several months. It helps to provide a solid base for your new teeth.
Once the growth process is complete, your dentist will reopen your gums so that an abutment can be inserted. Then, your gum tissue is closed around it and your gums will need to heal for a week or two. Then, the dental implant process can be completed. As with many cosmetic dentistry procedures, impressions will be taken and a dental crown will be made. Bear in mind that, your crown cannot be implanted until your jawbone is strong enough to support it.
When you undergo the dental implant procedure, it is no different than any other dental work that you have done. You should expect to feel some discomfort and have some swelling in your gums and face. It is also not surprising when bruising of your skin and gums, as well as pain at the implant site, and some minor bleeding to occur. Your dentist may prescribe pain medications or antibiotics in order to assist with proper healing. Once you feel better, you should brush and floss your new implant the same way that you brush and floss your other teeth.