If you are missing one or more teeth, you may be considering dental implants to fill those empty spaces. Opting for implants is an increasingly common solution to replace missing teeth.
Unfamiliarity with the process for getting dental implants can be intimidating, as it is a procedure that is still unknown to most patients. We are here to help you demystify the main steps.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a structure that is installed to replace the root of a natural tooth that has been lost. It is usually made up of a small titanium screw, a corrosion-resistant metal. A dental prosthesis will finally be attached to the implant, which behaves exactly like the root of a natural tooth.
Dental implants offer several advantages:
- They are an aesthetic and comfortable solution;
- They help stimulate the jawbone and maintain bone strength. They also prevent the displacement of neighboring teeth;
- They offer simplicity of maintenance, in comparison with other tooth replacement solutions;
- They make chewing easier, which improves digestion because well-chewed food allows nutrients to be fully absorbed.
Am I a good candidate for implants?
The process of obtaining dental implants can be laborious and restrictive. It is recommended that you ask your dentist about the elements of this procedure and question your ability and willingness to invest in the complete process of installing implants and prostheses.
The price, insurance coverage and your budget capacity are also considerations that you will have to take into account. Of course, your dental specialist will be able to answer all your questions and help you make an informed decision during the first consultation.
An evaluation of your oral condition will be necessary to determine if implants represent an appropriate solution for you, and then to develop a personalized treatment plan. To do this, your specialist dentist will do a complete examination of your mouth, including x-rays and digital photos.
In some cases, intermediate steps such as gum or bone grafts may be necessary to properly prepare the patient’s mouth to accommodate the implant. These interventions can be spread over a period of several weeks or even a few months so that the mouth is completely ready for the other stages of the treatment.
Dental implant placement
The first stage of surgery is the most invasive. It consists of inserting the implant into the jawbone, under the gum tissue. This is usually done under local anesthesia and the patient may also receive sedation to help ease the tension caused by the stress associated with this procedure.
Taking all the precautions to avoid touching the maxillary sinuses and certain nerves, the surgeon will screw the implant into the bone to fix and level it. The tissue will then be sutured in preparation for the healing period. Following insertion, a healing period of a few months is necessary during which the implant can integrate into the bone. This period is called osseointegration.
Installation of the abutment
Once the tissues have healed, your specialist can install the abutment (some types of abutments are installed at the same time as the implant). This is a second piece, a pillar that will make the connection between the replacement tooth and the dental implant.
To install it, the surgeon must make an opening on the implant site to integrate the abutment. A period of healing and cicatrization will again be necessary for the proper integration of the abutment. The patient can then receive the dental prosthesis.
Placement of the prosthesis
Once the healing and osseointegration process is completely finished, the dentist or specialist installs the final artificial prosthesis (crown, bridge or dental prosthesis) on the abutment of the dental implant. This is meticulous work and where several sessions may be required in order to obtain the perfect fit for the patient’s jaw. This is a very important step to ensure that you get the maximum benefits from the dental implant.
Maintenance and Post-Surgery Follow-ups
Like a natural tooth, a dental prosthesis must be well maintained in order to preserve oral health. A lack of oral hygiene can eventually lead to health problems like cavities, ulcers and even infections. Frequent tooth brushing, flossing and periodic dental exams are good foundations for preserving your smile and the investment that your dental implant represents. Your dentist or specialist will also make sure to carry out post-dental surgery follow-ups to confirm that healing is continuing properly.
Using dental implants to replace one or more missing teeth and thus improve your oral health is an innovative and effective option. Knowing the process will help you get a better idea of the implications of this procedure. An experienced dentist from our team at Sourire Concept Dental Center can help you make an informed and thoughtful decision.
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