If you have either lost a tooth or you have a tooth with significant decay, then you might need dental implants. Modern dentistry often uses dental implants that are implanted directly into the tooth root. They are secured inside the bone. Older dental implants did not offer the level of sturdiness that patients get from root-form endosseous implants, as the newer models are called. If you need dental implants, then you will want to learn about your options, the surgical procedure, and how you can care for the implant once you have it.
Types of Dental Implants – Dental implants are frequently used to support dentures, crowns, and implant-supported bridges. If you need any of these procedures, then there is a good chance that you will receive some type of dental implant.
Most implants are held in place with a titanium screw that takes the place of the tooth root. Typically manufacturers make the dental implants out of grade 4, commercially pure titanium. In recent years, some manufacturers have turned to grade 5 titanium and alloys. It is important for them to choose certain types of implant materials to help ensure integration. Manufacturers also roughen the titanium’s surface to help improve integration. They do this with methods such as sandblasting, plasma spraying, etching, and anodizing.
The Surgical Procedure to Install Dental Implants – Dental implants are installed by dentists who have been training in oral surgery and periodontics. Implanting the products is recognized as a form of dental surgery, so it is important to choose a qualified professional who has been trained to perform the procedure. Installing the dental implants requires much more than just the ability to screw a titanium object into the jaw. Surgeons also need to know how to design appropriate implants, prepare the patient, and ensure that safety rules are followed throughout the procedure.
Before getting a dental implant, your dentists will have to investigate the insides of your mouth and jaw to find an appropriate place for the implant. Sinus cavities and nerves can prevent dentists from installing the dental implants in certain locations. Without knowing exactly where these are, though, the dentist cannot make an informed decision.
Dentists view the interior of the mouth and jaw by using a CT scan. This also allows them to determine how they will install the dental implants. If, for example, the jaw bone has a slope or curve, then the doctor will need to consider this when designing and installing the implant.
When designing the dental implants, your doctor will typically make a computer-generated image. This creates a precise image that is used to build an implant that is specifically designed for your mouth.
Preparing the Jaw for Dental Implants – In order to install dental implants, your doctor will need to bore a hole in your jaw bone. This might sound like a painful process, but anesthesia is used to prevent pain. Those who are particularly anxious about the procedure might also benefit from taking benzodiazepines prior to the surgery. Talk to your dentist about the pain and anxiety management options that they offer.
After the doctor drills a small hole in your jaw bone, he or she will install the titanium screw. At this point, there is little that the doctor or patient can do to hurry along the procedure because the jaw bone must grow back to secure the implant. After the implant is secure, your doctor can add a tooth to the top of it.
Healing Time for Dental Implants – Dental implants can take months to heal properly. Depending on the procedure that you get, you might expect up to four months before the implant has totally healed and integrated into the jaw. The amount of time that healing takes, however, can depend on several things, including your doctor’s skill, how quickly your bone regenerates, and the type of procedure that you receive.
In recent years, more doctors have started using immediate post-extraction implants. This option typically takes the least amount of time to heal. With immediate post-extraction implants, your dentist installs the dental implant in a space that was once occupied by a tooth. When they extract the tooth, they use that hole for the implant. This process doesn’t always work, but recent studies have shown that it successful for many people. This reduces the amount of time that patients spend undergoing dental procedures and recovering.
Caring for Dental Implants – Once you have received your dental implants, you will want to take good care of them. Otherwise, you might have to go through all or part of the procedure again.
• For the first couple months, you should avoid hard foods that might interfere with the dental implant.
• Make sure to keep the area clean. This will help prevent infection and allow the area to heal more quickly.
• When finished flossing the area, pull the string forward rather than up.
Talk to your doctor about any special considerations that might apply to your dental implants. When in doubt, it is always best to seek your doctor’s advice. He or she is most familiar with your procedure and, therefore, most qualified to give you an accurate answer.