Dental implant surgery is an advanced procedure that allows people who have had trouble with broken or missing teeth to have a beautiful smile again. Oral surgeons like Dr. Rupinder Dhadli of Westside OMS are experienced at installing dental implants and returning good oral health and confidence to a patient’s life.
Implants are often better than dentures or partial plates since they fit perfectly and do not have to be secured in the mouth with attachments that could damage the natural teeth. Dr. Dhadli explains the process of getting a dental implant and offers some helpful guidelines for patients who are interested in this procedure.
Overview of Dental Implant Surgery
Dental implants replace the roots of natural teeth with screw-like metal posts. It replaces the diseased or damaged natural tooth with an artificial tooth or crown that looks and feels natural. It is a good alternative to dentures for younger people, those with healthy gums, and for people who are unable or unwilling to wear dentures.
Dental implant surgery is a complex, multi-step process that can take several months to complete. How long it takes and how the procedure develops depends on the type of the implant and the condition of your jaw. Dental implants generally involve several different procedures. Waiting periods between procedures are necessary because the jawbone needs to heal between surgeries.
Advantages of Implants
Many people with broken or missing teeth prefer implants over partial bridgework. With implants, people can eat and talk normally. Dental implants do not make noise like dentures or bridgework, and they are indistinguishable from regular teeth. The biggest advantage of implants over bridgework is that implants do not decay. Bridgework often needs to fit over existing teeth, and these teeth may decay thanks to the extra wear.
Risks of Dental Implants
There are a few risks to dental implant surgery, though it is generally well-tolerated. You may get an infection at the site of the implant. You may suffer damage or injury to nearby structures like other teeth or blood vessels. You may possibly experience nerve damage, causing tingling, numbness, or pain in your natural teeth, chin, lips, or gums. You may also have sinus problems, when implants in the upper jaw interfere with the sinus cavities.
Preparing for Dental Implants
First, you will need to have a comprehensive dental exam. Your dentist or oral surgeon will take complete X-rays and 3D images. They will also take a CAT scan. You will have models made of your jaw and teeth.
Your medical history will be reviewed. Your surgeon needs to know about all of your medical conditions and all of the medications you take. You may need antibiotics before surgery if you have orthopedic implants or heart conditions.
Your doctor will make a treatment plan for you that clearly lays out the process of getting dental implants.
Different types of anesthesia can be used for implant surgery. You can choose to have your procedure done with general anesthesia, sedation, or local anesthetics. Your oral surgeon will be able to help you decide which option is the best for you. You will receive instructions on how to care for your gums and teeth before and after the surgery.
If you are having sedation or general anesthesia, you will need someone to drive you to and from the appointment. You will also need someone to be at home with you for several hours to make sure you are all right. You will need to take a rest until the next day.
What to Expect from Dental Implant Surgery
The multi-step process begins with the removal of the damaged teeth. The jawbone must often be prepared for the process, with bone grafting if necessary. The implant itself will be placed in another surgery. The bone will need to grow and heal before the next step. The abutment will be placed next, followed by the crown or artificial tooth.
Bone grafting may be needed if your jawbone is too soft or not thick enough for the procedure. Bone grafts can come from another location in the body. They can also be made of synthetic material or bovine bone material.
The oral surgeon will make an incision in the gum to access the bone. They will drill a hole in the bone to place the metal post for the implant. This metal post will replace the root of the original tooth, so it will be placed deep in the gum.
After this first surgery, you will have a gap in your mouth. You can have a temporary partial denture installed which can be removed for cleaning and sleep.
The second surgery involves placing the abutment. This is the metal part where the crown will be attached. The surgeon needs to make another incision in the gum so the implant is exposed. The abutment is attached, then the gum tissue is closed around it.
After the gums have healed, you can get your replacement teeth. The two types of replacement teeth are removable and fixed teeth. Removable teeth are similar to full plate dentures. They snap into place and can be taken out for cleaning. Fixed implants behave the most like natural teeth. You may even be able to have several teeth replaced with one implant.
Swelling, bruising, pain, and minor bleeding may occur. You may need to have painkillers or antibiotics. You will need to eat soft foods after each stage of the surgery.
Your New Healthy Smile
Many people who have dental implants say that it greatly improves their self-esteem and their quality of life. Oral surgeons like Dr. Rupinder Dhadli of Westside OMS are experts at preparing and installing dental implants and can answer any questions you may have about the procedure. Dr. Dhadli recommends that all patients with broken or missing teeth consider getting dental implants.