You may feel that your missing teeth look unattractive, but did you know they can have a long-term impact on your health? They put neighboring teeth at greater risk of decay and can cause all your teeth to shift over time, which causes headaches, jaw pain, and chewing difficulty.
You may have considered implants as a solution for one or more missing teeth, but perhaps you think dental implants hurt or do not offer a long-term solution. Fortunately, our surgical team are experts in dental implant surgery who deliver a smooth healing process while minimizing pain.
Unlike bridges, partials, or dentures, dental implants are the only permanent solution for a tooth you have lost to decay, trauma, or another reason. You don’t have to worry about dental implants sliding around in your mouth or falling out while you speak. They are not cumbersome to clean, and you can eat all the foods you love once the implant heals.
There are other benefits you may not have considered. First, implants prevent your bone from receding. If you are missing a natural tooth, your jawbone will start to deteriorate around the empty space. Second, dental implants can prevent your teeth from moving due to a missing tooth. What’s more, some implants are compatible with orthodontic treatments like Invisalign.
Most importantly, dental implants restore your confidence. They improve your smile and prevent a sunken, hollow appearance in your face.
Our oral surgery practice offers two types of implants, endosteal and subperiosteal.
The most common type of implant, endosteal implants, are shaped like a small screw. The implant is surgically placed into your jawbone, and a replacement tooth is affixed to it. It is the best option if you already have dentures or a dental bridge.
If you don’t have enough natural bone to hold an endosteal implant and don’t want a bone graft procedure, you would need a subperiosteal implant. An implant screw does not go into the bone. Instead, a metal frame sits over the jawbone below the gum. The frame has several metal rods that hold the prosthetic tooth in place.
To prepare for dental implant surgery, take a few simple steps to help improve your aftercare experience.
The dental implant procedure requires multiple steps. Our team will discuss each step with you in detail. Here’s an overview.
Some patients must have a tooth or teeth removed several weeks before the surgical procedure.
If you don’t have enough bone in your jaw, you may need a bone graft procedure. We will discuss this with you during your consultation.
Implant placement is the first step. The method will depend on whether you’re having endosteal or subperiosteal implants. For endosteal implants, your surgeon drills holes in the jawbone and inserts the post.
After the dental implant is placed, you will wait two to six months while new bone grows around the screw. The process is called osseointegration. The bone in your jaw adheres to the implant, allowing the rod to function as a natural tooth root.
The next step is placing the abutment, or the metal piece to which the artificial tooth will attach. Your oral surgeon will open your gum to expose the implant. The abutment is then attached to the implant, and the gum tissue is closed around it. The procedure is minor and requires only local anesthesia.
Once your gums heal, your surgical team will take an impression of your teeth. This mold will be used to create the permanent tooth. You’ll be able to choose between permanently fixed or removable teeth. Fixed teeth are cemented to the abutment; removable teeth can be taken out for your at-home oral hygiene routine.
Like any surgical procedure, you will probably feel some discomfort after your implant placement. After the anesthesia wears off, you’re likely to experience pain. Even so, the dental implant pain should subside quickly, especially with the help of painkillers, ice packs, and appropriate aftercare.
Healing depends on several factors. First, if you require bone grafting or multiple tooth extractions, the timeline will take longer. Second, if you have multiple implants, healing takes longer.
Grafting may be required if you do not have enough natural jaw bone to support the implant. If this is the case, the healing process will require another four to six months to allow the graft time to infuse.
If natural teeth are extracted due to decay or gum disease, the gums will need to heal before the implant process can advance. In some cases, the implant can be inserted immediately after extraction. Still, your mouth will need a few weeks to heal before abutment placement.
Like any surgery, there are some side effects.
Minor bleeding will occur after this surgery. Pink-tinged saliva for two or three days is normal. If heavier bleeding occurs at the implant site, you can bite on damp gauze to stop the bleeding. If it persists, contact your surgeon for a check-up.
Some swelling will be evident 24 hours after surgery. It could last for a week to 10 days. The level of pain you experience should not be significant. Painkillers and ice packs will help.
Prescription narcotic pain relievers can make you feel drowsy. It’s best to stop taking prescription medications and switch to over-the-counter medication as soon as possible after the procedure.
It’s not common, but implant failure does occur. However, with the proper care, implants have a very high success rate and are the best tooth replacement option available today. Proper aftercare and follow-up visits with our team will ensure your dental implant procedure is a success.
It will take a few weeks to completely heal. During that time, it’s important to take good care of your mouth by following our guidelines. Otherwise, you could experience significant dental implant pain or even implant failure.
Following surgery, good oral health is vital, but there are some rules to follow. Don’t brush your teeth, rinse your mouth, or spit for the first 24 hours after the procedure. On days 2 and 3, you should brush twice daily, but avoid your gums and surgical sites. Gently rinse your mouth using warm salt water, especially after meals. Starting on the fourth day, you can begin brushing with a little more force. Continue to take care around surgical sites until you are healed.
For the first 24 hours, avoid hot foods or drinks. Consuming hot soup, coffee, or the like can damage the surgical sites. Stick to soft, room-temperature, or cool foods. Applesauce, pudding, and gelatin are great options. After the anesthesia wears off, you can gradually eat solid foods, but make not to chew on incision sites.
Rest and relax for a few days after surgery. Your body needs strength to heal, so pushing yourself too hard will delay the healing process.
More than 3 million Americans have boosted their confidence and restored their ability to eat the foods they love with dental implant surgery. Schedule an appointment to learn more about the permanent replacement for missing teeth!