Many options exist for replacing teeth, ranging from temporary and inexpensive to permanent and costly. Dental implants are admittedly a significant investment, but are generally considered the best solution for replacing a single tooth or all of your teeth.
Dental implants consist of posts made of titanium and other materials that are compatible and accepted by the human body. These posts are surgically placed in the jaw, and are capped with dental crowns that can match your existing teeth, or build you a new and beautiful smile.
The entirety of the dental implant procedure process may seem overwhelming, but rest assured, your smile will look great and feel natural after the process is over.
What happens before the dental implant procedure?
Dental Implant Consultation
The implants process will begin with an initial dental implant consultation. During this consultation, your dentist will evaluate your need for tooth replacement, and discuss the possible risks with the procedure. During your consultation, the dentist, or a related specialist, such as a maxillofacial surgeon, will also discuss your existing medications or medical conditions which may affect the procedure.
You may also discuss any questions you might still have, such as financing options and aftercare.
Note: The best time for a tooth implant is closer to the extraction of the tooth. If a tooth is missing, jaw bone density may decay, making it more difficult to place a dental implant over time.
Dental Implant Examination
If you have scheduled a procedure after your initial consultation, an examination will take place in preparation for the procedure. This exam will be used to evaluate the health of your jaw bone, and ensure that your jaw bone is healthy enough for dental implants. This is done with a 3-D CT scan. Impressions of your teeth will also be taken to ensure the ideal outcome for your smile.
During the examination, your dentist will determine whether or not a bone graft is required for a successful implant procedure.
What happens during the dental implant procedure?
Immediately before the procedure:
Anaesthetic: If you will be under IV sedation during the procedure, you will be instructed to not eat or drink anything for 8 to 12 hours. Sedation will also require you to arrange a ride to and from the appointment. If your procedure is taking place with only local anesthesia, there are no restrictions on what you can eat or drink.
Do your best to get a full night of sleep the night before your procedure. Rest assured that you are in good hands!
During the procedure:
Most patients consider the process relatively comfortable compared to their expected discomfort. Most discomfort involved in the procedure is mitigated by anesthesia, and supplemented pain medications.
The procedure typically takes place in one day. In certain situations, the implants may be placed in a single procedure, and followed by a follow-up procedure in which your permanent crowns are installed on the implants post.
How long does recovery take after the dental implant procedure?
Time spent in recovery: The rest of the day after surgery should be spent recovering. You will likely receive a prescription for pain medication. The pain medication will work in tandem with regular icing to control your swelling. You may also receive antibiotics to help prevent infection following your dental implant procedure. Your recovery may take 1-3 days. Ask your dentist how long they recommend you take off from work.
You won’t be completely back to “normal” for 1 to 2 weeks after the surgery, but you won’t have to spend much more than a few days to fully recover.
Food: Make sure to prepare soft foods before your dental implant procedure. Foods like soups, smoothies, or other nutrient-dense soft foods will help you through your recovery.
Care during recovery: You may experience some bleeding after, so make sure to keep a piece of gauze on hand. The sutures used are dissolvable, and won’t require you to make an appointment for removal.
Dental Hygiene: It is essential to maintain immaculate oral hygiene during your recovery. If not properly cared for, dental implants may cause swelling of your gum tissue, and may lead to implant failure. Regular follow-ups should be scheduled with your dentist to track your progress.
Getting Sick: If you get sick following your implant procedure, be sure to contact your dentist. The illness may be unrelated to the procedure, but it’s better to stay safe and speak with your dentist as soon as possible.
Getting adjusted to implants: Make sure to keep your health in order to ensure healthy gums and protect your new teeth. This includes the standard array of classic dental tips: floss regularly, brush regularly, and avoid smoking. Your implant tooth/teeth will have to be maintained as normal in the years after the procedure. Be sure to schedule appointments with your dentist every six months, or as recommended.
If you’re interested in dental implants, please contact us at Boston Dental Group. We look forward to seeing you soon!