Dental implant surgery is used to replace damaged or missing teeth with prosthetic replacements that look, feel and act like natural teeth. When done properly, the procedure will restore a patient’s smile, as well as help, maintain their oral health.
The process is a complicated endeavour, and preparation and after-care are key to ensuring that the surgery and healing go smoothly. Hence, the team at Preston Dental would like you to know what exactly goes into dental implant surgery.
The dentist first needs to consider if the patient requires dental implant surgery first. That consideration can only come after a thorough examination. The dentist will take x-rays, perform a visual examination, and refer to the patient’s medical records before making that decision.
After the examination is complete, the dentist can make an informed decision on the way forward.
If the surgery is deemed necessary, the dentist can use the information gathered in the dental exam to ready the patient.
There are a wide number of factors that need to be considered before the surgery can occur. The patient’s current conditions, like allergies and immune system weaknesses, can have fatal effects if ignored. Medications that can interact badly with the anesthetic or negatively affect the procedure need to be taken into account. If the patient is in good medical shape, that can also inform the type of procedure performed.
The patient will also need to take some preparatory steps before the dental implant surgery. If a general anesthetic is required, the patient needs to fast for about 12 hours before the surgery. Arrangements for healing after the surgery should also be made at this point. A break from employment is recommended. Gathering soft foods and pain relief medication is also helpful. If the patient has children, arranging for help around the house is a helpful step
There might be variations depending on the specific needs of the patient but the general process of the surgery takes place in three stages.
The area in question is numbed with an anesthetic (usually a local one unless the situation calls for a general anesthetic). After the drug takes effect, the dentist uses an incision in the gums to expose the jaw bone. Then a drill is used to make an opening for the implant’s base. After the implant is in place, the gum incision is stitched up if necessary.
In a few months, the implant will fuse to the jaw bone and heal. Then the dentist can proceed with the next stage. They will expose the implant with another incision to place the abutment on the base and take impressions for the crown.
This step will take several appointments to get the right look and fit for your teeth and meet the dentist’s specifications. A trial procedure may be necessary to allow the dentist to ensure that the process is successful.
When complete, the implant will look indistinguishable from other teeth in the patient’s mouth.
The period needed to fully recover varies based on the procedure performed and the patient. If multiple teeth were replaced and a bone graft was needed, that will take longer to heal than a single tooth replacement.
Swelling and pain around the affected area are expected but it usually recedes on the third day. Most over-the-counter pain medications can provide relief during this period. Ice packs and warm compresses can also help with swelling.
Patients should stick to soft foods until the healing is complete. Teeth cleaning should be handled carefully to avoid damage to the affected area that could extend the healing process.
Post-surgery checkups are also required to ensure that no complications have developed. The first appointment is usually a week or two after the initial placement. In six weeks, the dentist will ensure that the gums are healing properly. The three-month appointment will involve scans to make sure the implant isn’t causing bone loss in the patient’s jaw. The next appointments occur at six months and then annually for the next three years.
Dental implant surgery is a complex process with obvious benefits for those who need it. Its ability to restore smiles and maintain oral health is invaluable.
Please contact us if you need any dental health care procedures. Preston Dental Centre prides itself on using a patient-centered approach to guarantee the best possible results. Our staff will make sure you are as comfortable as possible for every appointment, giving you the care you need and the smile you deserve.