Dental implants are metallic screws fused with the jawbone to provide support for artificial teeth. They are usually implanted through dental implant surgery. The surgery takes several steps and could take some months for your jaw to heal completely.
Like all surgeries, dental implant surgery comes with several risks. However, with the right care and procedures, you can have an eventless surgery and recovery.
At Encino Dental Implant, we focus on proving the most natural and aesthetic dental implants. We take time when installing the implants to minimize and prevent damage to neighboring teeth and infection on the site of surgery. If you are concerned about your dental implant surgery, read on to familiarize yourself with the procedure.
Dental Implant Surgery Definition and Purpose
The popularity of dental implants has grown over the years since its invention. The procedures for inserting dental procedures have also improved significantly. Dental implant surgery is one of the most successful ways of placing dental implants with a success rate of 98%.
Dental implant surgery is a tooth replacement procedure through which the dentist inserts a metal post into your jawbone to form the root of the artificial tooth. Dental implant surgery is a suitable alternative that imitates natural teeth structure.
You might need a dental implant surgery if:
- You have missing teeth
- Your teeth are damaged
- Your jawbone is fully developed (dental implant surgery cannot be performed on children whose gums and jaws are still developing)
- You have the adequate bone structure to support the implant
- Your oral tissues are healthy
- You do not want, or cannot wear dentures
- You do not smoke
- Your overall physical health is good
- To improve your speech (implants imitate the natural structure of your teeth and are firm, therefore, do not affect your speech as dentures would)
Dental implants are made of titanium, which fuses with the bone, becoming a part of your teeth. They are strong and can last a lifetime with proper dental care. Dental implants also offer support to dental bridges.
While the procedure is simple, it is relatively costlier than other tooth replacement options. However, its durability and endurance are worth the cost. The actual cost of the procedure varies depending on factors such as:
- The number of implants required
- The type of implant
- The location of the implant
- The material used for the implant
- Your dental insurance
On average, the procedure costs between $3,000 and $4500. The cost can rise to more than $50,000 for a full-mouth restoration. Most insurance companies do not cover costs for dental implants. Some will, however, help you pay for the crown. Before undergoing the procedure, talk to your insurance provider to determine whether they will help with the bill.
Dental implant surgery is a relatively simple oral surgery procedure. However, the number of steps involved depends on factors such as:
- Whether you need bone grafting
- The teeth that need to be extracted
- The type of implant
- The health of your jawbone
The procedure takes several steps, such as:
Not everyone qualifies for a dental implant. In some cases, you might need an implant that is different from that of your friends. During the first consultation, the dentist will examine your mouth to determine whether you need any dental procedures such as extraction before the surgery.
The dentist will also conduct x-rays and other imaging tests to evaluate the quality of your bone. He or she will also determine whether you have sufficient and healthy bone tissue to support a dental implant.
The dentist will advise you on the best implant then prepare a custom treatment plan to meet your dental needs. The treatment plan will include different experts who incorporate their knowledge and skills in creating the most effective treatment plan.
Removal of Damaged Teeth
Dental implants are used to replace both damaged and lost teeth. Teeth are damaged due to decay and periodontal diseases. When preparing you for dental surgery, the dentist evaluates your teeth to identify those that require an implant.
Before the placement of the dental implant, the dentist has to extract any tooth that needs replacement. The doctor extracts your teeth under local anesthesia. He or she will loosen the teeth then remove it.
The procedure for removing the teeth depends on whether the tooth is visible. Visible teeth require a simple extraction procedure. However, an invisible or partially visible will require surgical removal.
Surgical tooth extraction involves making an incision in the tooth to expose the tooth. The dentist might remove the tooth in segments for large teeth. Depending on your jawbone density, the dentist may attach an implant immediately.
However, if you need first to recover, the dentist will place gauze on the point of extraction. The gauze controls bleeding and soaks up the blood. He or she will require you to bite down the gauze until you stop bleeding.
Preparation of the Jawbone
The jawbone serves as a support system for the dental implant. It must be strong and big enough to accommodate the implant. When your teeth are damaged, then the gum naturally begins to thin. It gradually loses its density such that it cannot support teeth or an implant.
The dentist will evaluate your gum to determine whether you need a bone grafting procedure. A CT scan is an ideal way of checking the density of your jawbone.
Your teeth need support as you chew; therefore, the implant must be rooted in jawbones that are thick and firm. If you have a soft jawbone or a thin jaw, then the dentist will perform a jawbone graft.
If your teeth need extraction and jaw grafting, then the dentist will perform the procedure in the same seating. The bone for the procedure could be taken from another part of your body or synthetic bone graft materials.
The bone grafting process involves cleaning out the gum and teeth to remove bacteria and possible sources of infection. In most cases, bone loss in the jawbone results from gum disease and poor dental hygiene. Once the jawbone is ready, the dentist will attach the graft to stimulate new bone growth.
The bone graft will take months to grow to the depth required to support an implant. Once it attains the right depth, the dentist will place the implant.
In some cases, the dentist can use the sinus lift technique to prepare your jawbone. A sinus lift is done when the jawbone has lost its depth due to the loss of upper back teeth. The dentist will insert a bone underneath your sinus to provide support.
Another technique of preparing the jawbone for the insertion of dental implants is ridge expansion. In this technique, the dentist adds bone material to space (ridge) created on the top of the jaw to widen the jaw.
Placement of the Implant
Dentist place an implant after the bone has developed sufficient depth to support the implant. You can choose from different types of implants, including:
- Endosteal implants, which are inserted in your jawbone
- Subperiosteal implants, which are placed under the gum and on or above the jawbone. These are ideal for people who do not want a bone graft and lack the required jawbone depth
The placement of an implant involves screwing the metal post into the jawbone. The dentist can then place an artificial tooth immediately or leave the implant to integrate with the jawbone (Osseointegration)
It takes several months for the jawbone to heal and develop around the implant. The lower jaw takes a relatively shorter time to heal compared to the upper jaw.
Placement of an Abutment
An abutment is an attachment placed on the implant to provide support to an artificial tooth. Dentists place abutments after the jaw has healed from the placement of the implant.
Placing an abutment involved:
- Reopening the gum to expose the implant
- Attaching the abutment to the dental implant
- Closing the gum tissue around the abutment
The dentist can place the abutment at the same time as the implant. If placed after the healing of the jawbone, then you must wait at least two weeks before getting an artificial tooth.
Placement of the Artificial Tooth
Implants function as a stable base for artificial teeth and dentures. These teeth are placed on the abutment – the protrusion attached to the implant.
Placing the artificial tooth is the last step in dental implant surgery. The placement of the artificial tooth begins with the dentist taking an impression of your teeth and mouth. The impression will be the basis for creating a crown that will blend in with the rest of your teeth. Most artificial teeth are customized to fit your bite, as well.
The dentist can create three types of crowns:
- Fixed crowns which cannot be removed from the mouth, to clean or when sleeping
- Removable crowns that can be removed for cleaning or sleeping. Removable crowns resemble partial dentures
- A combination of fixed and removable artificial teeth
The choice of teeth depends on your needs and preferences. In most cases, your dentist will choose a tooth that matches the color of your natural teeth. This ensures uniformity throughout your mouth.
Every surgery, including dental implant surgery, has the risk of a complication developing. The most common risk associated with dental implant surgery is the infection of the insertion site.
The infection can develop during any stage of the process when bacteria or disease-causing microorganisms enter the jaw. For instance, during an extraction, the risk of infection is high.
Another common complication is damage or injury to surrounding teeth and tissues. When these are damaged, you might experience additional problems such as bleeding. Where teeth are damaged, you have to start treating them or replace them.
Some people experience nerve damage during surgery. The common characteristics of nerve damage include numbing and tingling of the facial muscles. In other cases, the implant can protrude into your sinus, causing discomfort.
Planning for the Surgery
Planning for dental implant surgery requires both financial and physical preparation. The first step in preparing for the surgery is visiting a dentist for an evaluation. Dental evaluations determine the appropriateness of an implant as a treatment option. The dentist will often examine your dental and overall health. During the dental visit, inquire into the cost of the procedure to determine what you can afford.
Most people are concerned about the activities they can engage in to prepare for dental implant surgery. Here are some tips:
- Rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash before the procedure
- Ask the dentist the type of sedation you will have. Do not eat before at least 12 hours a dental implant surgery where the dentist will use IV sedation.
- Take antibiotics (prescribed by your dentist) before the surgery to reduce bacteria in the mouth. Dentists usually provide antibiotics if you have a suppressed or weak immunity. These antibiotics prevent infection after the surgery.
- Talk to the dentist about any medication you are taking. Some medications may interact with the anesthesia used or affect the healing process. You should also notify the dentist if you are on treatment for cancer.
- Prepare for transport to and from the dentist’s office. After the procedure, you might be unfit to drive due to the anesthesia.
- Prepare for after-surgery care by stocking up on foods, help around the house, childcare, and work. Organize your activities and delegate to give you sufficient time for the procedure and the recovery.
When preparing for the after-surgery period, make a meal plan that will include healthy and soft foods. These foods must require little to no swallowing, especially for the first few weeks — plan for nutritious soups, broths, and foods that will provide you with nutrients and promote recovery.
Before the surgery, make sure you are well-rested. You could also schedule your activities so that you have sufficient rest after the procedure.
During the procedure, your dentist will bring in a team of an expert dealing with matters related to dentistry. These experts will each provide their knowledge, skills, and expertise in ensuring that you receive the best treatment. Therefore, you can go into the dentist’s office, knowing you have made the right decision.
Recovery happens at all stages of dental implant surgery. For instance, you might have to recover from tooth extraction, jawbone graft, and insertion of the abutment and implant.
The recovery period is one when you should take care and observe any warning signs that could indicate problems with the surgery. Usually, the right post-surgery care will help you prevent most complications that arise from dental implant surgery. Your dentist will provide you with instructions on the dos and don'ts of recovery. You must follow these instructions in addition to maintaining healthy dental habits.
Understanding what happens during the surgery will help you prepare and manage your symptoms adequately. However, do not expect to experience or symptoms. In some cases, you might develop complications, but these are not damning, as well.
After the surgery, you will; experience several symptoms, including:
- Swollen gums
- Bruised skin and gums
- Pain at the site
- Minor bleeding
These symptoms are common and can happen at any stage of the dental implant surgery. Your dentist can recommend medications and antibiotics to relieve the symptoms. If you are taking medication, avoid that which has aspirin. Aspirin is a blood thinner, which increases the risks of severe bleeding.
Sometimes, you might experience signs that indicate a serious underlying condition. These conditions, when not treated immediately, could lead to serious complications, including dental implant failure. They include:
- Pain that gets worse or is uncontrollable
- Severe bleeding
- Excessive swelling
- Worsening fever
- Allergic reactions to any medication
These symptoms could indicate that you have a dental implant infection. Dental implant infections happen to almost half of the patients, calling for a higher standard when caring for your teeth post-surgery.
Such infections can lead to severe bone loss and implant failure. Deal with any infection as soon as you suspect one. Prompt action can prevent incidents such as:
- The weakening of your jawbone
- Removal of the jawbone
- Tooth loss
- Infection of soft tissues and sinuses
Your dentist can give you antibiotics to deal with the infection. In some cases, he or she will have to replace the implant.
Recovering from a dental implant surgery varies from one person to another depending on:
- The number of implants you receives
- The steps involved in the procedure (do you need bone grafting)
- Your commitment to adhering to the conditions set by your dentist
- Your mouth’s and body’s natural healing ability
During the recovery process, you can take several steps to speed up or facilitate a healthy recovery. These include:
- Eating soft foods that require light chewing. Eat pureed foods in the first two weeks after the procedure to prevent the application of pressure on your jawbone. Avoid sticky foods as well as they require more chewing.
- Avoid smoking tobacco, cannabis, or smokeless products to prevent failure of your dental implants
- Avoid pulling or lifting your lips to avoid tearing and irritation
- Avoid drinking using a straw to protect tissues in your mouth. Using a straw creates a vacuum in your mouth which can hurt the tissues in your mouth
- Blow your nose with your mouth open to prevent creating pressure in the sinus
- Avoid food that is too hot or spicy to prevent irritating your mouth
- Avoid alcohol which can delay the healing process and increase pain and swelling
- Take medication as instructed by your dentist
- Rinse with salt water for about three times daily
- Use a cold compress as needed
- Avoid disturbing the surgical areas
- Use a gentle toothbrush to clean your teeth gently
- Avoid heavy exercise immediately after the procedure to prevent heavy bleeding. Instead, engage in light exercises such as stretching and yoga. You can also talk to your dentist about the impact of your exercise routine on your recovery
The jawbone takes the longest recovery time in dental implant surgery. If the jawbone is fully healed, the dentist will place the artificial teeth. Once artificial teeth are in place, you can chew as usual.
Finally, attend all your dental appointments during the recovery periods. These appointments help the dentist monitor your recovery and healing. He or she can detect problems such as infections during these appointments.
Caring for Dental Implants
Caring for dental implants is not difficult. Dental implants require just as much care as natural teeth. The implant cannot decay, but the gums around it are still susceptible to damage. Therefore, you should uphold a healthy dental hygiene routine.
Your routine should include brushing at least twice a day and flossing regularly. You must brush around the implant as you would natural teeth. If you have a dental bridge, use a water flosser to clean underneath the tooth.
You should brush your teeth gently, avoiding the incision area up to a few days after the surgery. Your dentist will direct you on the best time to start cleaning the incision area.
Ideally, you should visit your dentist every six months for a dental cleaning. In addition to the recommended dental visits, the dentist will require you to make regular check-ins to ensure that you are healing properly. During these appointments, notify your dentist about any changes to your dental implant, discomfort, or unusual symptoms.
Find a Dental Implant Surgeon Near Me
Dental implant surgery is a common procedure, with millions of people having implants installed every year. The process takes several steps and experts from various fields of dentistry to complete. It also takes time to recover from the procedure.
At Encino Dental Implant, we focus on providing dental implants that match your dental needs. We conduct thorough evaluations of our patients to examine your dental health and develop a custom treatment plan.
We understand the core differences that exist between the oral health of our patients. Once we complete the evaluation and have a treatment plan for you, we begin the procedure. We value our clients and provide them with detailed information to help them make the right decision. If you are considering dental implants, contact us at 818-810-7535 for a consultation.