A dental visit to replace missing teeth is much more common than you may think. Each year, thousands of people find themselves having to replace a damaged or missing tooth due to events such as accidents, injuries, tooth decay, or gum disease.
Aside from affecting one’s appearance and self-confidence, a missing tooth or teeth can also affect a person’s ability to speak and eat. If the empty space is not dealt with in a timely manner, shifting of other teeth can occur which can lead to misalignment of the overall bite.
Thankfully there are several possible scenarios for tooth replacement with dental implants. Many of these options have become the top choice for replacement of missing teeth.
The Dental Implant Procedure
- The Initial Consult and Treatment Plan
Your dentist will discuss whether you are a good candidate for dental implants. If it is determined that you are, a thorough, personalized treatment plan will be developed and explained to you. At this stage you will learn exactly how to prepare for the procedure, and each step will be clearly explained to you. This is the perfect chance for you to express any concerns or ask any questions you may have.
- Extraction and Implant Placement
At this stage your dentist will remove the tooth that needs to be replaced. Once extracted, the dental implant, a small titanium screw that will act as a tooth root, will be surgically implanted into your jawbone.
Patients are often concerned about the pain involved in dental implant surgery. Rest assured that your dentist will numb the treatment area with a local anaesthetic, and you will no discomfort during the procedure. Your dental team takes your safety and comfort seriously and will do whatever they can to make you feel comfortable.
- Healing Period
The dental implant procedure was successful, and now it’s time for you to heal. To make recovery as smooth as possible, follow your post-care instructions carefully. You should only experience mild discomfort after the procedure, and this can be handled with an icepack or over-the-counter pain medications.
- Recovery Time
During this 6-to-12-week recovery time, your implant will fuse with your jawbone. While your jawbone heals, new bone tissue will grow around the implant, securing it into place. This step is crucial in the success of your implant placement, so it is important to follow your dentist’s instructions carefully. You will need to keep your mouth extremely clean, and your gums healthy.
- Abutment and Crown Placement
Once you have healed completely, you will head back to your dentist to have the abutment and crown placed. An abutment is a small post that connects the crown (tooth) to the implant. This part of the implant process is quick and requires little to no anesthesia.
As for caring for your new dental implant, all you have to do is maintain good oral hygiene and enjoy your newly restored smile!