Dental implant surgery is a procedure that replaces the roots of your tooth with small metal screws. The screws replace damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function like real ones.
There is not just one way of performing dental implant surgery. It all depends on the type of implant and the condition of your jawbone and may involve several procedures. The significant benefit of implants is to support your new teeth; this is a process that requires the bone to heal tightly around the implant.
Dental Implant Surgery Procedure
Dental implant surgery is performed in several steps and greatly depends on the kind of implant you’re getting and the health of your jawbone. The process requires the jawbone to heal tightly around the dental implant area absorbing it into the gumline as if it were a natural tooth.
Dental implants are surgically placed within the jawbone and serve as the root of the artificial tooth. Dentists often use Titanium for this procedure because it fuses the implant with the jawbone, remains firmly in place, and won’t decay.
Dental implants require several surgical procedures; your dentist or oral surgeon will conduct a complete and thorough evaluation, including X-rays and creating teeth models, to ensure the dental implants will closely match your natural teeth.
Your dentist will then review the condition of your jawbone to decide how many teeth you plan on having replaced with implants. This planning process could involve several dental specialists, and they will then discuss your surgical anaesthesia options. Your dental team also might provide a list of dos and don’ts that you should adhere to leading up to the surgery.
If you haven’t already, arrange for a friend or family member to drive you to and from the surgery because you’ll be in no condition to drive yourself after the procedure. Expect to be in “full rest” mode for the rest of the day following the surgery.
During the Surgery
Dental implant surgery is often done in several stages, requiring the jawbone to heal entirely around the implant before proceeding. The first step is to remove the teeth if they haven’t already been removed. Next, the dentist will need to prep the area by bone grafting.
Dental Implant Surgery and Bone Grafting
An oral surgeon will prep the area where the implants will go by using bone grafting. This is where a tiny bit of bone or other material is transplanted to solidify the jawbone’s implant base. If bone grafting is needed, the healing process can take at least four to six months before installing an implant. While the implant heals, you’ll wear a temporary denture to keep the appearance of an entire tooth. The denture will be removable and should be kept clean at all times.
Placing the Abutment
When the healing and osseointegration processes are complete, your dentist will install the abutment. The oral surgeon will reopen your gums so that the dental implant is exposed. They will then screw the abutment into the dental implant. The gum tissue is then closed back around the abutment and left to heal for one to two weeks. Later, the artificial tooth will be attached to the abutment.
Choosing your new artificial teeth
Once your gums have healed, your dentist will make more impressions of your mouth and the remaining teeth. These impressions are used to make the artificial tooth or crown for your dental implant. There are two main types of artificial teeth you’ll be able to choose from — a removable implant prosthesis or a fixed implant prosthesis.
Going the removable route is similar to a removable denture. It’s mounted on a metal frame that snaps securely onto the implant abutment. This artificial tooth is an excellent choice because it can be removed for cleaning or replacement, especially when several teeth have been removed and required dental implant replacements. It’s also a more secure and affordable option.
If you choose to get a fixed implant, the artificial tooth is very challenging to remove. It’s either permanently screwed onto the abutment or cemented down. If you have several teeth that require implants and money isn’t a concern, you can have all of them replaced in this manner – with each crown attached to its separate dental implant.
Discomfort is natural and expected after dental implant surgery. Here are some common side effects of dental surgery:
- Swelling of the face and gums
- Bruising of the gums or skin
- Pain at the site of your implant surgery
- Minor bleeding
If any of these symptoms worsen soon after surgery, contact your dentist immediately as it could indicate implant issues that need to be addressed by a professional.
To help you heal post-surgery, your dentist might advise eating soft foods, applying ice packs to relieve the swelling, and patience while the surgical site heals. As with any medical surgery, there can be complications post-surgery. Help prevent these by practising proper oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and cleaning between your teeth with interdental brushes or water flossers at least once a day. Make sure to attend regular dental office visits and examinations to stay on top of your oral health, avoid using smoking, avoid bad oral habits, such as chewing on ice or hard sweets.
Our team at Swedish Dental is here to guide you through getting dental implants and answering any questions you may have. If you think you might be a candidate for dental implants, talk to your dentist or oral surgeon about dental implant surgery. Take care of your teeth, and you can take on anything.