Dental Implants: An Introduction

Dental implant surgery is a procedure that uses posts and artificial teeth to replace missing teeth. Dental implants are usually used to replace missing teeth from tooth decay or injury or can act as an alternative to dentures. It is a bit of a process but for people who are missing one or more teeth, have a desire to improve their speech, or are unable to wear dentures, dental implants may be something to consider. This procedure is not categorized as cosmetic dentistry, however, most insurance do not cover the procedure.

There are several benefits to getting dental implants such as improved speech, gained self-confidence, easier eating habits, better oral health, etc. But getting dental surgery can be scary. There are a number of people who don’t even go to their bi-annual visits because they don’t know what goes when they’re in the dental chair. It can be helpful to know the dental procedure step-by-step and how to prepare for dental surgery.

What To Expect:

  1. Everyone is different, so first you and your dentist will be having a discussion to figure out the best implant option for you. Note: Your dentist will check to see that you have healthy gums and enough bone to support your implant- these are two important, critical factors before going on with the procedure.
  2. At the start of the procedure, bone grafting might be necessary. As mentioned above, enough bone to support your jaw is very important, the surgery will not be successful if your jaw is not strong enough. If gone grafting is not required, the implant will be placed at the location of the missing tooth, very close to the jaw.
  3. After your implant bonds to your jawbone (this stage can take several months), your dentist will attach a small connector post to hold the new tooth. This small connector post is called an abutment.
  4. Your dentist will be taking a mold to make an impression of your teeth. This is to get a model of how you bite and how your teeth are arranged so that your new implant will not feel like much of a difference.
  5. Finally, the new tooth will be attached to the abutment, and your dentist will try and match the color of your teeth.

It is normal to experience pain and swelling after each stage of the procedure. Eating soft foods for the first week or two is normal after each stage as well as taking pain meds or antibiotics. It is important that you continue to brush and floss regularly but be a bit more gentle. If you experience prolonged bleeding or you have discomfort at the site of your implant, it may be a good idea to consult with your dentist.

Your dental implant procedure might look slightly different, but the framework will look the same. If you are feeling nervous about the procedure, ask your dentist to tell you what he’s doing step-by-step.

Have any of you readers gotten dental implants? Tell me all about your experience in the comments.

Thu Nguyen is a writer for Austin Oral Surgery, an oral surgery clinic in and around Austin, Texas. Thu thinks dental implants are really interesting.