What is the Dental Implant Procedure?
If you are missing a tooth or teeth, it is important to seek dental care as soon as you can to determine what treatment option is best suited for your needs. During this initial evaluation, your dentist or periodontist will perform a thorough examination of your gums and teeth to determine the underlying cause of the loss of your tooth (provided the tooth was not knocked out due to physical trauma). Once the underlying cause is determined, diagnostic exams will be taken to determine if you currently have a sufficient amount of jawbone to adequately support a dental implant. If not, a dental bridge may be recommended, provided the teeth surrounding the gap are healthy, or you may be a candidate for a dental bone graft or sinus lift, which uses grafting material to restore your jawbone.
If you are a viable candidate for dental implants, your procedure will begin with administration of an anesthetic and/or sedation to limit or eliminate discomfort. Next, a titanium post is placed in your jawbone and a temporary tooth is attached. This will conclude the first part of the dental implant process. Following this, it will take approximately 2-6 months for the titanium post to fuse with your jawbone. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to speed this process up, but it is still important to practice good oral hygiene habits during this waiting period.
Once the post has fully integrated with your jawbone, your dentist or periodontist will attach the abutment to the implant, after which, the crown is attached to the abutment. Finally, your dentist or periodontist will examine the new tooth and ensure that it looks natural and your occlusion is correct. Once they are satisfied with the look and placement, the dental implant process will be complete!
Pros and Cons of Dental Implants
Having a dental implant placed can take quite some time and will cost a significant amount of money, compared to other treatment options. As such, it is important to consider the pros and cons of dental implants when deciding which treatment option to pursue.
Some of the pros of dental implants include:
- Creates a natural looking smile
- Long lasting solution that provides permanent results
- Can be cared for just like natural teeth
- Surrounding teeth do not need to be prepped or ground down
- Reduced risk of bone loss
- Feels like natural teeth
- Does not affect your speech
- Restores your ability to enjoy all types of food
Some of the cons of dental implants include:
- Multiple visits over a period of time
- Small risk of developing an infection
- May require additional procedures, such as a sinus lift and/or bone graft
- Costlier than dentures or other treatment options
In addition to weighing these pros and cons, it is also important to schedule an appointment to discuss treatment options with your dentist or periodontist, as they can provide you with professional insight into whether you are a viable candidate for dental implants, and if so, whether it is the optimal treatment to meet your needs. This consultation will also provide you with an opportunity to ask any questions you may have, such as the cost involved, what procedural steps will be taken, and aftercare instructions you will need to follow throughout the dental implant process.