You may be thinking about getting your missing tooth replaced so that you can smile confidently again without thinking of any flaw showing off. That is the beauty of getting dental implants; they restore your smile using a stable and natural-looking dental appliance that is tried-and-tested to last a long time. Just how does a dental implant surgery happen and what should I expect before, during, and after this surgical tooth replacement procedure?
Dental implant surgery: Before the operation
As we all know, dental implants are the only restorative dental option that is surgically performed to become a permanent replacement for your missing tooth or teeth. This fact is the very reason why rigid assessment and examination is needed to determine if you are a good candidate and if the procedure suits your dental condition. Before settling for dental; implant surgery, your dentist will require you to undergo a comprehensive physical assessment, including blood tests, imaging, and interview to determine your medical history, pre-existing conditions, and the general condition of your dental health.
The dentist or oral surgeon that you choose to perform your operation will do a thorough dental evaluation, including X-rays, scans, and teeth models to ensure the dental implants will directly match the aesthetics of your natural teeth. The condition of your jaw bone will also be assessed in relation to how many teeth you plan on having replaced with implants. This part of the process is also to determine whether you would need additional procedures to make dental implant surgery effective and successful. For instance, to make the dental implants sturdy and effectively fused to the jaws, bone grafts need to be performed before undergoing the implant surgery for patients with limited jaw bone material. Planning this process may either be smooth-sailing for some people, but would also be complex for other because it could involve several types of dental specialists to jump in for a consultation, which may include a oral and maxillofacial surgeon or a periodontist.
The initial consultation also covers the discussion about what your expectations would be regarding the procedure and the results of the surgery. The surgeon or dentist would explain what needs to be done in the operating chair during your dental implant surgery, what you should expect to be feeling, what materials are going to be used, and what symptoms and post-operative complaints may be possibly felt after the operation. He can also touch on the healthy and realistic expectations that you may have regarding the process. Let this be a warning; dental implant surgery is not a one-time thing. It is a series of dental consultations, imaging and tests, and 2 or 3 surgeries before it is completed. Your dentist should be willing to divulge all the important steps of your journey to you even before it starts so you wouldn’t feel alarmed or uninformed in the middle of your dental implant experience.
Dental implant surgery: During the operation
As mentioned earlier, the whole dental implant surgery is a series of in-and-out visits with your dentist, and this would more or less take months, depending on your needs and dental health. Let us discuss the basics of the dental implant surgery first.
A typical implant surgery involves undergoing the initial surgery under local anesthesia with sedation or under general anesthesia, whichever is deemed necessary by your dentist. This first operation is done to embed or place the screw-like metal post deep into your gum and jaw. This part of the implant is the one that acts as the foundation of the tooth replacement. The dentist rests that area for a few weeks or months until he is sure that the metal post is accepted by the body and is stably fused to the jaw bone.
The next procedure entails either another surgery or a simple placement of the abutment or connector to the end of the implant. This metal component anchors the crown to the implant. There are some types of dental implants that get fully embedded under the gums during the initial surgery, so the dentist needs to cut the gum open to expose the end part where the abutment needs to be attached. Meanwhile, there are also dental implants that already have the post and the connected attached together, so the need for additional surgery is unnecessary.
When the abutment is already in place and the gums are fully healed, the crown or the fake tooth is now attached to it. This artificial replacement may be made with porcelain or composite resin which is tooth-colored and is customized to accurately resembles the missing tooth. This unique characteristic makes dental implants the best natural-looking restorative dental appliance.
What to expect after the dental implant surgery
Here are some reminders that we want to impart to those who are interested in undergoing the implant procedure.
- Keep in mind that the surgery to place dental implants takes several hours, and more than one procedure is needed or required. Anyone who is worried about the increased risk for infection this procedure may entail may not want to choose dental implants as their dental appliance.
- Follow a stricter dental hygiene routine. As mentioned, several surgeries are required for this procedure, so if you stick with your regular brushing habits and not adjust to the risks that this procedure may cause, a higher chance of encountering complications may be possible.
- Not everyone can have dental implants. Some people are advised to postpone a dental implant surgery procedure, especially if you are pregnant or if your jawbones are not fully developed yet. Moreover, if you have specific chronic illnesses involving your healing or bleeding capabilities, undergoing the rigorous dental implant surgery may not be recommended. Always discuss your concerns with your dentist so they can give you other options and ideas.