If you are considering dental implant surgery, you probably have a lot of questions and, possibly, concerns. For starters, you should understand that there are different types of dental implants. Your dentist, working with his team of dental professionals experienced in oral surgery and restorative dentistry, will choose the most suitable one for your specific situation.
An ideal candidate for the procedure should be in good general and oral health, preferably without the signs of the periodontal disease. The state of your gum tissue is critical for the success of the surgery. That is why your dentist should have a periodontist in his dental implant team.
For dental implant surgery to be successful, you must have enough bone to hold the implant. If needed, bone augmentation can be performed, either as a separate procedure, or at the time of your dental surgery.
Having dental implants inserted takes several months. You may be disheartened to learn that the dental implant procedure involves having more than one operation. In most cases, “staged surgery” procedure is performed, so you will need to be patient. The results should be well worth it, and with adequate oral care on your part, your implants should last you a lifetime!
In the first stage, the tooth root implant is inserted into the bone socket of a missing tooth underneath your gum. This replaces your own tooth root. It will take six to twelve weeks for your jawbone to heal and grow around the implant, anchoring it into the jaw. After the healing period, the implant is surgically exposed by removing some of the gum.
The following step involves attaching an abutment that will hold your new tooth. Finally, after the gum has healed around the abutment, the replacement tooth is inserted into it. In some cases, these two stages can be performed during a single surgery procedure.
Making impressions of your teeth is required before taking a dental implant surgery, because your replacement tooth will be modeled based on this model in order to match the color, size, and other characteristics of your missing tooth. It will then be attached to the abutment.
Dental implant surgery is usually performed in the dentist’s office. Occasionally, it may be performed in a hospital setting. The surgery usually requires local anesthesia only. Other forms of sedation may be used as well.
The level of discomfort is similar or less to that of tooth extraction. Any soreness after the surgery can be treated with OTC pain medications.
Unfortunately, dental implants are not covered by dental insurance. Check to see if it is possible to get coverage under your medical plan.