Dental implants are a great choice for anyone who is missing one or more teeth. Unlike other options, such as fixed bridges or partial dentures, dental implants are inserted directly into your jaw which can help prevent bone loss and also creates a very durable and long-lasting tooth replacement. If you are considering dental implants, you can expect the following:
The Implant Procedure
The complete dental implant process typically requires several visits to a dentist or oral surgeon. After an initial consultation and dental examine to determine if you are a suitable candidate for dental implants, you will return to the dentist to have the dental implant rod inserted into your jaw. This process is usually done under local anesthesia or I.V. sedation. Once the rod is properly inserted, it can take a few months for the implant rod to become securely attached to your jaw bone.
It is not uncommon for the gums to grow over the implant rod, so in the second phase your gums will be gently opened to expose the rod, and a secure extension will be added. The extension of the rod is necessary in order to secure the replacement tooth. Your replacement tooth will be custom made after your dentist or oral surgeon takes impressions of your mouth to ensure that the prosthetic tooth properly aligns with your other teeth and does not affect your bite.
The Recovery Process
Many people report that the dental implant process is not especially uncomfortable or painful, but your dentist or oral surgeon may prescribe painkillers for you to take if you experience pain. During the first and second phase of getting a dental implant, you will need to watch for any signs of infection around the insertion site, and your dentist will monitor you to ensure that your body does not reject the dental implant and that the implant properly adheres to your jaw.
While having a dental implant can require multiple visits to a dentist or oral surgeon, the good news is that after the process is over dental implants need very little extra care or maintenance. You won't have to use any special types of toothpaste or cleaners–dental implants are typically very durable and usually do not present any problems. You can care for your new dental implant the same way you care for the rest of your teeth-- brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly for cleanings and exams.