About 3 million people in the United States have dental implants. With the advancements experts have created in recent years, it’s an exciting time for our patients that want to make the jump into getting implants. Before you rush off to any dentist, we want to make sure you take a look at this guide to learn about how the implant process works, how long they last, and what will be required from you with post-care once the surgery is finished.
How the Procedure Works
Dentists who are serious about the artistry and safety of implants will always have a planning stage with you first before jumping into the procedure. During this time, we will have our specialists check all of the structures that would be affected by the surgery, including gums, face, bones, and more. We will also conduct a comprehensive dental exam, review your medical history, and tailor a treatment plan that takes into account how many implants you will need and how that corresponds to the condition of your jawbone.
From there, the dental implant surgery is done in stages to ensure that the patient has enough time for healing. There are multiple steps to this that have to be done including: damaged tooth removal (if the tooth wasn’t missing already), jawbone grafting if needed, implant placement, bone bonding and healing, abutment placement, artificial tooth placement. We have meticulously maneuvered our surgery process to make sure you’re not waiting too long from start to finish. Depending on your circumstances, we can usually multiple steps done very quickly.
The most important step after the surgery phase is taking time to have the jawbone and implant heal healthily together. Dental implant failures aren’t common so if there is an issue, we want to identify the problem immediately and work to fix it. With this phase, if everything is successful, the jawbone will grow and bond with the surface of the implant, which will anchor it down and making it as natural as the real tooth that was there before. This process can take the longest because a solid base has to be created for us to be able to continue.
Finally, once the implant posts have healed and the jawbone is healthy, your dentist will be able to place your new artificial teeth. To do this, more impressions will be made of your mouth so your dentist can give you the most natural teeth possible that fit just you. With the right care from both you and your doctor from the first stage to last, your implants can stay as bright and shiny as they were when you first got them done.
How Long They Last
Investing in dental implants means you’re investing your lifetime into maintaining a great smile. Natural teeth can last your entire life if they are properly cared for and this is the same with implants also. For many of our patients, their implants have lasted them 20+ years, and very few of them need any major work on them besides their scheduled check-ups. The major issues we’ve seen with an implant not lasting or needing to be worked one usually had an issue that could have been prevented such as a better oral hygiene routine or not missing cleaning appointments.
Right after the procedure, your dentist will provide you with the necessary information about your post-operation care routine. You will have to be careful with the toothpastes and mouthwashes you use as there are some that can irritate the new teeth and wounds more. You will also be expected to consume soft foods and liquids for a bit, which will only help the healing in the long run.
Since it is a surgery, some pain and swelling is expected. If you experience swelling of your face and gums, bruising of your skin and gums, pain at the implant sight, and some minor bleeding, there is no reason to be overly concerned as these will wear off as the healing process continues.
Pain medications and antibiotics will be prescribed to you after the surgery. These will definitely help decrease the discomfort but if the pain becomes more severe, you have to let your dentist know immediately as this could be a sign of early implant failure or other issues.