Dental Implant – Preparation, Stages & Results
Dental implant is a popular and effective procedure that involves placing metal, screw-like posts to bolster the artificial teeth used as a replacement for the missing or damaged ones. The implants look and work almost like the natural teeth.
The surgical procedure is a welcome alternative to bridgework or dentures that, in most cases, fail to fit properly and cause inconvenience and discomfort to the patients. It’s also the most suitable option if bridgework tooth replacement or denture building is not possible due to absence of natural teeth roots.
Dental Implant Procedure
The procedure of dental implant surgery depends on two factors – the type of implant as well as the condition of the patient’s jawbone. Depending on these two crucial elements, dental implant in India
can be of different types. Irrespective of the procedure, it provides solid support to the artificial teeth. The process allows the bone to heal slowly but tightly around the dental implant and this bone healing process takes time, sometimes several months.
How to Prepare?
It’s not like one day you get up in the morning, secure an appointment with the dentist, visit the clinic and undergo dental implant surgery. Though minimally invasive it is, dental implant is just like any other surgery. It means, you need to prepare for the surgery before actually going through the process.
The planning process usually involves different specialists including an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, a periodontist, a prothodontist and sometimes an ENT specialist. Dental implant may involve more than one surgical procedure, if needed and therefore, the patients are required to go through complete evaluation as a part of the preparatory process.
Preparation for the surgery includes the followings:
- Thorough Dental Exam: It’s most likely that surgeon will suggest dental X-rays and 3D images. In addition, the specialist will also get the models made of the patient’s teeth and jaw.
- Review of Medical History: As a patient, you should disclose your medical condition and any medicine you take, including prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications and supplements. If you have undergone orthopaedic implants or have certain cardiac problems, the surgeon will probably prescribe antibiotics ahead of surgery as a preventive measure against infection.
- Treatment Plan: Dental implant surgery being patient-specific, the surgeon will make a plan while taking into account several factors including the number of teeth requiring a replacement, the condition of the remaining teeth and the jawbone.
- Administering Anaesthesia: Anaesthesia is always administered prior to surgery so that the patient does not feel pain. Anaesthesia options include local or general anaesthesia. There is also an option to have conscious sedation (laughing gas dentistry) which helps anxious and fearful patients to keep calm and at ease while getting treatment done. Talk to your surgeon about which option will suit most in your case.
- Other Instructions: The dental care team also gives instructions about what you should eat and drink before surgery, depending on which type of anaesthesia will be administered. In case of general anaesthesia or sedation, you should have someone from your family or friends to take you home once the surgery is done. You should take rest for the rest of the day.
Different Stages of Dental Implant Surgery
Dental implant surgery is basically an outpatient procedure performed in different stages while allowing for healing time between procedures. The process involves several steps including the followings:
- Removal of damaged tooth
- Grafting of jawbone (if needed)
- Placing dental implant
- Bone growth as well as healing
- Placing abutment
- Placing artificial teeth
The entire process may take several months. However, much of the time is required for bone healing and new bone growth in the jaw. Depending on the patient’s particularities, type of material used or specific surgical procedure performed, certain steps are sometimes combined.
After Dental Implant Surgery
Whether your dental implant surgery is done in a single stage or several stages, you may feel some typical discomforts whatever type of surgical procedure you go through. Some usual discomforts are as follows:
- Swelling of gums and face
- Pain at the site of dental implant
- Bruising of gums and skin
- Minor bleeding
Your dental surgeon and dental care team may prescribe medications if you feel pain after the surgery. If the problems are minor, medications will give you relief and things will get better in a few days. But if any of the above-stated conditions gets worse in the days following the dental implant surgery, you should not delay in talking to your dental surgeon.
What to Eat?
There are some dos and don’ts after each stage of dental implant surgery. For example, you will be asked to avoid taking hard foods that put pressure on the gum while chewing and it will disturb and delay the healing process. The surgeons usually use stitches that dissolve automatically with time. If they don’t, the surgeon will remove those.
Effects of Dental Implant Surgery
Most dental implant surgeries are highly successful, with success rate often claimed to be more than 95%. It means there are instances of failure if the bone does not fuse well with the metal implant. Another reason of dental implant failure is smoking. If the bone does not fuse well with the implant, your doctor will remove it, clean the area and try the same procedure in three months.
It’s not a rare incident that a dental implant is working until one’s last breath. But for that to happen, you should follow some strict dental and overall healthcare regimens as follows:
- Maintain good oral hygiene: Just like what you do to keep your real teeth and gum tissues clean, the same procedure needs to be followed in case of artificial teeth as well. There are some specially designed brushes, which can easily slide between teeth. These will effectively clean nooks and crannies of your teeth, gums as well as metallic posts.
- Visit your dentist regularly: It’s important for every patient to prepare a dental check-up schedule to make sure that the dental implant is functioning properly. You should stick to your doctor’s guidance for professional cleanings.
- Avoid detrimental habits: Avoid chewing hard foods (for example, hard candy) as it will cause your crowns or natural teeth to break. Avoid taking caffeine or tobacco as it stains teeth.
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