Dental implants have become the go-to treatment for replacing missing or damaged teeth. They offer patients the chance to enhance their smile, improve their oral health and dramatically increase their confidence.
But how exactly does the dental implant procedure work? And what is involved in dental implant surgery?
So what can you expect from dental implant surgery?
Before any work is carried out on your teeth and mouth, a thorough assessment will need to be made. Most people are suitable for dental implants, however, patients that have particularly weak jawbones will often not be able to undergo implant treatment unless they first receive a bone graft to strengthen the jawbone. Patients' medical history will also be taken into consideration.
The reason for this is that the implant is placed directly into the gum tissue and fuses with the jawbone. If a patient has suffered significant bone loss, the procedure will not be successful and the jawbone could become badly damaged.
As long as you have a healthy jawbone, as determined by our x-rays, the procedure will be safe to go ahead with.
The surgery is then split into two main operations; the initial implant surgery and the fitting of the false tooth cap. Let's look at both in more detail.
If it’s agreed that dental implant surgery is the best option for you, your surgical appointment will then be arranged. The implants will be put in place under sterile conditions by the dental implant surgeon. Implant placement is carried out under a local anaesthetic to provide a smooth and relatively pain-free experience for the patient.
The implants, which act as artificial tooth roots, are titanium screws that are placed directly into the gap where the missing tooth once way. It goes directly into the gum tissue and fuses with the jawbone. Over time, the jawbone will begin to cling on to the new root just as it would with natural tooth roots, therefore providing a solid, secure base for the replacement tooth to be fitted to.
This process also helps strengthen jawbones that have weakened over time due to lost or missing teeth. The teeth around the implant will also adapt to the new implant site, helping keep your natural teeth straight, aligned and healthy.
The length of dental implant surgery depends on the number of implants being placed and the individual state of the patient's mouth, but in general, it should take no longer than two hours.
After the initial implant surgery, patients will need some time to heal and let their mouths adjust to the trauma and the insertion of the implant post before having the replacement tooth fitted.
Many patients can heal very quickly from the initial implant surgery, with the majority of patients not finding the process to be overly debilitating, being able to return to work the following day. This is due to the surgery being carried out so precisely by our dentists, with a very minimal risk involved in modern implant dentistry.
Our dental specialists will provide detailed aftercare instructions and give a proposed date to fit the aesthetic tooth crown.
In most cases, it is suggested that a period of two-three months (although sometimes more) should be allowed for the implant to fully integrate with the bone and mouth, before any further dental work is carried out.
During this time, patients can wear a simple adhesive bridge, temporary crown or provisional partial plate to cover the implant until the time comes to fit the replacement tooth cap. Once your proposed date rolls around your dental specialist will assess the progress before beginning the second part of the dental implant procedure.
Once the titanium posts have healed and integrated with the mouth and bone, the restoration phase can take place. The restoration phase is a simple procedure as the hard work has already been done via the titanium implant post.
As the acting tooth root, the abutment placement will provide a stable and secure base for the aesthetic tooth, allowing patients to eat and talk as normal immediately after the replacement tooth has been attached.
Restorative options include dental crowns, dentures and bridges.
Crowns are made to match the colour of the patients’ natural teeth and can be made from either porcelain or ceramic. Bridges are either single or multiple artificial teeth secured by clipping onto the natural teeth on either side of the implant (if applicable). Dentures can also be clipped onto dental implants.
The type of replacement tooth chosen is up to the patient, but of course, our dentist will advise on the best-recommended course of action for your new teeth.
Once the crown or cap has been fitted, your implants will look and feel just like natural teeth. They will be strong, durable, aesthetically pleasing and comfortable in the mouth. But in order to keep them this way, it's important to apply a good level of aftercare.
Looking after your dental implants properly is key if you want them to last for many years. If properly cared for dental implants can last for over 10 years before the cap need to be changed. The implant post itself should remain intact for a lifetime.
As dental implants act as a natural tooth replacement, you simply need to practice good oral hygiene and treat your implants as if they were real teeth to ensure they stay healthy, strong and looking good.
Regular dental check ups are advised, as are trips to the dental hygienist. Continue to brush twice daily and floss once a day. No extra attention needs to be paid to your dental implant, but make sure you keep an eye on it after the surgery to ensure everything is working as normal. If you feel any pain, discomfort, loosening or breaking, please contact our dental specialists ASAP.
Out with this, patients are free to go about their life as normal with a full, healthy smile intact. Your new tooth will quickly begin to feel just like a permanent tooth, and in a few short weeks, you won't notice the difference!
Dental implant surgery is a truly great option for anyone suffering from missing or damaged teeth. Your smile will be restored and with it, your confidence and oral health will dramatically improve.
Do not hesitate to contact the Dee Dental clinic in Paisley if you would like to find out more about the quality dental implant procedure we offer.