Woman looking at her dental implants in a mirror

Even though we talk a lot about general dentistry practices, the All Smiles Care team does a host of dental operations, including dental implants. Have you ever considered getting dental implants? If so, this is the article for you. Keep reading to learn everything you’d need to know about this cosmetic dental procedure.

What Are Dental Implants? 

A dental implant is a dental restoration option that completely takes the place of a tooth, including the root. When getting dental implant surgery, the dental surgeon will replace the root with a screw-shaped object that is bonded to the underlying bone. The dentist will add an abutment to the dental implant that will then hold a crown that will match your other, natural teeth. Unlike other dental restoration options, dental implants preserve the natural bone, which helps to stimulate bone growth.

Why Would Someone Need Dental Implants?

There are a variety of reasons why people would want dental implants, but the majority of them center around having one or more teeth missing. The goal of this procedure is to restore the function and aesthetics of the mouth. Here are some more specific reasons why people opt for dental implants:

  • Improvement to their speech
  • Unable or unwilling to wear dentures
  • The desire to have a better, more attractive smile

Who Should Get Dental Implants?

Even though many people want dental implants, they aren’t right for everyone. It’s important for the patient to have the following in order to be eligible for the procedure:

  • A jawbone that is fully grown
  • Enough bone to secure the implant
  • If there isn’t enough bone to support the implant, they are able to have a bone graft done
  • Healthy oral tissues
  • Medical history as a non-smoker

Dental Implants: The Procedure

Here is what you can expect from each step of the dental implant procedure. Until many other dental surgeries, dental implants can take several months to fully complete, so it’s important that you know exactly what goes into it before you start the process.

Before the Procedure: 

You may have to see a number of dental specialists, including doctors who specialize in conditions of the mouth, face, and jaw and doctors who specialize in ear, nose, and throat ailments. Additionally, the patient will have to meet with their primary dentist to:

  • Receive a comprehensive dental exam, complete with x-rays and 3D images
  • Review your medical history so the doctor can learn about any past instances of surgery, any allergies you may have, and any prescription or over-the-counter medications you may be taking
  • Devise a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your situation 

Right before your surgery, you’ll talk through your best anesthesia options for pain relief and what you can eat and drink depending on what type of anesthesia you will be using. If you’re using sedation or general anesthesia, plan to have someone take you to your surgery appointment and drive you home.

During the Procedures:

During the first surgery, your doctor will be placing the dental implant into the jaw. To do that, they will cut open your gum to expose the bone and drill a hole where the metal implant will be placed. Once the implant is successfully placed in the mouth, you will then have to wait for your bone to grow to meet and unite with the implant. This process can take up to several months to complete, but it’s essential for the success and longevity of the dental implant. After all, it’s important to have a solid base for the new crown to sit on, just like a regular tooth.

The next procedure is placing the abutment or the device that connects the dental implant to the crown. To place the abutment, the doctor will reopen the gum to expose the implant, attach the abutment, and close the gums around it with stitches. After the procedure, your gums will have to heal for a couple of weeks before placing the crown. In some cases, the abutment is attached during the initial dental implant administration to reduce the number of procedures.

When making the crown, the dentist will take impressions of your mouth and the rest of your teeth to ensure that the new tooth will match the real ones. Once your gums and jawbone are strong enough to support a new tooth, it is attached to the abutment. 

After the Procedures:

After each procedure, you can expect:

  • Swelling of your gums and face
  • Bruising of your skin and gums
  • Pain at the implant site
  • Minor bleeding

If any of those symptoms are prolonged or worsen over time, please contact your doctor. You may receive pain medication to help mitigate any of these symptoms. Additionally, to encourage healing, you’ll be instructed to eat soft foods. 

As with any surgery, there are risks associated with getting dental implants, including infection to the surgery site, injury or damage to surrounding structures, nerve damage, and sinus problems. If you notice any of these conditions, contact your doctor immediately. Fortunately, however, these conditions are a rare occurrence.

Are Dental Implants Painful?

During the several procedures that go into getting dental implants, you are likely to feel some sort of pain or discomfort for the first couple of days after they are completed. However, your dental team will be well equipped to help you manage your pain.

How to Keep Your Dental Implants Looking Like New

Luckily, once you have dental implants, keeping them clean is very simple. Dental implants can be treated like regular teeth, so if you brush twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist regularly for check-ups, your implants will look like new for years to come.

Learn More About Dental Implants with All Smiles Care

Dental implants are a great option for anyone looking to make their smile the best it can be. To start the process, you need to have open and honest communication with your dentist. If you’re looking for a dentist in Carroll County, Maryland, don’t hesitate to reach out to All Smiles Care for more information about our dental implant services. Our team is standing by, so contact us today!

 

About the author

A practicing dentist since 1982, Dr. Gary Imm, provides advanced cosmetic dentistry, including smile makeovers, sedation, implant and TMJ services. He is committed to progressive, extraordinary care for his guests. All Smiles Dental Care trains at least 300 hours each year at such prestigious centers as the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dentistry. (LVI)

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