Have you lost a tooth in an accident or while playing football in school? Was it a permanent tooth?
That means you will not grow a new one. There can be various reasons for missing a tooth. Be it due to age, accident, or tooth decay, no one likes an imperfect smile with a missing tooth.
How about if I tell you that you can get a fully functioning tooth through a procedure called dental implants?
Yes, in this article, I will tell you what dental implants are, why you need one and seven steps of dental implant procedure.
So, let’s begin.
What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a type of oral surgery procedure that replaces a permanent tooth with metal, screw-like posts, and an artificial tooth that looks and functions like real teeth. The titanium in the implants fuses with your jawbone so they won’t slip, make noise, or cause bone damage. Also, the titanium can’t decay like our natural teeth. The implant is done in case a person has permanently lost his or her tooth due to various reasons.
The dental implant procedure is done under general anesthesia at the dentist’s office. The surgery is dependent on various factors therefore, not everyone is an eligible candidate. The dental implant surgery takes several months to complete as the healing time is required if bone grafting is done.
Why do you need Dental Implants?
You may need a dental implant because you lost a tooth. And there are various causes of losing a tooth, some of them are following:
Tooth decay (or cavities) occurs because of poor nutrition and a lack of proper oral care. If the affected tooth is left untreated, the decayed tooth will continue to deteriorate, eventually resulting in tooth loss.
A periodontal disease is a serious form of gum disease. The gums and bone are affected by decay-causing bacteria and that causes inflammation. This eventually leads to bone loss around the jaw and teeth which will loosen the teeth or it falls out. In some cases it needs to be extracted.
Age & Medications
As you cross 55 years, tooth loss becomes common. Also, the medications for high cholesterol, heart disease, or high blood pressure causes dry mouth which speeds up the tooth decay process.
Sometimes you may damage or lose a tooth in a car accident, injury, or fall.
You can be eligible for dental implants if you have the following conditions:
- Have one or more missing teeth
- Have a strong jawbone
- Have sufficient bone to place the implants or you can have a bone graft
- Have healthy oral tissues
- Are willing to spend several months to get the implant done
Per My Dentist San Francisco, the ideal candidate for implants should meet the following criteria: “a non-smoker who has good oral health, including a sufficient amount of bone in the jaw, and healthy gums with no sign of gum disease.”
7 Steps of Dental Implant
Step 1 — Dental Examination/Remove the Tooth
First, you will get a proper examination of your teeth, gums, and jawbone. If the damaged tooth is still attached to your jawbone, the dentist will first extract it.
Step 2 — Grafting and Jawbone Preparation
Some patients have thin or soft jawbones that may not support dental implants therefore bone grafting needs to be done. Bone grafting improves the quantity of bone and creates a more solid base for the implant. Your dentist will go for a synthetic bone graft or a natural graft. The synthetic bone graft is a bone substitute whereas, in a natural graft, a bone is taken from another area of the patient’s body. Bone graft takes a few months to heal and then only dental implants can be placed.
Step 3 — Implant Placement
To implant a post deep into the bone, the dental surgeon cuts the gems and then drills holes into the bone. The implant is placed in the hole and it will function as the tooth’s root.
Step 4 — Healing and Growth
When your supporting jawbone starts bonding with the implant, it is called Osseointegration. This process takes several months to complete to make the base strong and without a strong base the artificial tooth (dental crown) cannot be placed.
Step 5 — Abutment Placement (Crown Preparation)
When the jawbone is healed completely, the dentist will reopen the gum and place an abutment on top of the implant post. The abutment acts as a connector and helps in placing the dental crown easily.
Step 6 — Crown Placement (Artificial Tooth)
Once the implant is strong enough to support chewing, you will be asked to give new impressions of your mouth. A customized dental crown will be made and fixed on the top of the abutment.
Step 7 — Aftercare
You will be prescribed pain medications and antibiotics after the implant surgery. Also during the healing process, you should only eat soft foods and take good oral care.
Now, you know the complete procedure of dental implants and how it takes several months to complete the process. If you have lost a permanent tooth and want to get a replacement tooth then you can take an appointment with the dentist to start your dental implant surgery.