Dental implants have been around for quite some time helping those with broken or missing teeth correct their smiles. However, if you plan to have an implant put in, you may still have questions about why, what to expect and the associated risks. Here’s a quick overview of the process.
A missing tooth can impact the remaining teeth in your mouth. Implants use a titanium screw to attach to the mature jawbone. Because the tooth doesn’t simply sit in the mouth, there is less movement, bone damage or noise. Dentures and bridgework don’t offer the same benefits as implants though they also address the problem of missing teeth. Implants are an alternative that helps with speech improvement. The Journal of Dental Implantology offers details on the latest implant technology for those wanting more information.
Before you can even have a dental implant, you must have a consultation with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, periodontist, specialty dentist and possibly an ENT. These doctors work together to make sure you are healthy enough for surgery by reviewing your medical history, creating a treatment plan and thoroughly examining your jaw, teeth, gums and face. An anesthesiologist may be necessary to put you under for the surgery. Once the surgery is approved, you are scheduled. If the tooth has not already been removed, it will be removed before the implant can be placed. If the jawbone needs a bone graft, that is taken care of next. The implant is placed then time is allowed for healing and bone growth. The abutment is then placed and then the artificial tooth. This process can take several stages to complete.
As with any surgery, there are risks. The implant attaches to the jawbone potentially causing nerve damage, infection or sinus issues. Most of these issues are minor and rarely occur. Being a healthy, non-smoking adult with no oral health issues can make implants a suitable option for recreating a beautiful smile.