What is the Dental Implant Procedure?
Dental implants at Missouri River Dental treatment replaces missing teeth with lifelike, stable restorations that look and act like natural, healthy teeth. Dental implants are dental restorations that use tiny implant posts to support dental crowns, or artificial teeth. These implant posts are surgically implanted into the jaw where the root of a tooth once was, where they serve as foundations for dental crowns that are strong, attractive, and stable, and where they also help maintain the structure and shape of the jaw and the positioning of the remaining natural teeth.
Dental implant treatment requires at least a few steps, mostly dependent upon the health of the oral cavity and the jaw and the type of implant being used. The first step in treatment is the initial consultation and evaluation with your dentist. At this evaluation, your dentist will thoroughly review your medical history and note all medications you take, including over-the-counter medications. They will also take x-rays of your mouth and make models of the teeth, determining a baseline for the natural alignment of the implants. Then, they will examine the jawbone and assess its strength and integrity, particularly in the area where implants are needed. Depending on the number of teeth you’re planning to replace, this consultation could involve additional dental specialists like a periodontist or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
While many general dentists are equipped to perform simple dental implant procedures, when the bone is compromised or when there are other considerations that could complicate treatment, having a specialist plan and execute dental implant treatments helps ensure their success. As the dental implant procedure is planned, you and your dental implant team will discuss your options for anesthesia for each step of the treatment and plan accordingly. If you are choosing general anesthesia for any procedures, make sure to follow instructions leading up to that procedure, and arrange to have someone give you a ride to and from the dentist’s office; it’s illegal to drive home, and you won’t be in any condition to drive anyway.
The dental implant procedure takes place in stages. Following the initial evaluation and consultation, the dentist will extract the compromised tooth if it is still in the mouth. Then, they will prepare the jaw for surgery. In some cases, this preparation includes bone graft surgery to replenish the amount of bone in the jaw; when bone graft surgeries precede implant surgeries, the bone has to heal completely before the implants can be placed. Once the bone has been prepared as needed, the dentist implants the dental implant post into the jawbone. Then, the jaw is allowed to heal again. During this healing period, the bone is drawn to the implant and heals securely around it, fusing with the implant post and creating a permanent anchor for a dental restoration. After the bone has fully healed and the implant post is secured, the top of the implant is exposed, and an attachment apparatus called an abutment is affixed to the implant. This abutment holds the dental crown in the proper position at the gum line and contributes to its natural appearance, and it also helps absorb shock that the crown endures while biting or chewing. Because they’re permanent, dental implants are cleaned just like natural teeth, with twice-daily gentle brushing and daily cleaning. Dental hygienists can deep clean your dental implants with specialized tools that protect the surface of the crown without compromising on efficacy, and your dentist can check to make sure your bone and gums are still thriving and address any issues that arise. Aftercare is an integral part of the long-term success of the dental implant procedure and should be considered a vital part of the treatment itself.