Dental implant surgery is done in three steps that are explained in a brief overview.Dental implants are a good option if you want to maintain natural looking teeth without the hassle of dentures or bridge work. It's important not to ignore missing teeth for more than just cosmetic reasons. When you have teeth missing, it causes your surrounding teeth to shift and this can cause a misalignment in your bite and problems chewing properly.
To be considered an ideal candidate for dental implants, you need to have healthy gums and good jaw bone density to support the implant. You also need to commit to meticulous oral hygiene care including brushing, flossing, and the use of mouth wash and fluoride rinse to guard against tooth decay and bacteria. You also need to be a non-smoker, since smoking increases your risk factor of infection and slows your healing process considerably, both of which can lead to rejection of the surgically implanted tooth.
Patients who are committed to taking care of their dental implants and don't smoke have a very high success rate of maintaining their artificial implant for as long as a natural tooth, with most patients able to maintain their surgical implant for twenty years. If you're considering this process it can be done by a dentist, prosthodontist, or an oral/ maxillofacial surgeon and generally it takes three steps to complete the surgical implants process.
Unfortunately, it's not as easy as simply implanting the artificial tooth in one surgical setting and walk away with a new smile. The first step your doctor will need to take will be to place the implant in your jaw with the top of the implant above the bone line. A surgical titanium screw will be inserted into the implant itself in order to avoid having food particles or bacteria get into the implant while it heals. Your dentist will then secure your gums over the implant to protect the area as it heals. It takes about three to six months for the bone to fuse with the implant, which creates root for your new artificial tooth. You should expect some swelling and tenderness that will subside over time and some pain that can be controlled with pain medication. During this healing process you will be on a diet of soft foods coupled with strict oral hygiene habits to ensure the healing process is complete.
The next step of the process is to uncover the implant and the dentist will attach an extension known as a post to the implant itself. And just as the jawbone healed around the implant, the next stage will be for your gums to heal around the post. When this process is complete, your dentist will do the final step, which is to add the artificial tooth (also known as a dental crown) to the implanted post. The process may seem long, however, keep in mind this procedure will give you back your missing tooth or teeth. If you follow proper post-surgical care you can reasonably expect your dental implants to last a lifetime.
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