Before and After Dental Implants: What You Need to Know

The lack of teeth can severely impact your confidence, oral health, and quality of life. But there’s good news! Dental implants can give you back your natural smile and provide effortless chewing and clear speech. Dental implants are an extremely sought-after tooth replacement solution thanks to their robustness, comfort, and authentic look. If you’re considering getting dental implants, this blog post will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

What are dental implants, and what do they do for you?

Dental implants are minute titanium screws – inserted into the jawbone via surgery – that take the place of missing or damaged teeth roots. After gradually fusing with the bone, prosthetic teeth or bridges are added atop the implant. Unlike traditional tooth replacements, dental implants are long-lasting and can endure for nearly 25 years. Plus, they look and feel like natural teeth, so you’re free to enjoy your favourite activities without feeling self-conscious!

 Benefits of getting dental implants

Dental implants offer numerous benefits that make them a popular choice for tooth replacement. Here are some of the key advantages:

Improved oral health: Dental implants are stable and secure, so they won’t slip or move around like dentures. Also, by maintaining jawbone density, you can avoid changes in the shape of your face over time.

Natural looking: Dental implants blend seamlessly with your natural teeth, giving you every reason to confidently smile!

Durability: By receiving adequate upkeep, dental implants have the capacity to last up to 25 years. This renders them a cost-effective and practical solution to overcome both tooth loss and tooth decay.

Improved speech: Dentures can sometimes cause slurring or mumbling, but dental implants eliminate this issue.

Improved comfort: Dental implants are a superior choice over dentures as they do not require adhesive usage or cause gum irritation. Additionally, they facilitate better mastication and easier eating.

Types of dental implants

There are several types of dental implants available depending on your individual needs.

– Endosteal implants:

These are the most common type of implant and involve surgically placing a titanium screw into the jawbone.

– Subperiosteal implants:

This type of implant involves placing a metal frame directly onto the jawbone, with prosthetic teeth attached to the frame.

– Zygomatic implants:

When there isn’t enough bone mass for a standard implant, zygomatic implants come to the rescue. This involves placing an implant directly into the cheekbone.

– All-on-four dental implants:

This is a more permanent option and involves placing four individual tooth implants together into the jawbone and attaching a full arch of prosthetic teeth to them. It provides greater stability than other implant options.

Your individual circumstances determine the type of dental implant that’s best for you. Before proceeding with treatment, a prudent step is to discuss it with your dentist.

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How to prepare for getting a dental implant

Before getting a dental implant, it is important to consult your dentist and ensure that you’re a good candidate for the procedure. To evaluate your jawbone’s structure and condition, as well as check for periodontal disease, your dentist will take X-rays and inspect your gums. Additionally, they may recommend additional treatments, such as bone grafting or gum disease treatment, to prepare you for the implant.

Who needs a bone grafting procedure?

Some people may need a bone grafting procedure before getting dental implants, particularly if their jawbone has deteriorated or weakened due to tooth loss. Bone grafting is a procedure in which bone is taken from one part of the body and used to “build up” the jawbone in preparation for a dental implant. This helps ensure that the implant will be secure and will provide a strong foundation for the prosthetic tooth.

The stages of the dental implant procedure

The dental implant procedure follows three basic stages:

  1. Implant placement: 

The dentist will surgically place the titanium implant in your jawbone. Depending on the type of implant, this can take anywhere from one to several hours.

  1. Osseointegration:

This is the process where the implant fuses with your jawbone and forms a strong bond. This usually takes between two to six months for complete healing.

  1. Restoration:

After the implant has thoroughly healed, your dentist will affix a prosthetic tooth or bridge. This will not only restore your smile but also improve the functionality of your teeth. 

What happens during the procedure?

1.  The first step of the dental implant placement procedure is to make an incision in the gums.

2.  Next, a hole is drilled into the jawbone, where the implant will be placed.

3.  A metal post, or implant, is then placed into the hole in the jawbone.

4.  The gums are then stitched around the implant.

5.  A temporary tooth is then placed on top of the implant.

6.  Finally, a permanent tooth is placed on top of the implant after it has healed.

Things to consider before getting a dental implant

Before getting a dental implant, it’s important to consider all your options and discuss the pros and cons with your dentist. Here are some key points to think about:

– Cost – Dental implants can be expensive, so make sure you discuss payment plans and financing options with your dentist.

– Time commitment – Getting a dental implant may involve multiple appointments and a long healing process. It’s important to factor in this time commitment when considering your options.

– Oral health needs – Make sure you evaluate your oral health before getting a dental implant to ensure it is the right solution.

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Aftercare advice for dental implants

Once your dental implant has been fitted, there are a few things you can do to ensure it stays in tip-top condition. Here are some aftercare tips for dental implants:

– Brush and floss regularly: Cleaning your dental implant twice a day is essential for keeping it clean and healthy.

– Avoid hard foods:  Hard or crunchy foods may put too much pressure on the implant, so make sure to avoid them.

– Don’t smoke: Smoking can cause the implant to become loose or unstable, so it’s best to quit if you’re a smoker.

– Visit your dentist regularly: It’s important to attend regular checkups with your dentist in order to monitor the condition of your dental implant.

Are There Any Potential Risks of Dental Implants?

Although dental implants are generally very safe, certain risks and complications can arise. These include:

1. Infection: In the event that bacteria manages to infiltrate the implant site, it can trigger an infection that may necessitate antibiotic treatment.

2. Nerve damage: Damage to a nerve in your jaw can cause pain, numbness, or tingling in your chin, lip, or tongue.

3. Sinus issues: Dental implants placed too close to a sinus cavity can cause sinus problems.

4. Implant failure: While rare, implant failure can occur if the implant doesn’t fuse properly with your jawbone or is exposed to too much stress.

Overall, dental implants are a safe and reliable solution for tooth replacement. However, it’s important to discuss all the potential risks with your dentist before getting an implant.

Are Dental Implants Painful?

The implant placement procedure is usually performed under local anaesthesia so that you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. Afterwards, your mouth may feel sore and uncomfortable for a few days as it heals, but this can be managed with over-the-counter medications. If you experience intense or long-lasting pain after getting an implant, contact your dentist immediately.

Explore recovery time frames – when to expect results

The recovery time frame for dental implants varies depending on the individual. Generally, it can take anywhere from two to six months for the implant to completely heal and fuse with the jawbone. Once this process is complete, your dentist will attach a prosthetic tooth or bridge to the implant.

Cost of Dental Implants

The cost can be a concern for many patients. It’s important to understand that the cost of dental implants can vary depending on various factors, such as the number of implants needed, the complexity of the procedure, and the location of the clinic. However, it’s worth noting that the cost of dental implants may be higher upfront than other tooth replacement options, such as dentures or bridges, but they are also a long-term investment in your oral health. However, it’s important to weigh the benefits and potential risks of each treatment option and consult with a professional to determine the best course of action for your unique needs. Generally speaking, a single implant with a crown cost starts at $3,000. It’s worth taking note that dental implants usually aren’t covered by insurance plans. Therefore, consider having a chat with your provider in advance and establish whether they will cover any costs.

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Factors Affecting The Cost of Dental Implants

The cost of dental implants can vary depending on the number of implants needed, the complexity of your individual case, and other factors. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

– Number of implants: The more implants you need, the higher the cost will be.

– Location: Prices for dental treatments may differ between different clinics.

– Type of implant:  Different types of implants, such as endosteal and subperiosteal implants, may have different costs.

– Additional treatments: Additional treatments like bone grafts or sinus lifts may be necessary, depending on your unique requirements, to prepare for the procedure.

Conclusion:

Dental implants are a safe and reliable solution for replacing missing teeth. They offer numerous benefits, such as improved oral health, a natural appearance, and durability. It’s important to discuss all the potential risks of getting dental implants with your dentist before deciding if it’s the right solution for you.

At our practice, we strive to personalise your implant selection based on your unique needs while working within your budget. We warmly welcome you to book an appointment to learn more about dental implants and how we can help you restore your smile.

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

References 

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/dental-implant-surgery/about/pac-20384622
  2. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/dental-implant