Dental implants are a great option for replacing missing teeth, but they are not for everybody. Tooth loss is common among all age groups, whether due to injury or disease. Implants are considered an extremely effective option for replacing teeth.
The procedure itself is relatively straightforward. Your dentist will embed a small metal rod into your jawbone. The rod is a replacement for the tooth root and acts as an anchor for a fake crown. It is a sturdy replacement, and often considered a permanent, life-long fix. However, as with any procedure, it is only for those medically fit and able to undergo the surgery.
The time before the dental implant procedure
Dental implants require a lot of time and planning before the procedure (and, as discussed below, a big-time commitment after). First, you must be willing to spend time with your dentist to plan for the procedure. This may require multiple visits, including general evaluations, ongoing discussions with the dentist, and imaging with radiographic technology like CT scans. Your dentist wants to ensure the correct placement of the implant.
You will have to be evaluated to determine if you are a qualified candidate. Implants may not be an option for replacing missing teeth for many reasons. First, you may not have an adequate bone density in the jaw. If the anticipated implant site is not dense enough, the implant will not take, and the procedure will fail.
If you do not have sufficient bone density, you are not a candidate for the implant procedure. However, your dentist may recommend other procedures which can help stimulate bone growth. This may help you achieve the bone density needed for a successful implant procedure.
Provided you are otherwise a suitable candidate for the procedure, you will also need medical clearance before proceeding. For example, if you have unchecked gum disease or decay, the infection may be present. Your mouth must be infection-free for the procedure.
After a successful implant placement procedure, you must allow three to six months for healing and “osseointegration,” where your jawbone fuses with the implant. This is a slow process and requires extreme vigilance on the part of the patient. First, you will have to limit your diet to certain soft foods, as hard foods may damage the implant in the early days or weeks.
Also, you will have to exercise excellent dental hygiene throughout this period, ensuring that infection does not develop. If the infection does develop anywhere in the mouth, it could spread to the operative site, interrupting bone growth, and causing damage to your teeth and gums.
The dental implant procedure is a time-intensive option for replacing missing teeth. However, due to the implant procedure’s high success rates and effectiveness, it is worth considering if you are the right candidate. Speak with your dentist about implant procedures and the pre-and post-implant periods.
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