About Dental Implants
Losing a tooth (or teeth) can cause problems, both physical as well as a loss of confidence in your smile.
Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. After dental implants, you can smile with confidence, and eat virtually anything, with teeth that appear natural, can last for many years, and they’re far more convenient than dentures.
Implants preserve facial contours and prevent bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing. As long as your jaw bone and gums are healthy, implants are the perfect solution.
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What are dental implants?
The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. They bond with the jaw, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts that protrude through the gums are then attached to the implant. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.
What can you expect from dental implant surgery?
The placement of dental implants usually involves three phases, two of them surgical procedures, and these are completed over 6 to 8 months.
What is the procedure for dental implant surgery?
Your surgeon will discuss a treatment plan with you before beginning the treatment.
Stage One: Placement of the metal post.
Your surgeon cuts open the gum and drills a hole into the bone. A titanium post will be placed deep in the bone to serve as the tooth root. It must remain covered for up to six months to integrate into the bone. During this time you may be given a temporary denture, and your surgeon will advise you to eat only soft foods for a few weeks.
Stage Two: Attaching the Abutment
Once the implant has attached to the bone, the surgeon will attach the abutment – a healing cap – to the implant fixture. You will be able to wear temporary dentures until the surgeon fits your new tooth.
Stage Three: Artificial teeth
A few weeks later, the surgeon will fit the new tooth crown, to make sure it is comfortable and that it matches the colour of your own teeth.
How should I prepare for dental implant surgery?
Before dental implant surgery, your dental surgeon will take your history, perform an examination, and check for any health problems.
You may be asked to stop smoking for two to four weeks prior to the procedure to help improve blood flow.
You will also have to have a blood test before surgery is performed. You should stop taking certain medication, like aspirin and some anti-inflammatory drugs. Avoid recreational drugs and disclose to your surgeon any other medication you’re taking, since you may need to adjust these.
You may not be able to drive yourself after the procedure, so remember to arrange for transport home if necessary.
You may need additional time to recover if you have had the procedure under general anaesthetic. Your doctor can tell you when you can expect to go home after surgery.
Where will my dental implant surgery be performed?
In the dentist’s chair, or, if any part of the procedure is performed under general anaesthetic, it will be done in one of our fully equipped operating theatres.
What anaesthetic will be used for dental implant surgery?
The procedure can be performed under local anesthesia, sedation or general anesthesia, and your dental surgeon will discuss the best option for you.
How do I recover from dental implant surgery?
During recovery, you should take the medication your surgeon prescribes, and practice good oral hygiene. For the first 24 hours after surgery, rinse your mouth with warm saltwater solution, and after 24 hours you can begin to gently brush your teeth.
The recovery period depends on several factors, like age, health and hygiene.
If there are no bone or tissue grafts, recovery can take a day or two. Multiple dental implants with grafts will need about 5 days.
What can I expect after dental implant surgery?
You will experience temporary pain for 3 – 5 days after the surgical procedure, but pain medications should only be necessary for the first day or two.
When can I return to normal activities?
You should avoid strenuous activity for the first three days 3 days and while you are taking narcotic medications, but you should probably be able to return to normal activities the day after your surgery.
What risks are involved in dental implant surgery?
As with any surgery, there are some risks, which include bleeding and infection as well as the general risks associated with anaesthesia.
With dental implants there is also a risk of failure of the implant to integrate, necrosis of the flap of tissue around the implant, and the risk of nerve and blood vessel damage.