Dental implants have provided patients, with missing teeth, a way to effectively restore their smile without dentures. These sturdy tooth replacements consist of a titanium screw that’s implanted in your jaw and allowed to heal, then restored with a dental crown.
Besides offering a tooth replacement that may last a lifetime, dental implants are durable and feel and function just like your natural teeth. With all the reasons to get a dental implant, it makes sense that more patients are pursuing this option when they lose a tooth due to an accident or tooth decay.
How do dental implants provide a carefree smile for patients around the world? Here’s your guide to the dental implant procedure and what you can expect during this restorative dentistry process.
Consultation with your Asheville Dentist
Before you can begin to consider dental implants as an option, you’ll need to schedule a consultation with your dentist in Asheville to determine your candidacy.
The best candidates for dental implants are those who have optimal oral health this includes being free of gum disease. Having a healthy smile gives you your best chance to fully heal from the procedure and have a strong dental implant for life.
During your consultation, your Asheville dentist, Dr. Saunders, will examine your smile to determine the location of the missing tooth, the state of your oral health, and if you have enough bone in your jaw to properly support the dental implant.
Without enough bone in your jaw, you may not qualify for dental implants, or you may need a bone graft before the procedure can be considered. Typically, patients who have been missing a tooth for quite some time are at risk to experience bone loss, while those who have recently lost a tooth should still have enough jaw bone to support a dental implant.
People who are allergic to titanium, although extremely rare, may also not be considered for the dental implant procedure. This is due to the fact that most dental implants are fabricated from a titanium alloy. Tell your Asheville dental practice if you have a metal allergy and ask whether or not a different kind of material is available.
If you smoke, you may also not qualify for dental implants. This is because smoking can greatly hinder your oral health and your dentist may not want to risk the procedure, as there’s a greater chance that your body would reject the dental implant.
Procedure to Insert the Implant
If your dentist determines that you’re a candidate for dental implants, you can discuss moving forward with the procedure. You’ll schedule a time to come in and typically only local anesthesia is used, although you can discuss all of your sedation options with your dentist.
During the procedure, a small hole is made and the post is inserted into your jaw. During the next few weeks, the post will be allowed to fuse to your bone, which makes it strong and also facilitates generation of new jaw bone. Having proper jaw bone density not only helps your smile to remain strong, but also supports a fuller face which can help facilitate a younger-looking appearance.
After the procedure, you’ll need to follow your dentist or oral surgeon’s instructions for healing. You should gently brush around the surgical site, but do not be aggressive. You should rest for the first day and avoid any excessive activity.
Swelling is normal and may last for up to three days following the procedure. Should you ever have any questions or concerns, contact your dentist immediately. In the meantime, you can use ice to decrease the swelling and eat foods that are easy to chew.
Following the initial procedure to place the actual implant, your body will need time to heal. During this time, the actual implant will fuse to your jaw bone in a process called osseointegration. Once this process is complete, your dental implant will be ready for the final part of the procedure your dental crown.
The healing time will vary from person to person depending on how healthy your mouth is, with healing time being between two and four months. Your dentist can let you know more about what to expect based on your unique smile and how well the healing process is going during your checkup appointments.
Your dentist may be able to fit you with a temporary restoration during this time, but this should only be worn after the swelling has gone down. Following the procedure, your dentist will need to see you back in for checkups to monitor the healing process and discuss getting your dental crown.
Getting Your Permanent Crown
Once your actual dental implant is fully healed, it’s time to get your definitive restoration a dental crown. Dental crowns are made to function just like your natural teeth and are virtually indistinguishable from your real teeth.
Your dentist will be able to make your dental crown look the exact shape and shade that you want and then fix it onto the end of your dental crown. With proper care, crowns have the potential to last ten years or more, so be sure to take care of your crown for the littlest maintenance possible!
Once you have your final appointment for your dental implant, you’ll be ready to enjoy your new permanent tooth and be able to follow up with your dentist in Asheville for regular appointments as needed.
Considering Dental Implants?
If you’re considering dental implants but aren’t sure whether or not you qualify, schedule a visit with us at Saunders DDS in Asheville. Dr. Saunders will review your oral health to determine if you’re a candidate for the procedure as well as be able to talk with you more about what the procedure will entail.
If you’re missing a tooth or several teeth, getting them replaced as soon as possible can help prevent shifting of your teeth and bone loss in your jaw. If you’re concerned about needing numerous dental implants, you have options such as all-on-four dental implants to simplify and accelerate the procedure.
Ask your dentist in Asheville about dental implants during your next appointment to fully restore your smile and enjoy proper function of your teeth again!