What To Know Before A Dental Implants Procedure
Our teeth can be a big factor in our quality of life. From the fundamental function of chewing food to boosting confidence through a nice, aesthetic smile, a healthy set of teeth is important. However, through a variety of issues, you may find yourself missing a tooth, a couple of teeth, or even your entire set. Dental implants are the best treatment option for those whose teeth roots cannot allow bridgework or other repair options.
Unlike standard dental treatments, the entire implant procedure can be quite complicated, and it may take a few months before everything is completely healed. As Dr. Ben Kacos, a cosmetic dentist in Shreveport, LA, says, dental implants are great for replacing missing teeth or being used to anchor a set of dentures. However, a lot of thought has to go into the decision to install them. Unlike other dental treatments, implants are designed as a permanent tooth replacement option. Our friend Dr. Leeson, a dentist St. Petersburg, explains that they can last for more than 25 years with proper care and maintenance.
So what should you know before getting a dental implant?
Installing a Dental Implant Takes a While
You won’t walk out of Shreveport dentist’s office with a dental implant after one appointment. The dental implant procedure is usually an outpatient surgery performed in stages with intermittent healing periods between procedures. The process of placing a dental implant involves a number of stages. Due to its complexity and the time needed to heal, the entire process can take months to complete.
The implants are metal (often titanium), screw-like posts that are surgically placed in your jawbone. For starters, a dentist will run a comprehensive dental exam and take dental X-rays or even 3D images to see the extent of the damage to your teeth. He will then remove the damaged tooth, followed by bone grafting if needed, after which you’ll be left to rest and heal.
The next step would be to install the implant in your jawbone followed by the second period of healing. Give yourself enough time to rest and heal, says Dr. Kacos, as this will give the implant and bone time to ‘fuse’ together and provide a solid base of support. Only after it is completely healed will the artificial tooth be placed on the implant.
Bone Grafting For Dental Implants Procedure
At least 1mm of bone is required around a dental implant. More space may be required when the implant is next to a tooth or another implant. The bone forms the base in which the implant is installed, or screwed in. The part of the implant that is placed in the jawbone is much like a screw, and it needs something solid to hold on to. Unfortunately, if you have been missing a tooth or teeth for a while, the jawbone collapses in and is reabsorbed by your body, shrinking in width, height, and density.
This effectively reduces the surface area available for the implant to latch on to. The only way to know whether your jawbone is dense enough to support an implant is through X-rays. If it is not, a bone graft may be required to provide extra support. Types of bone graft include;
- Autograft – bone used from your body
- Xenograft – bone from a genetically different organism
- Allograft – bone from a genetically similar organism
- Synthetic – a bio-compatible synthetic material
Are you a regular smoker? Smoking by itself is a pretty unhealthy habit, but its effect on dental health, especially after certain procedures, is brutal. If you’ve had a tooth extraction or implant, Dr. David Moghadam, a dentist in Easton, PA, stresses the need to avoid smoking before the procedure and during the healing process. Heavy smokers are especially at a greater risk of implant failure, and here’s why.
The nicotine in cigarette smoke affects the peripheral blood cells in the mouth, restricting the flow of oxygen and blood to the bone, which leads to a weakened immune response and delaying healing. Smoking also blocks off and damages salivary glands, leading to mouth dryness. This in turn promotes the growth of disease-causing bacteria which when paired with the weakened immune response and delayed healing is a recipe for disaster.
Getting dental implants is a permanent tooth replacement solution. It is a complicated procedure that can span months before it is completed. During this entire process, it is vital that you keep regular checkup appointments with Shreveport’s dentist. A dental implant can last for more than 20 years, but it will require care, maintenance, and regular checkups by the best dentist in Shreveport to make sure it is healthy and strong.
Are you planning on getting a dental implant? Dr. Kacos, one of the best dentists in Shreveport, would be happy to help. Contact Shreveport’s Dentist to schedule a consultation today!