Before, During and After a Dental Implant Procedure
Patients who are scheduled or know that they need a dental implant often have many questions about the entire process. What should they expect before they even walk into the office and how should they prepare? What happens during the actual process? How will their lives change once the entire procedure is complete and the implant has been installed?
The answer to the above questions will help you understand the entire dental implant procedure process from start to finish.
Before Your Procedure
Dental implants require a surgery. For this reason, you’ll likely have x-rays completed and evaluated before your surgery. Your dentist will use these x-rays to evaluate the underlying bone density, size, and ability to hold and maintain a dental implant. Your dentist will also be looking for any issues with neighboring teeth and making sure that the implant will fit well in the existing space.
Your dentist will also take impressions of your teeth. This helps to evaluate the space between the teeth and help design your personal dental implant.
During the Procedure
The actual procedure will vary depending on your specific case, and the technology that your dentist has in the office. Some implants can be completed in as little as a single visit, but this generally requires specialized equipment so that they can make your implant while you wait. If your dentist doesn’t have this equipment, they will have to send your measurements and dental impression to a lab so that your implant can be created.
In general, the procedure will involve tooth extraction if the existing tooth is still in place. Once the tooth is removed, a small titanium post will be installed into the bone underneath the gum. This post is treated with a special coating so that your body will begin to build new bone around the post and anchor it solidly in place.
At this point, if you require two appointments, your dentist will ensure that the incision site is clean and properly sutured and then you will be released. In a few weeks, after your initial incision has healed and your dentist has your implant, you will return to the office. The dentist will then install your implant and make sure that no other modifications or adjustments are necessary.
Some patients may also require bone grafting or other variations before they are ready to receive their final implant. The process can be as long as several months to as short as a single day. You should talk to your doctor to see how long you can expect the process to take.
After the Procedure
After the procedure is complete and your surgery site is clean and free from infection, you should expect that you won’t have any major life changes. Dentists recommend that you maintain a good oral hygiene regimen. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and visiting the dentist every six months.
Some additional considerations for your implants include the type of interdental flossers that you use. Many of these devices are made with a metal center onto which nylon bristles are attached. Metal can scratch or damage the surface of your implant, so dentists recommend completely plastic interdental flossers.
Additionally, you should use a non-abrasive toothpaste. Avoid toothpastes that are specifically formulated for smokers. These toothpastes can wear down the surface of your implant and cause it to require replacement sooner than expected.
If you think that you may need a dental implant, it is important to know what to expect throughout the entire implant process. If you have further questions or concerns, be sure to contact and schedule an appointment today and discuss those issues with our North Houston, TX dentist.