Dental implants use modern medical technology to enhance smiles. Implants can replace one tooth or a whole row of teeth — but only if you’re a good candidate for the procedure. Learn what you should know about patients who receive successful dental implants.
Implant Candidates Have Thorough Preliminary Exams and Treatment
A dental implant consists of a metal anchor, an abutment, and a replacement tooth made of metal alloys, ceramic, resin, or another material. The anchor is surgically placed into the jawbone. The replacement tooth is fastened to the abutment and anchor for a secure hold when you chew and talk.
Your mouth should be in optimum health when implants are installed in your gums. For example, if you desire a dental implant to replace a tooth lost to facial trauma or surgery, any gum or jaw swelling must be resolved before your dentist can assess the site for implant compatibility.
Certain health conditions disrupt implant success, including:
Your gums and teeth should be clean and free of cavities or gum disease when you have implants installed. A dental implant may hide a developing cavity and make it harder to reach later. Gum disease can affect the area around a new implant and cause painful infections and swelling.
Your dentist will want to treat all adverse dental conditions so your mouth is a clean canvas for your implant upgrade. A tooth cleaning can also help your dentist establish the correct color for your replacement tooth.
Implant Patients Undergo Pre-Treatment and Measurement for Implants
Your dentist will use a variety of tools and programs to measure and create your implant components. Measurements must be precise to ensure that the implant fits snugly between adjacent teeth and isn’t a hindrance to chewing and speaking.
X-rays and other methods are used to visualize your jaw bone. If there isn’t enough strong bone in place to insert the anchor properly, your dentist may recommend undergoing bone grafts or other treatments to prepare the jaw for your dental implant.
Some dental offices make impressions of teeth and send the impressions off to specialized labs. Your tooth replacement is crafted and sent back to your dentist for attachment to the anchor’s abutment. Some dentists mill their own tooth replacements. Both types of artificial teeth are attractive and safe.
Implant Recipients Are Patient
Secure, stable dental implants are often installed in stages. You’ll make several trips to the dentist’s office to undergo the progressive steps of your individual implant treatment. Your dentist will explain each of the steps in your implant plan so that you know exactly what to expect and can plan future events.
You’ll wear a temporary dental prosthesis between treatments after the damaged tooth has been removed. Your entire implant procedure may take 2 to 6 months to complete.
Be patient when awaiting your permanent dental implants. Complete healing and resolution of dental problems between treatments are necessary for implant victory.
Implant Patients Follow Aftercare Instructions
After each step in your dental-implant plan is completed, dental staff give you important verbal and written instructions for aftercare. The instructions are based on research and experience with post-implant patients, who now number around 3 million per year.
Current research shows that bacteria in the mouth can affect implant success. Bacteria create a biofilm around the implant site. Infections and swelling from excessive bacteria can disrupt the anchor’s stability and cause pain under the tooth’s edges.
Follow oral hygiene instructions to the letter when you want to avoid bacterial buildup around your implant site. Brush, floss, and rinse teeth with a mouthwash as recommended by your dentist. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before rinsing to remove even more bacteria from your oral cavity.
After dental-implant procedures, avoid foods that are sugary, acidic, or tacky. Caramels and morsels of tough meat can loosen fresh anchor inserts before they have a chance to settle in place. Sodas and soft drinks contain sugar and other ingredients that are harmful to teeth, so drink more water after undergoing implant-related dental work.
Refrain from smoking and excessive alcohol use. Don’t chew on ice or other hard substances.
If you’re having trouble cleaning around your temporary tooth, ask your dentist’s office for advice about how to keep the problem areas clean and free of food particles. The dentist’s office has special tools and products to help with oral hygiene challenges.
Implant Patients Communicate With Their Dentists
Expect some mild to moderate swelling, pain, and bruising at your implant site. Contact your dentist if you have more serious problems with your implant.
When caught in time, small problems with anchors and teeth can be easily corrected. If you wait too long to report a serious problem, an infection or another issue may necessitate the removal of a new dental implant.
Contact your dentist immediately if you experience:
- Excessive bleeding
- Discolored gums
- Unbearable pain
- Swollen face or jaw
- Loose anchor or tooth
- Fever and other signs of infection
Your dentist wants your implants to be successful so that you can love your smile again. Follow your dentist’s orders — and alert the dentist to serious dental concerns — to ensure that your dental implant will be a gleaming success.
Schedule an appointment for your new dental implants in San Joaquin County, California, by contacting Valley Oak Dental Group today.