Replacing missing teeth with dental implants has become the preferred alternative to dentures. People who have lost their teeth due to disease or injury use implants to make smiles more attractive and improve self-confidence. Like any other surgical procedure, the thought of surgery can cause people to become fearful about the amount of pain, the time involved to complete the procedure and the chance that the procedure will not be successful.
It helps to be informed about the process and what to expect. Most importantly, focus on the end result – confidence in a more attractive smile.
Before the procedure begins, patients must undergo a complete evaluation. Included in this evaluation are X-rays of your mouth and plaster models of your teeth. Your dental implant specialist will determine what kind of preparation will be needed before the implants can be inserted. For some people, there is not enough bone mass to anchor the implant. They may need to add bone or replace bone in order to strengthen it for a future implant. This process uses your own bone and is called allergenic bone grafting.
For some people, their sinuses are too large and intrude on areas where the implant dentists intend to work. In order to counter this, bone growth stimulating material is placed within the sinus so that it has a good solid bone to bond to. Once there is solid bone, we must install the dental implants, which are titanium screws to replace the lost tooth roots. Letting the mouth heal could take from 4-6 months, until the dentist can install the final tooth on top of the implants.
Let the dentist know if you have any underlying vascular or circulatory problems, stop smoking and drinking as this will affect the outcome of the procedure, do not eat or drink 6-8 hours before the implants are put in, also do not take any medication without talking to the dentist. Wear comfortable clothing, have someone to drive you to the dentist’s office, as you will not be able to drive yourself home afterwards.
After following all these caveats, expect a fair amount of pain and swelling at the surgery site initially. The upside is that when it is over, you will have new teeth that will look the same as your natural teeth.
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