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Are Dental Implants For You?

When you have missing teeth, and desire a permanent replacement for the lost teeth, dental implants are the best solution. Dental implants are titanium metal ‘screws’ or replacements for tooth roots. They are meant to give support to dental prosthesis such as crowns, dental bridges and even dentures.

Titanium is mostly the choice of material for implants as they provide excellent biocompatibility and ‘osseo-integration’ with bone tissue and are known to attract bone-forming cells to better adapt themselves within the bone. This gives them excellent support within bone hence to the restoration they are meant to support.

When getting implants and having implant dentistry, the condition, quality and quantity of bone present is assessed by your dental surgeon and special care is taken to ensure that the inferior alveolar nerve (in the case of a mandibular implant) or a sinus (in the case of a maxillary implant) is not damaged in anyway. Space is created within the bone with hand osteotomes or drills for receipt of the implant. Once the implant is seated within the bone, it is allowed to heal for some time. When healed, the implant is now ready for supporting a restoration such as a crown. Healing time varies in implant dentistry with age and factors such as severity of the situation and the patient’s personal care such as maintenance of oral hygiene.

Factors like quality and quantity of bone are crucial to be considered when receiving implant dentistry. If the bone present is not enough or is too thin, a bone graft may be required to compensate for the lack of present bone tissue. Other factors like what kind of prosthesis is to be made are considered. This determines the size, length and diameter of the implant to be placed.

After having an implant placed, the patient must take very good care of the treated area as any non-compliance could cause failure or damage to the implant and surrounding bone. Smoking delays healing, so smoking must be stopped under all circumstances. Immediately after surgical placement of the implants, sucking on a straw, chewing hard food and any other activities that may cause more bleeding or further injury are highly contraindicated.

The long-term success rate of implants in implant dentistry is very high given that patients comply with all the given care instructions. Implants provide an excellent, permanent solution to missing teeth and the restorations that they support are highly successful in re-establishing the functional integrity of teeth. Always be sure to maintain good oral hygiene during and after implant treatment, and you can have the joys of re-establishing your perfect smile and chewing abilities for the rest of your life!

Dental Implants: From Insertion to Aftercare

Dental implants are posts that replicates your own tooth root. These implants are made to replace the root of a tooth, and an artificial tooth will be attached to the post.

How are dental implants placed?

When the exact position of the implant is determined, the cosmetic will drill an initial pilot hole into the jaw.

This hole will be slowly enlarged until the exact size of the implant is achieved. The screw of the implant is then screwed in place, the gum is then secured over it and a top screw is placed to protect the implant.

At this stage the implant will be left for a period so healing and osseontegration (fusing of the bone to the implant) can happen. This normally takes around 4-6 months.

On your next dental visit, your cosmetic dentist will uncover the top part of the dental implant and attach the (abutment) top part of the permanent implant to the screw.

When this is in place a temporary crown can be made and impressions can be taken for a crown to be made. Whilst the crown is being made, the temporary crown acts as a template and the gum slowly forms around it in a natural way.

The last step will be when the crown will be placed and your new tooth is complete.

How long will I take to recover after the dental implants procedure?

There are a number of things to take into consideration and it depends on your own personal healing process.

A good oral hygiene routine is vital. The fusing of the bone to the dental implants can also vary from person to person. When the first phase of the implant is completed, you should only experience slight discomfort, your gums and face may swell a little and its possible for a little bleeding.

Your cosmetic dentist can prescribe pain medication for you to relieve any discomfort you have.

Caring for your dental implants

For at least 5 days after the first phase of your implant placement you should only be chewing soft foods. There may be stitches that need to be removed after 5 days if dissolving ones are not used

Cleaning of the site is very important, as well as cleaning the temporary crown. The cleaning can be carried out as you would your normal teeth as it is vital for the gum to remain healthy and the fusing of the Dental Implant.

Flossing is also advised as any bacteria surrounding the implant could cause the implant failure.

Smoking also contributes to implant failure so it is best advised to not smoke after surgery.

Postoperative Instructions for Implants

The second stage of implants cannot be implemented until the gum, jawbone and operative site is healed.  So, following guidelines to hasten the healing process will be a way to hasten the completion of the implant procedure.

Mouth rinses devoid of alcoholic content should be used from the first day of surgery and used often, especially after each meal.  Using a toothbrush as usual helps to maintain proper oral hygiene.

Smoking impedes the healing process.  While many dentists may advise postponing smoking for at least 2-3 days after surgery, eliminating it from social habits would be much more beneficial.  Consider entering a smoking cessation program or plan prior to implant surgery so that tobacco dependence is not an issue.

Your diet is limited to liquids for the first 48 hours after implant surgery is started so that food debris is not lodged microscopically in the operative site and doesn’t contaminate the area.  A normal diet can be reinstituted depending upon your healing and any inflammation that may be present.

Daily vitamins, supplements and rest will encourage the healing process along aver surgery.

Mild bleeding or oozing after surgery is not unusual and gauze, which was inserted over the operative site, might need to be changed several times in the first 4 hours.  However, if active bleeding seems to be occurring, talking it over with the dental surgeon would be prudent.

Pain is a very subjective sensation.  For some, pain is not felt unless major surgery is performed; for others a small paper cut is agony. Therefore, the intensity of pain is not a reflection of the success of implant surgery or an ominous sign of complications developing. (although it can be!)

If pain is occurring, there are nonprescription analgesics that can eliminate or greatly diminish discomfort.  However, if the pain is unbearable despite the analgesics, the reconstructive dentist who performed the surgery should be informed.  An examination to rule out any developing problems might be necessary at this point.  If everything is deemed normal in terms of healing, a stronger analgesic can then be prescribed.

Cold or Ice pack application for the first 2 days after surgery can decrease any swelling or hematoma (blood collections) formation. Using the pack as prevention prior to edema (swelling) may keep this from occurring.

If general anesthesia was administered for the procedure, the elimination of it from your body may take 24-36 hours.  Therefore, no driving or usage of heavy machinery is prudent.  If the procedure was done with injections of needles, soreness may be present at the site of the injections.

Understanding and following these guidelines will decrease anxiety and help you on the road to recovery.