Dental Implants Procedure: What To Expect

Dental implants are dental enhancements made from metallic materials that function as a replacement for natural teeth. The implants can replace a single missing tooth or a full row of teeth in the upper or lower jaw. They are designed to anchor artificial teeth and support dental prostheses, such as crowns, bridges, and dentures.

How Does Dental Implant Surgery Work?

Dental implant surgery involves two stages. The first stage is the surgical placement of the implants, whereby titanium posts are surgically inserted into the jawbone. These posts create a foundation for dental prosthesis attachments to be added in the second stage.

Unlike natural teeth that shift over time due to dental decay, poor dental care, or normal forces of mastication, the titanium posts fuse with jawbones and will not move from their position. Dental implants posts are dental fixtures that will last for the patient's lifetime without any need for replacement.

In the second stage, a dental prosthesis is attached to dental implants to restore lost dental functions.

Once the dental implant procedure is complete, you will receive surgical site care instructions, such as:

  • Abstaining from smoking for a few weeks following dental implant surgery.
  • Brushing and flossing around the dental implant crowns, but not touching the dental implant.
  • Taking antibiotics before and after oral surgery to reduce the risk of infection around the sites where teeth were removed for insertion of dental implants posts.
  • Rinsing gently with antimicrobial mouthwash or saltwater for a few days following surgery to help reduce the risk of infection.
  • Avoiding foods that require a lot of chewing.

Who Qualifies as A Candidate for Dental Implants?

Anyone who is missing one tooth or a full dental row is a candidate for dental implants. The implants can replace one or more teeth in the dental arch and maintain dental functions, such as chewing, biting, and speaking, and do not cause problems to adjoining natural teeth.

Are There Any Disadvantages Associated with Dental Implants?

Dental implants have no side effects. However, dental implant surgery can be expensive. If your health insurance does not cover the procedure, you may be forced to pay out-of-pocket. Since dental implant surgery is highly invasive, you may require post-surgery care. More importantly, like all surgeries, the procedure carries some risk of infection or damage to surrounding tissue.

The Takeaway

Dental implants are an option to consider when replacing missing teeth instead of bridges or dentures. Once the implants have been inserted into the jawbone, they can provide a strong foundation for replacement teeth.