For many, finding out that they need dental implants can be incredibly stressful and scary. However, this is a necessary procedure to ensure the health of your mouth and that it functions the way it should.
Thus, if you find that you have to get implants placed in your mouth, exactly knowing what to expect can be helpful. Your dentist should explain the process, but it’s also included here as well, so you know what will happen.
This Is a Surgery
Some people have it in their minds that getting dental implants is like getting fitted for dentures or a retainer. You won’t be going into the dentist’s office, getting something placed into your mouth, and then walking out. You may or may not be put to sleep with anesthesia—it will depend on your comfort level. If you decide not to go under, you will be administered medication that will numb your mouth so that you can’t feel most of what is going on.
How long the process takes will depend on the extent of damage and how many teeth need to be replaced. The amount of time it takes will also depend on whether or not your jawbone needs a bone graft. Your mouth uses a lot of force to chew, and if your jawbone is soft or not thick enough, this will impact your ability to eat.
Steps in the Process
Step 1: Preparing the Area
The primary step in the dental implant process is for the dentist to prepare the area. If any teeth need to be extracted, they will be taken care of at this time. The dentist will then drill a hole into your jawbone. If you have not been entirely put under, the drilling will feel similar to having a cavity filled.
During this process, the dentist may need to expose the bone by cutting into your gums. If that’s the case, they will then stitch this incision shut. If your jawbone needs a graft, this is also done at this time and involves adding artificial bone materials. You probably won’t even know that this material is being added.
Step 2: Inserting the Implant
Once a drill has been made in your jawbone, the dentist will then insert the implant. This often includes a post with a screw. Depending on how many teeth you need to have replaced, this process can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours or longer. Once the post is in place, you will then be able to go about your regular day. The only restrictions you might have to include is eating a soft diet until your mouth has healed.
Step 3: Adding the Crown
As your jawbone heals, it will fuse with the post and make this element incredibly strong. This process could take a few weeks or months; it depends on a variety of factors. Once the dentist has determined that the post is secure, the top will then be added, making your implant look like one of your natural teeth, it will be able to function like one as well.
It may be scary and stressful to think that you need dental implants, but these devices can be incredibly helpful in allowing you to enjoy life to the fullest. They function just like regular teeth and let you to eat the foods you enjoy and smile without feeling self-conscious.