What to Expect When You Choose Dental Implants
What’s in store for you when you choose life-changing tooth implants treatment?
For patients who have lost one or more teeth, dental implants can permanently restore your dental function and appearance. Since implants are the gold standard in tooth replacement, we tend to encourage our patients to benefit from this treatment whenever possible. However, it can sometimes come as a shock to patients that getting one or more implants is a multi-step process can take 3-9 months or more.
At Platinum Dental Care, we want all our patients to know what their treatments will entail. The process of getting one or more dental implants may be longer than most dental treatments, but for most patients, the unique benefits of your final restoration make it all worth it.
Before Implant Surgery
During your initial consultation, it’s necessary to assess your oral and overall health. Since implant placement is technically a surgical procedure, we will need to make sure you are healthy enough for surgery. We will also need to have confidence that your body will be able to heal properly and integrate the implant(s) into your existing bone tissue.
It’s also necessary to look at your facial anatomy through a series of digital scans. Each person’s facial structure may be slightly different, and when we are planning for a dental implant, we need to make sure the right spot will accept the implant successfully. If you’ve already gone several years without a tooth, you may have experienced bone loss, which could hinder an implant’s ability to form a stable base for your prosthetic.
For patients who’ve lost bone mass, a bone grafting procedure may be needed, either before or during implant surgery. If your bone grafting needs to be done before implant placement, this could add another six weeks to your dental implants timeline.
Another possible pre-surgery that is sometimes needed is a sinus augmentation, also called a sinus lift. If your facial anatomy suggests an implant may come very close to intruding into the nasal sinus, a sinus lift treatment can ensure this won’t happen. Why is this necessary for some patients? If an implant intrudes into the sinuses, even just a small amount, this can lead to chronic pain and swelling. We don’t want anyone’s life-changing dental implants to come with a side of life-changing nasal swelling, so a sinus lift can be very helpful treatment for certain patients.
After Implant Surgery
The implant surgery itself does not take very long, and most patients will have it done on an outpatient basis. After the surgery, you will have sutures in your gum tissue over the site of each implant. Most patients will need to stay on a soft foods diet for at least a week after surgery, since your mouth may be a bit sore. The soft tissues of the mouth tend to heal quickly compared with some other parts of the body, so most patients will be able to have their sutures removed about 7-10 days after surgery.
Now comes the critical period! Dental implants are such a wonderful tooth replacement option because they mimic natural tooth roots by fusing with the facial bones. But this doesn’t happen by magic, and it doesn’t happen immediately, either. In the three to six months after surgery, new bone tissue will grow into the grooves of each implant, thereby stabilizing them. This process is called osseointegration, and it can happen at different rates for different patients, based on your age, health and nutrition. That’s why we tell all our implant patients to get lots of rest after implant surgery, and make sure you get ample nourishment to give your body the tools it needs to incorporate your implant(s) into the jaw bone. For best results, eat better than you ever have! Choose a wide array of healthy vegetables and fruits, including lots of mineral-rich cruciferous greens. Be sure to consume lots of calcium rich foods, as well.
When Your Implant is Ready
When it’s been decided that your implants are firmly fused with solid bone tissue, you’ll need another procedure called abutment placement. Since the gum tissue has healed and closed over the implants, we will need to create a space where the final restoration can attach. Abutments will be attached to the implants and the gum tissue will need about two weeks to heal around the them.
After your gum tissue has healed fully from abutment placement, we will take a dental impression and your final restoration can be made. This will either be a single crown, a dental bridge, or full or partial dentures. It may take up to two weeks to have the restoration created in a special dental laboratory.
Results at Last!
It may seem like a complex and drawn-out process, but most of our patients are so happy with their dental implant restorations that it is entirely worth the extra time involved. As time goes on, you will come to appreciate just how much more natural and comfortable dental implants are, compared with traditional tooth-replacement restorations.
The best part for many patients is the peace of mind they get from knowing they’ll never need to have any maintenance or repairs done to their replacement teeth and they’ll never have to worry about losing bone structure in the face. For most, it’s as good as having their natural teeth back!
If you would like to learn more about dental implants, contact Platinum Dental Care at our Toronto, ON dental office today!