Is that missing tooth driving you crazy? Well, the good news is that it doesn't have to for long. Believe it or not, over half a million dental implant procedures are done in the US every year.
If you're thinking about getting an implant, you probably have some pressing questions. Luckily, we have the answers for you! Let's talk about the dental implant procedure, how it works, and what you need to know.
How The Dental Implant Procedure Works
If you don't already know, dental implants are the best way to replace a missing tooth. They save you money in the long run by lasting a lifetime, help prevent bone loss and jaw disfiguration, and an implant won't damage your other teeth.
A dental bridge is secured to surrounding teeth and gums and is only set to last around 5 years. While it may save money upfront, it will cost more to maintain and may cause damage to your other teeth.
A dental implant is an increasingly popular option for replacement teeth, as they are designed to be permanent and perform as strongly as your natural teeth. The difference is that there is a rod that is implanted into your jaw that acts as a new "root" like your natural teeth.
While it is more cost-effective and efficient over the course of your lifetime, it does require a more invasive procedure and higher initial costs. If you're still not sure, read more about dental bridges vs implants. However, if you're leaning toward an implant, this is what it looks like.
You will first need to meet with your Smiles on Randolph dentist to decide if an implant is right for you. Your dentist will go over the procedure with you, what will be needed prior to the procedure, and the dates of your upcoming appointments.
If you need a tooth extraction before receiving an implant, this will be a separate procedure done before imprints or anything else. This could be done on the same day as the implant if you have a healthy jaw bone, or it could need a separate appointment to prevent bone loss.
prior to the procedure
Before the procedure, you will have an appointment with your dentist's office to fit the crown. During this time, the dentist will match the color of your teeth and determine the proper dimensions of the new implant by taking imprints.
They will give you options of materials to choose from. The rod will likely be a titanium alloy but the crown will be a number of different materials from which you will need to choose.
Porcelain and porcelain-infused metal alloys are the most common for these crowns, as they are as strong and durable as real teeth and you wouldn't be able to tell a difference from your natural teeth.
Later on, behind the scenes, a new crown will be fused using a specialized machine to be specifically designed to fit your mouth perfectly prior to your procedure. If you're interested, you can learn more about how crowns are made.
In most cases, you will be provided with local anesthesia prior to your procedure. This simply numbs the area of the mouth where the new crown will be implanted.
This means that you will be awake for the procedure but completely numb to what is going on. The dentist will allow time for the anesthetic to set in before beginning.
Keep in mind, local anesthesia is used for a procedure of one or two implants within one specific area in the mouth. If you are receiving more than that in one sitting or if there are other circumstances involved, you may be provided with general anesthesia, although this is uncommon, or more likely sedation dentistry.
The area in your mouth should feel completely numb, including the surrounding areas on the skin of your cheek, down to your jaw before the procedure begins.
during the procedure
Once your dentist is confident that the anesthetic is functioning properly, they will begin the procedure.
The dentist will go over your specific procedure with you in detail before going in, and they will likely provide you with updates throughout the procedure.
They will need to drill into your gums down to your jaw bone, create threads, and screw the rod into place to secure it. From there, the foundation is built, so they will simply need to secure the crown in place.
You should expect your dentist to check in on you periodically and make you try to answer them while their hands are in your mouth. You know, as dentists always do.
In all seriousness, they will need to check on you to make sure you are doing alright. In the unlikely event that you are feeling some type of pain or discomfort, you should let them know right away.
You will have to wait several hours after the procedure before you are able to eat any food. However, drinking water is perfectly acceptable. Your local anesthesia will remain active for a few hours before disbursing from the area, leaving you feeling numb for a brief time.
Once it wears off, you will likely start to experience discomfort, but don't panic. Whether your dentist performs this procedure in one session or if there are additional procedures required, the side effects will be fairly consistent for most patients.
You may experience discomfort, some bruising or swelling around the gums, minor bleeding, or pain around the implant area. These are perfectly common side effects and you shouldn't worry about them unless they become serious. If they get worse over the course of a couple of days, contact your dentist.
You will likely need to consume softer foods over the coming days, especially depending on your level of discomfort. Generally, your dentist will use self-dissolving stitches for the procedure, so you won't need a follow-up to remove them.
You may receive pain medication and/or antibiotics to aid in recovery but they are not always needed. Play it by ear and see how you feel.
There is no specific amount of time for these symptoms to go away. However, you should start to see improvements after a few days and complete recovery between 1 to 2 weeks. From there, you'll have a new tooth to show off!
More Information You Should Know
Beyond just how the procedure works, there is more information you should know before scheduling an implant procedure. The first is just how safe it is.
Implants are one of the most common dental procedures, and your Smiles on Randolph dentist will have extensive training and experience with them. While it sounds invasive and painful, recovery is usually smooth and fast, and complications are extremely rare.
A very common question is regarding pain. While discomfort is very common after the procedure for the first couple of days, some patients do experience minor pain. However, you should contact your dentist if the pain becomes severe or unbearable.
Another common question is about the cost of dental implants. The average cost for the procedure will depend on your region, dentist, insurance, as well as a number of other factors. For example, if you need a tooth extraction beforehand, the cost will be higher.
Depending on these factors, you should expect to pay anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000. We know this is a wide range but again, there are many factors involved. If you look around, you'll find plenty of options for affordable dental implants in your area.
It is important to remember that even though the initial cost will be more expensive, you will save a lot of money over time. Consider it an investment. If you need to replace a bridge every 5 years, you will be spending between $500 and $1,500 every time and needing to repeat the procedure.
Talk to your dental insurance provider or review your plan to see what coverage option they offer for dental implants. You may be able to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the investment over time.
regain Your Smile Today!
Now that you know about the dental implant procedure, you know that it is the best option for replacing your teeth. If you think it's too expensive, just remember that it is a "buy once, cry once" type of purchase. Once you have it, you'll have it forever. Stay up to date with our latest dental news and contact us to schedule a consultation!