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Getting Dental Implants: What You Need to Know

dental implants

Did you know that 3 in 5 people hate how their smile looks? Many people are insecure about their smile due to dental issues. Many of these dental issues, however, are easily treatable through minimally invasive procedures. 

One of the most common dental insecurities is one or more missing teeth. If you are dealing with this problem, then you may want to consider dental implants. Dental implants are one of the most commonly performed dental procedures around today.

When you decide to get dental implants, your dentist will help you to create a personalized plan that works best for your specific needs. This is everything you need to know about this common dental treatment.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implant surgery replaces tooth roots with metal posts while also replacing missing or damaged teeth with an artificial tooth. These artificial teeth look and function just like real teeth. 

Dental implants are used as alternatives to fixed bridgework or dentures. They are often a better solution than these options as the titanium in dental implants fuses with your jawbone, eliminating the risk of slippage or bone damage. Both slippage and bone damage are risks you encounter when choosing fixed bridgework or dentures.

The Benefits of Dental Implants

If you are on the fence about getting dental implants, then you need to consider all of the amazing benefits this procedure offers. One of the biggest benefits of dental implants is that they last a lifetime. Ideally, you will only have to go through the procedure once in your life.

Dental implants can also work to keep your adjacent teeth stable. When you are missing a tooth, the teeth around the gap may shift, causing your teeth to become misaligned. This can cause bite problems and limit your ability to correctly chew food.

You will also want to consider dental implants as a preventative measure. Dental implants can prevent gum disease. When you have a gap in your teeth, you can trap food and bacteria that can lead to gum disease if left untreated.

To discover more benefits of dental implants, check out our recent blog post on the subject.

The Dental Implant Process

Are you unsure of what to expect from the dental implant procedure? The dental implant process takes several months to complete, but it is well worth it in the end. Here are the steps you and your dentist will take before, during, and after surgery day.

  1. Preparation: You will first have an initial consultation with your dentist to make sure you are a good fit for the surgery. You will need a comprehensive dental exam that may include X-rays and models made of your teeth a jaw. Your dentist will also review your medical history and create a personalized treatment plan.
  2. Tooth extraction: If you have any remaining tooth in the area where your implants will be placed, then your dentist will have to remove this. Your dentist will numb the area before extracting the remaining tooth or teeth.
  3. Dental implant: Next, your dentist will make a cut to open the gum and expose the bone. Holes will then be drilled into the bone where the metal post will be placed. Then, the post is implanted and you will be sent home to recover for a few months while the jawbone grows into the surface of the implant.
  4. Bone grafting: Bone grafting is an optional step in the process that may need to be completed before you have the implant surgery. If your jawbone is not strong enough to handle the implant, then you may first need bone grafting. You may have to wait several months before your bone generates the strength to handle the implant.
  5. Abutment placement: Once your implant is stable, your dentist will place an abutment to the top of the implant. The abutment connects the implant to your crown and will need to be tightened to stay in place while you eat and talk. You will likely get local anesthesia during this process, so you will not feel any pain.
  6. Permanent Crown: Once your gums are healed, your dentist will make your artificial crown. You can choose teeth that are fixed, removable, or a combination of both. Here at Forest Park Dental, we have an on-site lab to complete this process.

Although dental implant surgery is not painful or incredibly invasive, it is important to make sure you prioritize your recovery. After the procedure, you will likely experience mild discomfort, just like you would with any dental surgery.

After the surgery, you may experience symptoms such as minor bleeding, swelling of the gums, bruising of the gums, and pain at the implant site. Some dentists will prescribe antibiotics or pain medication after the procedure if you are experiencing major swelling or discomfort.  

While you are healing, it is important to eat soft foods that will not irritate your gums or teeth. You will likely have dissolvable stitches that will not need to be removed as they will disappear on their own. 

Once your implants have healed, you need to keep up with regular oral hygiene and routine dental visits. Visiting your dentist a few times a year can help you to ensure that your implants are working the way they need to. It is also essential to avoid hard food that can break or damage your crowns.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

If you are in the St. Louis area and are ready to restore your smile and your confidence, then get in touch with the specialists at Forest Park Dental to discuss dental implants. We will work with you to create a specialized plan for your dental needs.

Feel free to contact us today with any questions or concerns. You can also check out our FAQ page and our blog to see if your questions have already been answered! We are happy to help you with any and all of your dental care.

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