Tooth implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth. They are permanent and stable, and can be used to replace a tooth or multiple teeth. If you are considering a tooth implant, it’s important to understand the different stages of the dental implant treatment process.
Here is a detailed breakdown of the stages of a tooth implant.
1. Consultation and Planning
The first step in the dental implant surgery is to meet with a dental implant specialist, also known as an oral surgeon or periodontist. During the consultation, the specialist will assess your oral health and determine whether a tooth implant is a suitable option for you.
They will examine your mouth, teeth, and gums to ensure that you have sufficient bone density and gum tissue to support the implant. If you have any underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or gum disease, these will also be taken into account.
The specialist will also take X-rays and possibly CT scans to get a detailed view of your jawbone and surrounding structures. This will help them determine the best location for the dental implant procedure and organize the treatment plan.
2. Preparation and Surgery
Before the surgery, you will need to have any necessary dental work done, such as extractions or gum disease treatment. The specialist will also provide you with instructions on how to prepare for the surgery, such as avoiding certain medications and foods.
On the day of the surgery, you will be given a local anaesthetic to numb the area where the implant will be placed.
The specialist will then make an incision in the gum and drill a hole into the jawbone. The implant, which is a small titanium post, will be inserted into the hole and the gum will be stitched closed.
3. Healing and Osseointegration
After the surgery, it’s important to follow the specialist’s post-operative instructions for dental care to ensure that it is healed properly. This may include taking medications, avoiding strenuous activity, and keeping the surgical area clean.
Over the next several weeks, the implant will begin to integrate with the surrounding bone graft, a process known as osseointegration. During this time, it’s important to avoid putting any pressure on the implant, as this could disrupt the healing process.
4. Abutment and Restoration
Once the implant has fully integrated with the bone, the specialist will attach a small connector called an abutment to the implant. The abutment will protrude through the gum tissue and provide a secure attachment point for the final restoration, which can be a crown, bridge, or denture. The abutment placement is in the tooth roots and it connects the implant in long term.
The final restoration will be made by a dental laboratory based on impressions and measurements taken by the specialist. The restoration will be attached to the abutment and secured in place with screws or cement.
5. Follow-Up Care
After the tooth implant is complete, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene to ensure the longevity of the implant. This includes brushing and flossing regularly and visiting the dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings while the implant heals.
In rare cases, tooth implants can fail due to issues with osseointegration or infection. It’s important to be aware of the signs of implant failure, such as pain, swelling, or loose teeth, and to contact the specialist if any of these symptoms occur.
Adjusting to Your New Tooth
Once the final restoration is in place, it may take a little time to get used to your new tooth. It may feel a bit strange at first, and it’s not uncommon to experience some sensitivity to temperature or pressure. But overall the dental implant will look like a natural teeth. These sensations should fade over time as you become accustomed to your new tooth.
It’s also important to be mindful of your bite when you first get a tooth implant. You may need to make some adjustments to your biting and chewing habits to ensure that you are applying even pressure on your teeth. Your specialist or dentist can provide guidance on how to properly care for your new tooth and address any concerns you may have.