Dental Implants: What to Expect?
Dental implant surgery is a procedure commonly performed to repair a person’s smile through the replacement of damaged teeth with new dental implants. The surgery can be done as a result of accidental damage or long-term decay, or as a cosmetic dentistry procedure to correct a smile for aesthetic purposes. Whatever the case, patients who undergo dental implantation are left with a gorgeous new smile that functions just like natural teeth.
Dental Implant Procedure Cost and Preparation
The cost of dental implants varies depending upon the amount and kind of work required, but Dr. Mark Burhenne of askthedentist.com estimates the total cost, after insurance, to average around $3,000-5,000 per tooth. Make sure you talk to your dentist about your options beforehand and ask any questions you may have about cost openly and candidly. Your dentist may be aware of discounts or programs that allow you to get your implants done at a reduced cost.
Before you are approved for a dental implant procedure, your dentist will need to perform a thorough examination of your teeth, including taking dental impressions and/or x-rays to get both an external and internal view of your teeth and any damage or deformities.
Once your dentist has determined that you will need one or more dental implants, he or she will work with you to develop an appropriate treatment plan. Throughout this planning process, you may be required to visit a number of specialists and/or surgeons (often a prosthodontist and oral surgeon) to get a holistic view of what can be done. During this stage, it is extremely important to talk to your dentist about any concerns you may have, as well as disclose any medical conditions you have and medications, supplements, or over-the-counter drugs you may be taking.
Before surgery, you should also discuss your anesthesia options with your oral surgeon. Let them know if you have a preference for local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia, or if you have any concerns about becoming nauseous as a result of the anesthesia. Of course, you will also want to make sure you have a friend or family member with you on the day of surgery who can drive you home after the procedure.
The Benefits of Dental Implants
For those who require them to replace damaged teeth, dental implants can be an outright blessing. Difficulty with biting and chewing due to malformed teeth and/or pain can be corrected over a relatively short period of time with the help of dental implants. Because the implants are designed to fit each individual patient’s mouth and suit their needs, dental implantation is like getting new teeth without having to settle for dentures, crowns, or bridges.
The cosmetic benefits of getting dental implants are significant, as well. As compared to veneers, which are applied over the teeth, dental implants completely replace malformed, permanently discolored teeth with solid, expertly-sculpted implants. Dental implants are not just thin cover-ups for less-than-perfect teeth—they’re your own beautiful new teeth, ready for chewing, brushing, and smiling.
Dental implants can also help with issues of speech, comfort, and self-esteem. Those with lisps and other speech impediments caused by malformed teeth, overbites, and other issues can find relief from life-long pronunciation troubles with the help of dental implants.
Similarly, some people may find relief from discomfort caused by extreme overbites, underbites, and/or protruding teeth. Whatever the reason for seeking the surgery, dental implants play a huge role in increasing a person’s self-esteem, even if no one else notices.
Undergoing the Procedure
Dental implant procedures are generally performed on an outpatient basis and are done in several stages across several surgical appointments. The various dental implant procedure steps can be roughly described as follows:
- First, any damaged or malformed teeth are removed. If a tooth is simply missing, this step is irrelevant.
- At this point, any bone grafting that may be required will be performed. The jawbone will be prepared for the dental implantation, and the patient will be required to wait for the jawbone to heal before the post can be inserted.
- Once the jaw is healed and strong enough to support the procedure, medical-grade metal posts are implanted into the bone where the new prosthetic teeth are needed. After this step, you will need to let your jaw heal again; this can take several months.
- After this second healing period (or first, if your jaw did not require any bone grafting or surgical preparation), the surgeon will add extensions to the metal posts known as an “abutments.” The soft tissue will need to heal again after this is done.
- Finally, when the soft tissue is fully healed, molds can be made of your teeth for the production of artificial teeth that can be placed over the implanted posts.
- The entire process of dental implantation can take several months to a year to complete, as it requires healing time between key stages. The amount of time the process will take depends strongly upon the initial state of your jaw and the amount of work to be done. Regardless, the results are well worth the time investment.
Dental Implant Surgery Recovery
As with any surgery, dental implantation procedures will require a period of gentle care and recovery after the procedure to ensure proper healing. If discomfort is expected after your surgery, your dentist or surgeon may recommend a particular pain medication. If you have any problems with this medication, contact your dentist right away.
Your dentist or surgeon will also likely provide you with his or her own list of recommendations for aftercare, including a specific diet and oral hygiene routine to follow. In general, you should expect to ingest only soft foods or liquids for the first several days after the surgery until the swelling and pain subside. After this point, you should be able to slowly transition back to a normal, solid diet and enjoy the full benefits of your new dental implants.
You should also continue to floss and brush your teeth daily as normal, making sure to treat your gums and the area of the implants gently, making sure to keep them free of debris. You should also include an antibacterial mouth rinse in your oral hygiene regimen to keep your new implants healthy and clean. With proper care during this healing period, the majority of patients have a problem-free healing experience and are left with beautiful, perfectly-functional new teeth.
Get Your Best Smile with Dental Implants from Northwest Houston Prosthodontics
There’s nothing like the feeling of having a beautiful, healthy smile. Whether you need to replace a missing or damaged tooth or simply want to fix an aesthetic issue with dental cosmetics, Bella Vita Smiles can help you create a healthy, beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime. From routine cleanings to porcelain veneers, our general dentistry and prosthodontics practice in Spring, TX strives to provide the best in patient care in everything we do.
Bella Vita Smiles gives patients the benefit of over 25 years of experience, as well as the expertise of a knowledgeable, board-certified prosthodontist (Mo Koutrach, D.D.S, F.A.C.P). We also offer comprehensive dental services, free dental implant consultations, and convenient same week appointments.
The gorgeous smile of your dreams is well within your reach! To discuss the numerous benefits of dental implants or see a dentist about any dental concerns you may have, request an appointment today.