Having a missing tooth, whether due to injury (not a baby tooth) or from an extraction, can be very upsetting and have a negative impact on your smile and self-esteem. Fortunately, thanks to dental implants, you don’t have to live toothless forever.
The dental implant procedure is surgery, so not everyone is a candidate and there are numerous things to consider and prepare for.
Are You a Candidate for Dental Implant Surgery?
Before you can be considered for any surgery, you must be in good general health. For dental implant surgery, you must also be in good oral health. If you’re a smoker, your oral surgeon will most likely strongly advise that you quit before the procedure. In addition, those who have compromised immune systems, such as those with poorly controlled diabetes, may not be candidates due to the fact that they may not be able to heal properly after the procedure.
Since a dental implant requires a minimum amount of bone to secure it properly in the jaw, those with bone density problems also may not be candidates. It is possible, however, to have a bone graft prior to the surgery to build up the bone needed.
Your age is not a detriment as long as you are in good general health.
What Should You Expect from Dental Implant Surgery?
After your consultation appointment, your dentist will request X-rays and perhaps a CT scan in order to effectively plan your surgery. The procedure itself is often faster than a wisdom teeth extraction. The dentist will make a small incision in your gums and insert a titanium post into your jawbone.
The post must adhere and graft to your jaw, which often takes a couple of months. Once your dentist has confirmed that the post has successfully integrated with your bone, you will have another appointment to attach an abutment to the post, which is the anchor for the crown or bridge that will be attached.
As a result, the titanium posts acts as a tooth root for the crown, which helps preserve the jawbone as well as securely hold the crown. Implants can even be used to hold down dentures if needed.
Recovery time will vary from patient to patient and depends on how many implants are needed. For example, a patient needing to replace only one tooth will have a greater recovery speed than one who needs several teeth replaced. Your overall health and whether you are a smoker also affects recovery time.
And of course, if you have any questions about whether you are a candidate for dental implants or about the surgery itself, never hesitate to talk to your dentist about it. Before committing to any surgery, you should always go in as informed as possible!