Dental implants have become extremely common nowadays and are the first option for the replacement of missing teeth. This is because the procedure has an extremely high percentage of success (close to 97 percent), is quick and painless, and has been becoming more affordable than ever before.
Dental implants are basically root shaped titanium inserts that are placed inside the jaw bone of the patients. These implants are then allowed to heal inside the bone for a period ranging from 3-6 months. Once the dentist is satisfied that the implant has fully integrated with the surrounding bone, it is uncovered and the phase of prosthetic rehabilitation is started.
Once you have decided, with your doctor, that a dental implant is the best course of action, you will most likely be directed for some routine blood investigations, a thorough medical history and some additional X-rays if deemed necessary. This is done just to make sure that the patient is fit for surgery.
The process of placing the implants is done under local anesthesia or nitrous oxide, similar to that of an extraction. The site where the implant/implants have to be placed is uncovered by making a small surgical incision.
Your dentist may choose to augment the bone by placing a bone graft at the site of implant placement. The decision to place a bone graft is most often made before the surgical procedure with the help of X-rays, however it can sometimes be made during the procedure itself.
The dentist will then prepare the bone to receive the dental implant by drilling with a sequence of drills, each larger in size than before, until the desired size of preparation has been reached. The dental implant of appropriate length and width will then be inserted in this site.
This entire process literally takes a few minutes. The patient does not feel anything other than a little pressure and a few vibrations. Stiches are then placed to close the surgical site.
The time between the surgical procedure and the prosthetic phase varies according to the kind of bone present, the amount of implants placed and even the kind of prosthesis planned. This range usually falls in between 3-6 months.
The uncovering of the implants is done under local anesthesia and then precise parts which will attach the prosthesis to the implants are placed. Impressions will be made carefully and sent to the lab for fabrication of the prosthesis.
This entire process can take around 2 weeks from the time of implant placement and is completely painless.
Post -Operative Care And Long-Term Maintenance
The dental implants are very similar to natural teeth in appearance and also require a similar amount of care for long term success. Make sure that you do not miss your routine visits to your dentist that will ensure that the health of your implant is maintained. Careful hygiene maintenance and protection of the prosthesis from excessive loads is also something that patients will have to think about.
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