When it comes to tooth replacement options, you have several, one of which is dental implants. Dental implants are an advanced tooth replacement option that comes with several benefits. In addition to improving the aesthetics of your smile, implants can help to improve the functionality of your mouth. They feel and work virtually identically to…
What to Ask Your Dentist About the Dental Implant Process
A dental implant is a popular restoration option among patients due to its natural feel, function, and appearance. Continue reading to learn more about dental implants. These are some questions to ask your dentist about dental implants in order to better understand how this treatment option can benefit you.
Dental implant questions to ask your dentist
No one should have to live with missing teeth that cause oral health, functional, or cosmetic concerns. Fortunately, patients now have more options to restore their smile after tooth loss. Here are some questions to ask a dentist about dental implants and the treatment process.
What are dental implants?
It helps to start with a basic understanding of what dental implants are and what purpose they serve. This information helps patients make a better choice as to whether it is the most appropriate solution for them. Dental implants are a form of tooth replacement involving a titanium post (known as the implant) that is surgically placed into the jawbone to support a prosthesis, such as:
- A full or partial denture
- Fixed bridge
- Single crown or cap
After the implant grafts to the bone, the dentist connects a structure — an abutment — to the implant and then attaches the chosen prosthesis. The benefit of the implant is that the materials do not decay in the mouth as regular dental bridges could. In addition, unlike dentures or fixed bridges, implants do not slip, make noise, or damage bone.
What does the dental implant process involve?
The dental implant process involves several steps and can take more than six months to complete fully. First, patients that have experienced bone loss in the jaw typically require a bone graft procedure. This procedure grafts natural bone (or synthetic material) to the area where the bone loss occurred, which allows for added support for each implant. The implant placement is next. This procedure requires minor surgery. Once the mouth heals and the implants go through osseointegration (fusion with the jawbone), a follow-up procedure is scheduled to place the abutment and the replacement teeth.
Who is an ideal candidate for dental implants?
Dental implants are ideal for anyone with a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth who want a permanent and non-removable solution that looks, feels, and functions similarly to natural teeth. However, patients that choose dental implants over alternative solutions can expect a longer treatment process that involves a more invasive placement procedure. While serious complications are relatively rare, the patient must be willing and able to undergo a more extensive treatment process. Other prime candidates for dental implants include those who:
- Have enough healthy jawbone or can have a bone graft to secure the implant
- Have a fully grown jawbone
- Have healthy oral tissues and habits
- Cannot or prefers not to wear dentures
- Do not smoke or can quit
- Do not have a medical condition that could affect the jawbone from properly healing
What is the healing time for dental implants?
Due to the long implant process, recovery occurs in several steps that may require more than one healing stage. It often depends on the patient's overall health, how many implants the patient needs, and other factors. However, the general implant healing process can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks.
Do I have to restrict my diet after a dental implant procedure?
Immediately following dental implant surgery, an individual should only consume soft foods and liquids, such as yogurt, mashed potatoes, smooth soups, and milkshakes. After three days, the patient can move to soft foods that require little to no chewing, such as macaroni and cheese, soft sandwiches, and scrambled eggs. Avoid crunchy or hard-to-chew foods like pizza, popcorn, burgers, and acidic or spicy foods for up to a week after dental implant surgery. Most patients can resume their regular diet after seven days.
How long do dental implants last?
Dental implants can last a lifetime, and most patients find that their implants last for more than 15 years. However, this refers to the titanium post. The replacement teeth (crown, bridge, or complete denture) may need a replacement every 10 to 15 years, depending on how well the patient takes care of them. To ensure both the implants and the prosthesis last for as long as possible, patients should brush and floss several times a day, limit foods and drinks that could contribute to gum disease, and visit the dentist for regular cleanings.
Are you considering dental implant treatment?
Our team helps patients through the dental implant process, from the consultation visit to providing aftercare services once treatment is complete. Contact our team today to schedule your first visit if you still have questions or would like to begin your dental implant journey.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Dental Implants in Scottsdale, AZ.
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