When you are missing a tooth or multiple teeth, there are plenty of cosmetic and functional problems that you will face. The overall look of your smile will be noticeably different, and your ability to eat certain foods may be adversely affected as well. This is why it's so important that you meet with skilled restorative dentists and oral surgeons to discuss the possibility of getting dental implants.
We field a number of questions when it comes to dental implants, many of which are related to the treatment process and how long it requires. Let's take a moment right now to consider the various stages of treatment in brief.
About Dental Implants
First, some of the basics about implant dentistry. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically placed into the jawbone and gum tissue. When they are in place, they are able to hold dental restorations with comparable stability to natural tooth roots. Problems with gum recession and bone loss are eliminated thanks to the use of dental implants as well.
The Initial Consultation for Dental Implants
The first step of treatment is the initial consultation. During this consultation, your overall eligibility for dental implants will be discussed in full detail. If you are not a good candidate for dental implants, alternative treatments can be discussed as well as additional surgeries that may make you eligible for getting dental implants placed (more on that later).
The Oral Surgery
Good candidates for dental implants will then undergo oral surgery. This will involve incisions made in the gum tissue through which the dental implant(s) will be anchored in place. There are different means of doing this depending on your needs, which will be discussed prior to the oral surgery during the consultation process.
The Healing Period After Oral Surgery
The longest part of the dental implants process is the healing and recovery phase. This is a months-long period that is essential for successful dental implant treatment.
During these months of healing, something known as osseointegration must take place. This means the fusion of the dental implants with your jawbone and gum tissue. By merging the dental implants with your living tissue, the dental implants will be able to provide optimal stability.
The Placement of the Implant Restoration
Once the osseointegration has taken place, the implant restoration is crafted. It is carefully created to match with your natural teeth and to complement the tooth/teeth on the opposite dental arch. Once the dental restoration is placed, the process is completed and you will be able to chew, smile, and speak as normal.
Additional Surgeries to Make a Person Eligible for Dental Implants
If a person is not a good candidate for dental implants due to poor bone density or lack of healthy gum tissue, gum grafting and/or bone grafting surgeries can be performed to build up this tissue. These surgeries involve the use of donor tissue from the patient or artificial soft tissue or hard tissue grafts.
The success and effectiveness of bone grafting and soft tissue augmentation will depend on a number of factors, and it will add several months to the process before the dental implants are even placed.
Learn More About Implant Dentistry
For more information about dental implants and your many other options for advanced surgery of the mouth and facial structures, be sure to contact our Alabama oral and maxillofacial surgery centers today. Our entire team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve overall good health and wellness.