Many people use the terms dental office and dental clinic interchangeably. The confusion is understandable, but they are not exactly the same thing. Dental offices have to contain a dental clinic, but there are also dental clinics that exist in places other than dental offices.A dental clinic is a place where a dentist performs oral…
A Cosmetic Dentist Explains the Process and Visits When Getting Dental Implants
Dental implants replace missing teeth, improving your appearance as well as your oral health. This is one of the many reasons cosmetic dentists love to include implants in smile makeovers.
Implant-supported teeth are as close as you get to natural teeth. They are just as easy to clean and maintain. Implant-supported teeth are also permanent. They sit firmly in place and allow you to eat and talk without the discomfort and slippage that is common with dentures and other types of artificial teeth. These are just a few of the reasons you should choose dental implants if a cosmetic dentist recommends them.
Who is a good candidate for dental implants?
A cosmetic dentist prefers to recommend dental implants to healthy patients. A healthy person is less likely to develop complications during and after the procedures that go into the placement of implant-supported teeth. A healthy person will also heal faster and have a shorter recovery after each procedure.
A dentist will usually advise their patients to choose alternative teeth replacement options if:
- The person has weakened immunity
- The person is on blood thinners or another medication that can cause complications during the procedures
- The patient has a condition that causes them to heal slowly, like diabetes
In addition, a cosmetic dentist will only recommend dental implants to people who have good oral health and good oral habits. They will be reluctant to place implants in the mouth of a heavy smoker. On the rare occasion that a dentist green-lights a smoker, they will ask the person to quit smoking leading up to the surgery. They will also tell the person to stay away from cigarettes while they recover.
If a dentist does recommend dental implants to a patient with a health condition, they will consult with the person's primary physician beforehand. They will work with the patient’s doctor to take precautions that minimize the risk of complications and implant failure.
The process of dental implant placement
A patient will have to go through at least one minor oral surgery before they can enjoy functional implant-supported artificial teeth. The process starts with an exhaustive dental exam that helps the dentist craft a treatment plan. The dentist will proceed to take impressions of the patient’s mouth. They will use these impressions to fabricate the artificial teeth that will sit on the dental implant.
Here are the different procedures that go into the installation of dental implants and the restorations they support:
1. Tooth extraction
Some patients who need dental implants have damaged teeth that are past saving. A dentist will extract the affected teeth before placing implants. Depending on the patient’s condition, the dentist may place a dental implant immediately after the extraction.
The dentist may also choose to wait for the patient to heal from the extraction.
2. Bone graft surgery
This procedure is only for patients who lack the bone mass to anchor an implant but still qualify for dental implants. Bone graft surgery involves placing donor bone in the jaw, at the site of the missing tooth. The oral surgeon will usually wait for the donor bone to integrate with the jaw before placing a dental implant. If bone graft surgery targets the back of the upper jaw, an oral surgeon may need to perform a sinus lift instead.
3. Sinus lift
An oral surgeon performs a sinus lift to make room for an implant that goes in the back of the mouth, in the upper jaw. The procedure protects the tissues that lie above the upper jaw from injury. A sinus lift involves raising the maxillary sinus floor by placing bone granules between the jaw and the sinus.
A sinus lift is a form of bone grafting. An oral surgeon will only perform the procedure if the maxillary sinus is positioned in a way that puts it at risk of injury during implant placement. They will also perform the procedure to restore or increase bone mass in the upper jaw.
4. Implant placement
This procedure starts with a small incision in the gums to expose the jawbone. The oral surgeon or dentist proceeds to drill a small hole for the dental implant to rest in.
The dentist then places the implant in the hole. A dental implant is a small biocompatible post that comes in the shape of a hollow screw with threads on the outer and inner surfaces. Once the dentist puts the implant in the hole, they cover the hollow part of the implant with a healing cap. In some situations, the dentist may screw on an abutment instead.
5. Installation of the abutment
The oral surgeon may wait for the implant to fuse with the jawbone before they place the abutment. Or they may attach the abutment immediately after they place the implant.
In the first scenario, the patient will see the dentist after the implant integrates with the surrounding jawbone. The dentist will open the gums to expose the top of the implant. They will unscrew the healing cap that covers the implant. They will clean the surgical site and proceed to attach the abutment by screwing it into the implant. The upper end of the abutment sits above the gum lines, so the oral surgeon will suture the gums shut around the abutment.
6. Placement of the dental restoration
An implant-supported installation can be a dental crown, a bridge or a set of dentures. After the gums heal around the abutment, a dentist will attach a tailor-made restoration onto the abutment.
Set up your consultation today
The process of dental implant placement is a pain-free affair, thanks to modern dentistry and anesthetics. Recovery from each procedure does require aftercare, and a cosmetic dentist will provide guidance to help you through the healing process.
Depending on your situation, our cosmetic dentist may advise you to combine two or more procedures in order to reduce the number of sessions you spend in the dentist’s chair. Reach out and arrange to meet with our cosmetic dentist. They will work with you to find the best way to restore and improve your smile.
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