If one or more of your teeth are missing, there are numerous ways to replace them. Dental implant surgery presents one of the most reliable long-term solutions for artificial replacement teeth.
Even though the entire process of getting dental implants can take quite some time, they are extremely comfortable and have a completely natural look and functionality.
Keep reading to learn more about dental implants in Ottawa and whether they are a good fit for you.
Dental Implant Surgery: an Overview
Dental implant surgery is a common dental procedure intended to replace a natural tooth or teeth. With dental implants, tooth roots are replaced with metal screw-like posts, while missing or damaged teeth are replaced with artificial crowns that function and look just like real ones.
Dental implants are a great alternative to bridges or dentures when the prosthetics do not fit well or when a lack of natural teeth don’t allow using bridges for tooth replacement.
The exact way and stages in which a dental implant surgery is completed depends on the condition of your jawbone and a type of implant. The entire dental implant process may involve several dentist visits and take many months. The biggest benefit of dental implants is solid and reliable support for new teeth – that is why this process requires some time for the bone to fuse tightly with the implant post.
Why Should You Get Dental Implants?
Dental implants are surgically implanted in the jawbone, where they function as roots of missing teeth. The most common material used for the surgery is titanium, as it fuses tightly with the bone. This means that the implants won’t cause bone damage, slip, or make noises, like dentures or fixed bridges might. In addition, materials used for dental implants can’t decay over time, like your own teeth supporting the bridgework can.
Generally, you may be a good candidate for a dental implant surgery if you:
- Have one or several missing teeth
- Have enough bone to secure the implants or get a bone graft
- Have a jawbone that has reached its adults size
- Don’t have health conditions that might affect bone healing
- Have healthy oral tissues
- Want to improve your speech
- Don’t smoke tobacco
- Are unwilling or unable to wear dentures
- Are willing to commit several months to the full process
Dental Implant Surgery Procedure & Steps
- Because dental implants require several surgical procedures, your oral surgeon or dentist will do a complete evaluation of your oral health, including teeth models and X-rays to make sure that your future implants will match well with your natural teeth.
- Next, the dentist will evaluate the condition of our jawbone, considering how many teeth you plan to replace with implants.
- Your dental specialist will also ask you about any medical conditions you have and all the medications you are taking, even the ones bought over the counter. Do you have orthopedic implants or heart conditions? If so, your dentist or oral surgeon may prescribe antibiotics prior to the surgery to avoid infection.
- Your dentist will discuss local anesthesia and dental sedation options with you and whether you would need one for the procedure. The oral surgeon might also provide you with a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” that you should follow leading up to the surgical appointment.
- You should arrange for a family member or a friend to drive you to the dental clinic on the day of the surgery, as you may not be in a suitable condition to drive yourself after the procedure. Take the rest of the day off to rest and recover.
During the Surgery
Dental implant surgery is completed in several stages, as your jawbone needs some time to fully heal around the implant before more work can be done:
- The damaged or decayed tooth is extracted (if it is not missing already).
- The jawbone is prepared for the surgery. This may include bone grafting.
- Once the jawbone has healed enough, the metal implant is screwed into the bone.
- The jaw will take some time to heal again. Then, the surgeon will screw the abutment into the implant and attach the artificial tooth crown on top of it.
This entire process might take several months, as your jaw will need to heal in preparation for the final installation of the implant. If you don’t have a strong jawbone, the implant will fail, so it is important to be patient and allow for the healing.
When Bone Grafting is Required
If your jawbone is too soft or not thick enough, a bone grafting procedure may be required before you can have the implant placed into the jaw. When you chew, a strong pressure is exerted on your bone, and if it isn’t able to support the implant, the surgery is likely to fail. A bone graft can be used to create a more solid base for the implant.
There are a few bone grafting materials that can be used for this purpose:
- Natural bone graft: for example, bone from another location in your body
- Synthetic bone graft: a bone-substitute material
You may have to wait several months for the bone graft to heal enough to support a dental implant. Sometimes, you may need only minimal bone grafting, which can be completed at the same time the tooth is extracted or during the implant surgery.
The condition of your bone will largely determine the specifics of the entire dental implant process for you.
Placing the Dental Implant
During the surgery, the oral surgeon will make a cut to open your gum and expose the bone.
Then, the holes are drilled in the bone, where the metal post will be positioned. The implant will serve as the tooth root, so it needs to be placed deep into the jawbone.
At this step, you will still have a missing tooth. A temporary partial denture can be placed for appearance, if needed. This denture can be removed for cleaning or at night.
Waiting for Bone Growth
After the dental implant is inserted into the jawbone, the process called osseointegration starts. During this time, the bone grows and fuses with the surface of the mental post. This could take around 3 months and helps to create a reliable base for the new tooth.
Placing the Abutment
After a few months, you will need another oral surgery to place the abutment – a part, to which the crown will be attached. This procedure includes the following steps:
- Your oral surgeon or dentist reopens the gum to expose the implant.
- The abutment is attached to the dental implant.
- The gum tissue is closed again, around the abutment.
Choosing Your New Artificial Teeth
Once your gums have sufficiently healed, you will need more impressions of your mouth. These impressions will be used to make a realistic custom crown. The crown will be placed once your jawbone is strong enough to support the new tooth.
Your dental specialist will advise you on what type of artificial teeth will work best for you:
- Removable. This is similar to a traditional removable denture, and can be a full or partial denture. This will include artificial teeth surrounded by pink plastic gum. It will be mounted on a metal frame attached to the abutment and snapped securely in place. You can remove these dentures for cleaning.
- Fixed. With a fixed crown, an artificial tooth will be cemented or permanently screwed into each individual implant abutment. The tooth won’t need to be removed for cleaning. Instead, you will be able to brush it just like your natural teeth.
After the Procedure
Dental implants are a surgical procedure. Therefore, you are likely to experience the typical discomfort associated with a dental surgery:
- Pain at the implant site
- Swelling of gums and face
- Minor bleeding
- Bruising of your skin and gums
You may be prescribed antibiotics or pain medications for the days following the surgery. If your discomfort, swelling, or bleeding gets a lot worse, contact your oral surgeon immediately.
In addition, after each surgery, you may be able to eat only soft foods to allow the surgical site to heal.
Dental Implant Results
Most of the time, dental implant surgery is successful. However, in some cases, the bone may fail to fuse enough with the metal post. For example, smoking or use of tobacco may lead to complications and implant failure.
If the bone does not fuse with the implant, the implant can be removed and the bone is cleaned. You may try the implant surgery again in 3 months.
There are a few simple steps you can take to help your natural teeth and dental work to last longer:
- Practice oral hygiene. It is important to keep your artificial teeth, implants, and gum around them clean. Floss and brush your dental implants the same way you would brush your natural teeth. You can use a special interdental brush to make sure to clean well around teeth, metal posts, and gums.
- See your dentist regularly. Schedule dental hygiene and checkups regularly to make sure your implants function properly.
- Avoid bad habits. Do not chew hard foods, such as hard candy or ice, as they could break your natural teeth or implants. Avoid the use of tobacco products and limit caffeine consumption. Talk to your dentist if you grind or clench your teeth.
Choose Dental Implant Specialists at Rockcliffe Dental & Denture Centre
If you are wondering whether a dental implant surgery is right for you, consider scheduling an appointment with one of our dentists at Rockcliffe Dental & Denture Centre. We have an experienced team of dental professionals, including dentists, oral surgeons, and denturists to provide you with comprehensive dental care.
Call our dental office today to talk about your dental implant options in Ottawa.