Selecting the right dentist to perform your dental implant surgery demands as much diligence and thought as selecting a new home or a new car. You only want to trust the best of the best with the future of your oral care.
To make sure you select a dentist with the skills and experience to do your smile justice, ask the following questions during your dental implant consultation.
Is My Mouth Healthy Enough For Implants?
The best candidates for dental implants are seeking a tooth replacement solution that’s more permanent and durable than standard dentures. This includes the willingness and ability to commit several months to the multi-step surgery and recovery process.
However, not everybody meets the baseline requirements for implants. Due to the invasive nature of the dental implant procedure, it’s important that your mouth is healthy enough to sustain the implants.
Make sure you meet these minimum qualifications and talk to your dentist about any concerns you have:
- You have at least one missing tooth
- Your jawbone is strong and thick enough to secure implants
- If your jawbone isn’t strong enough, you are eligible for bone graft surgery
- Your oral tissues are healthy
- You don’t have a chronic illness that may compromise bone healing
- You want to improve your speaking and eating abilities
- You don’t use or smoke tobacco
If you don’t meet the parameters outlined above, you may need additional dental work and healthcare before your dentist can initiate the implant process. For example, you may need to quit smoking, receive aggressive treatment for periodontal disease, or address an underlying health condition like diabetes.
This is why the dental implant procedure is often a team effort between you, your dentist, and your doctors. The healthier your mouth and body are before your implant procedure, the better the outcome!
What Will Be Involved In My Treatment Plan?
Your dentist will customize your implant procedure to address your unique and specific oral care needs. If you’re only replacing a single missing tooth with implants, for example, your treatment plan will remain more streamlined than a patient requesting full mouth reconstruction.
The most common elements of implant treatment planning include:
- Extraction of damaged teeth
- Gum disease treatment
- Bone grafting
- Crowns on existing teeth with damage that can be repaired
- Implants to replace missing teeth
- A bridge across implants to replace multiple teeth simultaneously
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make clarifications as you learn more about your implant treatment process.
Do You Offer Hybridge® Implants?
Hybridge Dental Implants are prosthetics designed to replace all of the teeth on your upper jaw, lower jaw, or both. This unique process doesn’t require an individual implant for every tooth you lose. Instead, a full bridge of new teeth is attached to and supported by a few dental implants.
In this way, Hybridge Dental Implants offer the best of both worlds: they restore full function and aesthetics to your mouth without requiring a long and complex procedure. So if you’re missing multiple teeth and want a simple, functional solution, find a dentist who offers Hybridge.
What Are My Payment Options?
The best dental implants aren’t cheap, but the results are worth infinitely more than the price tag. However, you still need to be aware of the costs you may encounter and plan accordingly.
Most dentists offer payment plans and services such as Credit Care. Others accept insurance policies that cover some costs of dental implants. Ask your dentist about these options, plus possible cost-savings opportunities- so that you can afford the procedure that will restore your confident, attractive smile.
What Implant Technologies Do You Use?
Your dentist’s talents, combined with advanced implant technology, are sure to deliver incredible implant results. Ask your dentist to review the specific implant technologies used for implant procedures.
For example, the advanced technology used in the Hybridge process ensures that all dental implants are placed with extreme accuracy through minimally invasive techniques. Within five weeks of implant placement, a full upper arch is created and placed to mimic the exact feel, function, and appearance of your natural, healthy gum line and teeth.
How Do I Prepare for Dental Implant Surgery?
Implant surgery preparation ranges from patient to patient, so it’s important to ask your dentist what you should expect.
Not all implant patients need to undergo preparation procedures, but these are the most common:
- Tooth extractions remove old, damaged, or decaying teeth to make room for implants
- Bone grafting strengthens and thickens your jawbone to help the implants remain firmly in place
- Gum disease treatment addresses gingivitis and periodontal disease to ensure your gum tissue is healthy enough to receive implants
Tooth extractions are relatively quick and require about 10 days of healing. Bone grafting, on the other hand, is a serious oral surgery procedure that may require up to 12 months of healing before implant surgery can begin.
Will My Dental Implant Procedure Hurt?
Dental implant surgery takes place in multiple steps. This type of oral surgery requires anesthesia. You’ll work with your dentist to choose between local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia.
You won’t feel any pain during the procedure as your dentist extracts old, damaged teeth and places titanium screw implants into your jawbone. This is actually the fastest part of the process! It only takes a few hours for your dentist to insert the titanium implants into your jawbone. Thanks to anesthesia, you won’t feel any pain at all. The exact length of your procedure depends on the number of implants you receive.
Since your crowns can’t be fitted until the implants fuse with your jawbone, your dentist may recommend a temporary denture or bridge during your healing process. This eliminates the need to go without teeth while osseointegration occurs.
Implant surgery involves a strict recovery period. It’s critical to adhere to all of your dentist’s instructions during this time. Ignoring recovery guidelines may compromise your new implants or cause them to fail altogether.
You can expect the following side effects after implant surgery:
These are completely normal reactions, and they typically diminish over the first few days with the help of rest and pain medication.
How Long Is the Process From Start to Finish?
The dental implant process isn’t quick, but the results are definitely worth the wait. Implant treatment generally requires three to six months to complete because it’s an in-depth, multi-step process:
- Extraction of any teeth that will be replaced with implants
- Implant placement into the bone tissue
- Recovery time while implants fuse completely with the jawbone (this takes months)
- Abutment and crown placement
The process may take longer if you need bone grafting surgery before implant placement can begin.
What Should I Expect During Recovery?
The recovery process for dental implants is unique because it takes place in stages. The most essential stage of recovery occurs after your implants are placed. This is called osseointegration, the process of jawbone fusing with each titanium implant. Since the material of the implant is biocompatible, bone can grow into it and accept it as a permanent part of the body.
Keep in mind that osseointegration isn’t fast. It takes three to six months on average, but the upper jawbone may take as long as seven months. As soon as osseointegration is complete, your dentist will place a healing collar in your mouth for about two weeks. A healing collar is a piece of round metal that prevents your gums from growing over the implant.
Osseointegration is vital to implant success. Each titanium screw implanted into your gums replaces lost tooth roots. This provides a solid base for your new crowns and offers ongoing stimulation to the jawbone.
Complete healing takes a few months, but you won’t continue to feel pain and discomfort as long as you follow your dentist’s recovery instructions.
Your dentist will recommend many tips and techniques for healing, including:
- Do not smoke, as nicotine constricts vessels and prevents blood from flowing into soft tissue to provide oxygen and nutrients for healing
- Maintain consistent oral hygiene
- Eat soft foods
- Limit physical activity
- Return for a post-op visit 1-2 weeks after treatment
After Steps 1-4 are complete, it’s finally time for the most exciting part: receiving your crowns that mimic the look, feel, and function of real teeth.
To schedule your dental implant consultation and start your journey to a healthier mouth, call Arvada Dental Center today. Dr. Gregory Bennett and his team specialize in dental implant procedures and have years of experience helping patients overcome their unique dental challenges.