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The Process of Placing Dental Implants
Dental implants provide a long-term solution for replacing missing teeth, and the process of dental implant placement requires multiple steps to complete. By understanding what the process involves, you can make an informed decision as to whether or not dental implants are right for you.
How dental implant placement works
Although the procedure is safe and effective for a skilled dentist to carry out, dental implant placement involves several steps and multiple visits to ensure that everything goes well. Each patient is unique, but the following are four steps that are a part of almost every procedure.
The first step towards dental implants is to schedule a time to visit for a free consultation. During this first visit to the dentist, they will examine the patient’s mouth and determine whether or not dental implants are the most appropriate tooth replacement method available to the patient. The oral examination often includes assessing the health of the existing teeth, and more importantly, the health of the gums and supporting bone. Once both the patient and the dentist agree to dental implants, the dentist prepares the mouth for the first procedure where they install the implants.
Preparing the mouth
Each patient is unique with the placement procedure of dental implants. While some may not need much preparation at all, others may require extensive oral care treatment before the first procedure. The two most common preparations a dentist may utilize before the first surgery is periodontal disease treatment and a bone grafting procedure.
Before the implants can be placed, it is essential for the patient to have healthy gums and enough bone in order to support them. In the event that the patient has gum disease and/or has suffered bone loss in the jaw, then preparations are needed to ensure that the implants fuse correctly with the jawbone.
The first procedure
Once the mouth is healthy and there is enough existing bone to support the dental implants, the first surgical procedure can be scheduled. The goal of the first procedure is to place the implants into the gums securely. In doing so, the dentist makes an incision into the gums, makes a small hole into the bone and places the implant. The gums are then stitched shut and the surgery is essentially over. Of course, the patient is placed under anesthesia for the duration of the procedure, and the residual pain can be managed with pain relief medication.
The second procedure
After the placement of the dental implants, a second procedure is often needed to place the abutment and artificial tooth onto the implant. Before doing so, a process known as osseointegration must take place, which is when the bone fuses with the implant. The second procedure is less invasive than the first, and the entire procedure is quick and easy. After the procedure is complete, the patient can go home with replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth.
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