Dental implants refer to surgical components added to the bone of the jaw or skull to aid in the support of any dental prosthesis.
What is it?
Dental implant surgery allows for the surgical addition of an artificial tooth root. A titanium post is embedded into or onto the jawbone below an individual’s gums. This new tooth root is then utilized to affix dental prosthetics, such as bridges or crowns, within the patient’s mouth. Individuals can undergo dental implant surgery if they are missing a single tooth or multiple teeth. Implants are beneficial in that they do not easily come free in the way that dentures typically do.
What should I do to prepare?
Patients who receive dental implant surgery can expect to undergo multiple stages of the procedure over several months before it is entirely complete. It is necessary for the jawbone to heal between phases. Previous medical conditions, as well as any current medications, should be discussed with the dentist performing the procedure. Local anesthesia or general anesthesia may be utilized so dietary restrictions may be given by the doctor, in advance of the procedure.
What happens during the process?
There are two leading forms of dental implants, Endosteal implants and Subperiosteal implants. In both cases, dental implant surgery is a multi-step procedure and requires healing time between each stage.
Endosteal dental implants refer to implants that are positioned within the jawbone. These are the most common form of implants. In the first stage of this procedure titanium screws or cylinders are placed directly into the jawbone below the gums. The jawbone and gum tissue are then given the necessary time to heal. In the second stage of this procedure, artificial teeth are affixed to the previously implanted titanium pieces.
Subperiosteal dental implants refer to implants that are positioned next to or on the jawbone. In this procedure, a metal frame with posts is embedded on the jawbone underneath the gum tissue. This frame becomes permanently fastened to the bone as the gum tissue heals around it. After the healing process, the exposed posts serve as anchors for dental prosthetics.
What are the risks and potential complications?
The risks and complications associated with most surgical interventions apply to the risks and complications of dental implants. These complications include a reaction to local anesthetics or anesthesia and the potential for excessive bleeding during or after the procedure. It is possible for a post-procedural infection to occur at the implant site. This condition is commonly treated with antibiotics but can lead to significant pain during the healing process. It is also possible for damage to occur to healthy teeth, blood vessels, or nerves during the procedure. Nerve damage can cause pain or numbness in gums, lips, the chin, or teeth. In rare cases, sinus problems can occur as a result of implants on the upper jaw entering the sinus cavity.
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