Dental implants have revolutionized the way we approach missing teeth, offering long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing solutions. At Lakeway Cosmetic Dentistry, we often receive questions about how the dental implant procedure works. In this post from the Lakeway Cosmetic Dentistry blog, we’ll cover each step of the dental implant procedure, from initial consultation to the final placement of the crown, including crucial stages like bone grafting and aftercare.
The Initial Consultation: Setting the Stage for Your Implant Journey
The first and one of the most crucial steps in your dental implant journey at Lakeway Cosmetic Dentistry is the initial consultation. During this appointment, we establish a comprehensive understanding of your oral health and specific needs. Our expert team conducts a thorough examination of your mouth, including teeth, gums, and jawbone. This often involves taking digital X-rays or 3D images to assess bone density and determine the feasibility of an implant.
Assessing the Need for Bone Grafting
An important part of the dental implant procedure is evaluating the jawbone’s condition. If the bone is too thin or soft to support an implant, bone grafting may be required. This process involves transplanting bone tissue to strengthen the jawbone, ensuring it can securely hold the implant. The source of the graft can be from another part of your body or synthetic materials. This step is crucial for the long-term success of the implant.
Placing the Implant
Once the jawbone is prepared or deemed ready, the next phase is placing the implant. During this surgical procedure, the dental implant, a small post made of titanium, is placed into the bone socket of the missing tooth. This post serves as a replacement for the tooth root, creating a strong foundation for the artificial tooth.
Waiting for Bone Growth and Healing
Following the placement of the implant, osseointegration begins. This process involves the jawbone growing into and uniting with the surface of the dental implant, a period that can take several months. This fusion creates a solid base for the new artificial tooth, just as roots do for natural teeth.
Placing the Abutment
Once osseointegration is complete, an abutment – a small connector post – is placed on the dental implant to securely hold the new tooth. To attach the abutment, a minor surgery, typically in an outpatient setting, is required. After this procedure, a healing period is needed before the artificial tooth (or teeth) can be attached.
Placing the Crown
After your gums heal, we make impressions of your mouth and remaining teeth to create the crown – your new artificial tooth. The crown can’t be placed until your jawbone is strong enough to support the use of the new tooth. You and your dentist can choose between a removable or fixed crown based on your needs and preferences.
Recovery and What to Expect
Post-surgery, you may experience some typical discomforts, such as swelling of the gums, minor bleeding, bruising of the skin and gums, and pain at the implant site. Prescription medications or over-the-counter pain relievers can manage this discomfort. Most people can return to normal daily activities the day after surgery, but this can vary depending on the individual case and the extent of the work done.
Aftercare for Longevity
Taking care of dental implants is similar to caring for natural teeth. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups are vital. Avoiding damaging habits, like chewing hard items or smoking, also contributes significantly to the longevity of your implant.
For Dental Implants in Austin, TX, and the Surrounding Areas, Trust Lakeway Cosmetic Dentistry
At Lakeway Cosmetic Dentistry, we’re committed to providing comprehensive care and detailed information every step of the way. The dental implant process is a journey to restoring not just the functionality but also the aesthetics of your smile. If you’re considering dental implants in Austin, TX, or the surrounding areas, contact us for a consultation and embark on the path to a renewed, confident smile.