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Everything you need to know about Dental Implants and Restorations

Have you ever taken a look in the mirror and wished you could do something about that missing tooth? Well modern technology has allowed us the opportunity to do just that with beautiful Dental Implants. Dental implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth and are designed to blend in with your natural smile. They are an excellent long-term option for restoring and rejuvenating your smile. In fact, the development and use of implants is one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past 40 years. Dental Implants can be purely cosmetic in cases of missing teeth or they can be used for restorative purposes when patients require support for Dentures. Dental implants are made up of titanium and other materials that are compatible with the human body. They are posts that are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, where they function as a sturdy anchor for replacement teeth.

What is the Dental Implant Process?

The Implant Process Generally Takes 3 Steps

Implant1.  First, the dentist surgically places the implant into the jawbone. Your dentist may recommend a diet of soft foods, cold foods and warm soup during the healing process.

2.  Next, the bone around the implant heals in a process called osseointegration. What makes an implant so strong is that the bone actually grows around it and holds it in place. Osseointegration means “combines with the bone” and takes time. Some patients might need to wait until the implant is completely integrated, up to several months, before replacement teeth can be attached to the implant. Other patients can have the implants and replacement teeth placed all in one visit.

3.  Finally, it’s time for the placement of the artificial tooth/teeth. For a single tooth implant, your dentist will customize a new tooth for you, called a dental crown. The crown will be based on size, shape, color and fit, and will be designed to blend in with your other teeth. An abutment will first be placed onto the titanium implant itself, and then the crown will be cemented to the abutment If you are replacing more than a single tooth, custom-made bridges or dentures will be made to fit your mouth and your implants. (Note: The replacement teeth usually take some time to make. In the meantime, your dentist may give you a temporary crown, bridge or denture to help you eat and speak normally until the permanent replacement is ready.)

What to expect during the procedure

Many patients have a fear of the dentist because they instantly assume “pain” when thinking about dentistry. In reality, the assumed pain is more mental than physical.

Prior to having an implant placed, a significant amount of work will take place. Our team will make sure that you get a Panoramic Image taken. This Panoramic X-Ray will show the entire bone structure. At times this may not be enough and you will need to have a 3d X-Ray image taken as well to ensure that the implant is being guided correctly into your bone. Once you are ready for the placement our staff will numb the general area with a topical anesthetic. This is done to slightly numb the area prior to receiving local anesthesia. The Dentist will then choose one of several local anesthetics to use and will administer the anesthesia to the area where the procedure will be done. Typically the patient will feel a slight pinch in the area when getting the first shot, and if more shots are required, there are seldom felt as the area becomes numb quite quickly. Once the Dentist has verified that the patient is adequately numb, they will begin placement of the implant. At this point the patient should not feel any pain, but if for some reason they do, they should let the team know immediately and more anesthetic will be administered. At times local anesthesia is not enough to numb the patient for this procedure. Prior to getting the implant placed, you and your dentist will determine if you will need General Sedation for this procedure. If General Sedation is required, we may refer you to one of our Surgical Specialists or to Temple University School of Dentistry.

After the procedure is complete the patient will still be numb for some time – so we advise patients not to eat until the numbness wears off as they can inadvertently bite their tongue or their lip by accident. Patients may feel a slight pain in the general area where the shot was given once the anesthetics wears off. This is completely normal and will go away within a few hours. As this procedure will require drilling of the actual jaw bone, Pain Medication may often be required and will be prescribed by your Dentist if they determine it to be necessary. Our team will provide you with after care instructions for the implant healing process. Once the implant has successfully healed, you will come back for another appointment where your Dentist will be placing the abutment and will start the preparation for your Implant Crown.