Perhaps, you have already reviewed the various tooth restoration options available today and have decided on dental implants as your best option. But did you know that in some cases you may need to take steps to prepare your mouth for the procedure?
Everyone should prepare mentally and should learn the basics of how implants work. In most cases, that is enough. But in some situations, there may be additional preparations that are necessary for an optimal experience and end-result.
Prepare Yourself Mentally & In Regard to Oral Hygiene
Getting dental implants placed is a major dental procedure, though one that is routinely done these days by skilled periodontists. As with any major operation, you want to come as mentally prepared as possible.
All dental implants patients should learn the basics as to what dental implants are and how they work. Modern implants consist of a titanium implant rod that will firmly fuse to the bone matter below your gums through a process called osseointegration. Supportive posts may be erected to the side of the implants. And a modern dental crown that looks, feels, and functions just like a natural tooth will attach to the top end of the implant rod.
The “planting” of the dental implants can usually be done in a single day in one dental appointment. If you are getting several implants, though, you might want to break it up into multiple appointments to make things easier on your mouth.
It can take time for the implants to fuse to the bone, so you want to take it easy and not bite down hard right after the procedure. Sometimes, a temporary crown is worn, but it is possible to have the permanent crown placed same-day or to just go without crowns until the permanent crown is placed later.
So you want to know what to expect during and after the operation. And you also want to thoroughly clean your teeth before coming to the periodontist. It may be a good idea to avoid eating during the hours just preceding your appointment.
You May Need An Extraction First
In some cases, you are not dealing with a missing tooth but with a tooth that cannot be salvaged. You may need an extraction done before having the dental implant placed in its stead.
A simple extraction can normally be done on the same day as the implant placement. The periodontist simply takes the old tooth out and puts the implant rod into the socket it leaves behind.
If you need a surgical extraction, it may still be possible to do it same-day with the dental implants, but you might want to let your mouth heal for a while first. It depends on the exact situation, and your periodontist will give you his expert recommendation.
Soft Tissue Grafts May Be Needed Before Implants
In order to be a good candidate for dental implants, you need to have reasonably healthy gums. If you have periodontal disease, it will need to be treated first.
If you lack sufficient periodontal tissue or have to have some removed due to infection, soft tissue grafts may be necessary to prepare your mouth to receive the implants.
Soft tissue grafts take several forms. It may mean taking tissue from your palate or elsewhere in your own mouth to then cover exposed tooth roots. Dental sutures will be used to hold the tissue in place. It may also involve using periodontal tissue from a tissue bank. But whichever form gum graft surgery takes, it will take weeks or months of healing before the mouth is then ready to receive dental implants.
Bone Grafts Sometimes Must Precede Dental Implants
The most common operative preparation necessary for dental implants is bone graft surgery. Bone grafts may be sourced from the patient’s own jawbone, hip, or tibia or from a tissue bank. The bone material is placed with your existing bone lying just below the gums. This part of the jaw is called the alveolar ridge and is where teeth are naturally embedded. The new bone material will gradually mingle and fuse to the old, and it will stimulate further growth of your alveolar ridge as well.
Many times, bone grafts are needed before getting dental implants because the bone has shrunken after an extraction or after losing a tooth. Absent the daily pressures of chewing on the bone below your teeth, the body resorbs much of the bone material. There is a minimum thickness and height required of the bone that dental implants must fuse to. The bone must be of sufficient size and strength, and bone graft surgery can help you get to the point where your jaw is ready to take dental implants.
Financial Preparation For Getting Dental Implants
Many people fear they won’t be able to afford dental implants, but most can if they take the necessary steps. First of all, your periodontist will accept multiple forms of payment, and there are often arrangements that can be made as to payment plans and/or help with financing.
Secondly, most dental insurance plans WILL cover dental implant surgery. It is considered a necessary operation and not a merely aesthetic one.
You will want to discuss finances at some point with your periodontist and figure out ahead of time your best plan for paying for dental implants. But two final thoughts: dental implants are much more affordable than many people think AND dental implants are well worth the investment since they can give you decades of good use and look and function just like your original teeth.
To learn more about dental implants, if they are right for you, and how you may need to prepare for dental implant placement, contact the experienced periodontists at Ormond Beach Periodontics & Implant Dentistry in Central Florida for a free, no-obligation consultation.