A dental implant is a great solution for dental troubles that involve a missing tooth. Whether you lost your tooth in an accident, or your dentist wants to remove it because it is decayed or significantly damaged in some way, a dental implant replaces your natural tooth. Dental implants look and feel like real teeth, are easy to care for, and last a long time. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are planning to get a new dental implant:
You Need Healthy Bone to Receive an Implant
In order for a dental implant to be successful, you must have enough healthy jawbone intact to keep the implant securely in place. If your bone has been compromised in some way, such as due to an injury or gum disease, you may not have enough healthy bone for the implant to work. In this case, your dental implant specialist will most likely recommend a procedure called a bone graft.
A bone graft augments your existing bone with new bone material, which can take months to fully form. This will extend the timeline for your dental implant procedure, but is worth considering for those who would otherwise be ineligible for a dental implant.
You Will Be Sedated During Your Implant Surgery
While dental implant surgery is a relatively minor surgery, it does involve making cuts into your gum and then placing the metal rod section of your implant into your gum. This would be very painful without anesthesia and in most cases your oral surgeon will provide both local anesthetic and general sedation to make sure you are comfortable throughout the procedure. For this reason, it is important to arrange for a ride to and from your surgery appointment, and to plan on taking it easy and resting once you get home.
There is Some Aftercare Involved
You will most likely experience minor pain and swelling for a few days after your surgery. Your oral surgeon will prescribe antibiotics and pain medication and may also recommend that you place a covered ice pack on your face a few times a day to minimize swelling. It's a good idea to pick up your prescriptions before your surgery so that you already have them. Your surgeon may also recommend using a warm saltwater rinse for a few days after your surgery, to aid with healing.
By knowing what to expect and how to care for your dental implant from the beginning, you will have an easier and more pleasant experience.