As you probably know, dental implants replace damaged or missing teeth with artificial ones that don’t look artificial at all. (That’s why so many people opt for implants instead of dentures or bridgework.)

Dental implant surgery sometimes involves several procedures. The way it is carried out varies according to the type of implant or the condition of the patient.

The main benefit of dental implants is that they serve as the roots of missing teeth. Titanium in the implant fuses with your jawbone, keeping the implants firmly in place. You’ll never have to worry about them slipping out, making noise or causing bone damage the way fixed bridgework or dentures might. And, of course, the material can’t decay.

All surgery poses some sort of health risk and dental implant surgery is no different. But honestly, problems rarely occur. And if they do, they tend to be minor. It always helps to have an optometrist you can talk to freely about any doubts. We can help you find the best optometrists close to you if you click here.

Preparing for surgery

Once you’ve decided to get the surgery, the planning process will start. It’s possible that it might involve different specialists: an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, periodontist, prosthodontist, maybe even an ENT specialist.

No matter how minor, dental implant surgery is still surgery so you’ll be put through a thorough evaluation beforehand. This will include a comprehensive dental exam where your doctor will take dental X-rays and 3D images to make models of your teeth and jaw. Your medical history will be carefully reviewed as well. Make sure your doctor knows about any medical conditions you have or any medicines you take –  no matter how trivial they seem. At this stage, your doctor will also take you through the treatment plan – customised according to your specific requirements.

The surgical process

Dental implant surgery is usually an outpatient surgery. It tends to be performed in stages to allow for more healing time between each stage. The stages include: removing damaged teeth, jawbone grafting (if required), placing the dental implants, abutment placement and finally, artificial tooth placement.

It’s a process that can take months – mostly because a lot of time is needed for healing and waiting for the new bone in your jaw to grow.

Bone grafting may be required if your jawbone is too soft  or not thick enough for surgery. Implants need a solid base and a bone graft can give them that.

Choosing your new teeth

It will take time for your gums to heal but once they do, your doctor will take more impressions of your mouth and remaining teeth to make the crown. There are two kinds of teeth – removable and fixed.

Removable ones can be partial or full and there is little difference between them and dentures. They are placed on a metal frame attached to the implant abutment – making them secure but also easy to remove.

Fixed teeth are permanently screwed into implant abutment and can’t be removed.

Dental implant complications are usually rare. There are a few steps you need to take after surgery to help the healing process (read about them here) . However, because the process tends to be a long one, it’s important to have an optometrist you trust and whose practice is close by. You can click here to find the best options available in your neighbourhood.