Millions of people around the world experience tooth loss for one reason or another. Tooth loss can stem from poor dental hygiene, a bad diet, injuries or natural causes like old age and weakening bone structures. Whatever the reason, tooth loss is a common condition, and many options are available to help restore your smile.
Dental implants are one of the most successful and long-lasting remedies for tooth loss. If you're considering undergoing dental implant surgery, you should be sure to ask your dental specialist the right questions beforehand. Knowing what to expect after dental implant surgery will help you prepare to ensure the smoothest operation possible. In this article, we'll take a closer look at which oral surgery questions you should ask before your dental implant procedure.
16 Questions to Ask Before a Dental Implant
Since dental implant surgery is a semi-invasive procedure, it's crucial to gather all the information you can beforehand. To achieve this, you need to know what to ask before getting a dental implant. Here are some of the crucial questions to ask your dentist so you can feel confident about your decision to get a dental implant.
1. What Is Dental Implant Surgery?
Dental implant surgery is a permanent solution to tooth loss that relies on a process called osseointegration to fuse the implanted tooth to your jaw's natural bone. Successful osseointegration allows the dental implant to stay rooted in your mouth for several decades and function as one of your natural teeth. The entire process can take many weeks or even several months to complete, but the results could make the dental implant surgery time worth it.
Dental implants differ from other tooth loss remediation methods in that the new "tooth" becomes part of your jawbone. Dental bridges, crowns and dentures offer some aesthetic renewal for various teeth issues, but these solutions have a much more limited lifespan and do little to preserve your mouth's long-term structure and appearance. These other methods may only postpone other dental issues. Dental implants quite literally get to the root of your tooth loss to provide long-lasting results.
2. What Are the Parts of a Dental Implant?
You should also know the different parts of a dental implant to fully understand how they work. Dental implants include the following three components.
The root form: The root form is a screw-shaped fixture made of titanium or nonmetal zirconium. This part of the implant goes into your jaw and acts like a natural tooth's root, anchoring the implant and fusing it with your jawbone.
The abutment: The abutment is the part of the implant that connects the root form to the restoration.
The restoration: The restoration is a dental crown that sits above the gumline and replaces the lost natural tooth.
3. What Are the Dental Implant Procedure Steps?
Getting dental implants is more than a simple visit to your dentist. The process has several steps that will take time and dedication from you and your dentist. Everyone's dental implant journey is different, as each patient has unique needs that affect their timeline. Here are some of the steps you'll experience in the dental implant process.
Assessment: First, you'll undergo a consultation and planning phase to prepare for the steps to come. Your dentist will use X-ray technology to get a better understanding of your situation and needs. They'll note your jawbone's existing quality and quantity to determine if your mouth is ready to accept an implant.
Surgery: In the next step, you will undergo surgery to implant the root form within your jawbone. Your dentist will give you local anesthesia to numb the pain. Some dentists even offer sedation if you'd prefer that. During the surgery, your dentist will make precise incisions in your gums to access your jaw and drill a hole into your jawbone. Your dentist will screw the root form into this hole and then patch you up.
Healing and osseointegration: Osseointegration will occur over the next few months as you heal from your surgery. Your dentist will keep in close contact with you to make sure everything is going according to plan. Be sure to follow all guidelines and recommendations from your dentist during this recovery period.
Placing the abutment: Next, your dentist will place the abutment on the implant post. Depending on your needs, your dentist can perform this step later in the healing process or at the same time they place the root form.
Receiving your permanent crown: The final step of the dental implant process is receiving your permanent crown. You may have a temporary crown during the healing process if you received your abutment earlier in the process, but getting your permanent crown is the moment you'll have been waiting for. The permanent crown attaches to your implant abutment and gives you many of the benefits listed above.
4. Are Dental Implants Safe?
Everyone who is considering a procedure they're unfamiliar with should be sure of its level of safety before agreeing to undergo it. The same rule should apply with dental implants, whether you're getting one or several teeth implanted. The good news for you is that dental implants have a decades-long history of advancement. Today, you can be sure that your dental implant procedure will be safe.
Thanks to osseointegration, your new dental implant will stay firmly rooted in your jaw for many years of use. Your jawbone will bond to your new implant, creating a sturdy relationship between your natural bone and your implant. And since most implants consist of titanium, they can withstand the rigors of daily use like your natural, healthy teeth. Talk to your doctor if you have a titanium allergy. You can receive implants of a different, nonmetal material like zirconium.
5. What Is the Success Rate of Dental Implants?
A 2018 study revealed dental implants have a 98.6% success rate. The results of this study cataloged many patients' experiences over several years after surgery to determine whether the procedure was successful. As you can see from the high percentage, you can be confident in the dental implant procedure to provide a natural-looking outcome.
These lasting results are one of the main reasons so many people choose to receive dental implants. You want a dental solution that will provide all the benefits you're looking for over many years. In the next section, you'll see some of the advantages that make receiving dental implants one of the best decisions you can make for your oral health.
6. What Are Some of the Advantages of Dental Implants?
A dental implant can help you return to a better quality of life after losing a tooth by providing the following benefits.
- You can eat your favorite foods again without discomfort or difficulty.
- You can smile with confidence, since dental implants will match your surrounding teeth and look completely natural.
- You can preserve your appearance by reducing facial sagging as a result of missing teeth.
- Dental implants stimulate your jaw, helping retain your jaw size and structure and reduce shrinkage.
- As you read above, dental implants have a high success rate and can improve your quality of life for many years to come.
7. Do Dental Implants Have Any Disadvantages?
Despite the long list of advantages of dental implants, you should still consider a few factors before undergoing the procedure for yourself. Here are some possible cons you should think about.
- You may experience some discomfort after your procedure as your body heals and accepts your new implant.
- The whole process of getting a dental implant can take a long time, depending on your unique needs, so you may want to choose dentures or bridges if you're looking for a quick fix.
- Depending on the state of your jawbone, you may need supplementary procedures like bone grafting to prepare your jaw for receiving the implant.
8. When Should Someone Consider a Dental Implant Procedure?
You may be wondering if you are a good candidate for dental implants, or whether your dental condition qualifies you for implants. You'll be happy to know that people of all ages and with many oral health conditions are worthy candidates to undergo a dental implant procedure. If you are missing even a single tooth, a dental implant could be the perfect solution for you.
Some medical and behavioral conditions can put you at a higher risk of experiencing complications.
- Diabetes: Diabetes can cause complications with your dental health. Your doctor or dentist may be able to create a custom process to accommodate your needs.
- Smoking: Smoking can be detrimental to your dental health, before or after a dental implant. Nicotine restricts your capillaries and blood vessels, which can affect your tooth and gum health. If you smoke, your dentist will strongly suggest that you quit before your surgery and continue abstaining.
- Periodontal disease: Gum disease, or periodontal disease, occurs when plaque, tartar and other bacteria attack your gums and the bone structures beneath them. If you suffer from periodontal disease, you may have some complications with receiving dental implants. Thankfully, your dentist should be able to provide solutions to these complications.
- Jawbone shrinkage: You may need bone grafting to compensate for shrunken jawbones from old age or dentures. This process can add some time to your procedure's length.
9. How Long Does the Dental Implant Process Take?
A dental implant procedure's length varies from patient to patient. Your dental health, unique needs and existing health conditions all affect how long your procedure will take. Here are some milestones in the process that could add time.
Tooth extraction: You may need a tooth extraction to remove damaged teeth or make more room in your mouth. Your dentist may insert the root form at the time of extraction, but in some circumstances, you might have to wait until the wound from your extraction heals before receiving your implant.
Bone grafting: As you've already learned, bone grafting is essential for patients with jawbones that are too small or weak to receive an implant. This process can add several months of healing to your timeline.
The implant surgery and receiving your final crown: You may need a few months of healing time after your implant surgery before you can receive your final crown, which is the last step in the process.
10. Can My Body Reject the Implants?
Many potential implant patients wonder if their bodies can reject their implants after receiving them. By far, most patients find that their bodies readily accept their new implants. Healthy jawbones will osseointegrate with the new implants with few problems along the way. However, some people may be allergic to titanium, in which case they should seek a different material for their implants, like zirconium. Talk to your doctor about your allergies to find which material is best for your body.
And of course, you should always participate in a healthy dental hygiene routine before and after receiving your implants. Keeping your teeth and gums clean is the first step in having a healthy mouth. Having a healthy mouth will raise your chances of getting a successful dental implant procedure. In a later section, we'll take a closer look at how you can keep your mouth clean with dental implants.
11. What Can I Expect Before Dental Implant Surgery?
Here's what you can expect in the months, weeks, days and hours leading to your dental implant surgery.
Months before: In the months before your implant surgery, your dentist may recommend bone grafting if your jawbone lacks the volume to accept dental implants. Your dentist will be sure to give you adequate time for healing, which is usually a few months before receiving your implants.
Weeks before: If you're a smoker, most dentists will recommend you quit several weeks before your surgery to decrease the risk of surgical and postsurgical complications. Quitting smoking several weeks before getting your implants will also help you wean off the nicotine to make the days after your surgery a bit easier. The last thing you want is to be craving a cigarette or vape in the days following your surgery, when your teeth and gums are most sensitive and vulnerable.
Days before: Your dentist will prescribe antibiotics for you to take in the days leading up to your surgery to prepare your body for the recovery period. You'll also need to change your diet after your surgery, so use these days to stock up on the appropriate food items.
Hours before: Your oral surgeon will instruct you to avoid eating or drinking several hours before your surgery.
12. Is Dental Implant Surgery Painful?
You should experience little to no pain during your dental implant surgery. Your dental surgeon will administer local anesthesia or sedation techniques so you can receive your implants without any discomfort. You may feel some pain after your surgery, but over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen are usually sufficient. If your postsurgery pain is more intense, you can talk to your dentist about prescription pain medication to make your recovery period more comfortable.
13. How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Many dentists describe dental implants as a permanent solution to tooth loss. While implant lifespan can vary from one patient to the next, dental implants can last a long time — their lifetime can span several decades, in some instances. Of course, many factors influence how long your implants will last, including the following.
Oral hygiene: Proper oral hygiene habits will help your dental implant last as long as possible. Lacking good oral hygiene practices can reduce your implant's chances of lasting to its fullest potential.
Health conditions: Health conditions like high blood pressure and uncontrolled diabetes can have detrimental effects on your dental health. These issues can shorten your dental implants' lifespan. Talk to your doctor about how you can control these conditions to help your implants last longer and enjoy a better quality of life.
Smoking: Smoking can cause severe oral and physical health issues. If you choose to smoke, there's a good chance your dental implants will have a shorter lifespan. Talk to your doctor about quitting methods to help you lead a healthier lifestyle.
Gum disease: Gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis target your gums and lower dental bone structures, causing inflamed gums and weaker bones. These conditions can disrupt your implant's osseointegration, shortening its lifespan.
14. How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
Dental implant procedures vary based on factors such as these.
Your surgeon's geographic location: Some dental surgeons charge more for this procedure. The location or office in which you choose to receive your procedure will affect the price you pay.
The number of implants: A single implant will usually cost less than if you receive several implants. If you know you need more than one implant, you should prepare to pay a higher price for your procedure.
The complexity of the procedure: Special services, including bone grafts and extractions, require extra time and effort for your surgeon, which will increase your dental implant procedure's price.
Surgical materials: The materials needed for your procedure cost money, and a portion of that cost will end up on your bill. This factor also relates to the previous point — the more complex your procedure, the more expensive materials your surgeon may need.
The use of sedation: Sedation will increase the price you pay for your procedure. If you wish to be under full anesthesia during your surgery, you should prepare to pay the extra cost.
15. How Should I Care for My Dental Implants?
You should care for your dental implants like you would your natural teeth. Be sure to engage in the following oral health activities.
Use EverSmile OmniFoam: OmniFoam from EverSmile is one of the best ways to look after your dental implants. Designed especially for implants, OmniFoam targets bacteria and biofilm that accumulates around your implants. The cleaning power of OmniFoam will stop bacteria from spreading, keeping your gums, surrounding teeth and bone structures healthy. OmniFoam is also easy to use, making it the perfect addition to your oral hygiene routine. Use it while brushing, rinsing or with your aligners to experience all the benefits it can provide.
Practice a good oral hygiene routine: A good oral hygiene routine involves brushing your teeth twice per day, flossing, quitting smoking, limiting alcoholic drinks and other practices. You should also visit your dentist at least once per year for routine cleanings. Add supplementary cleaning products like OmniFoam or WhitenFresh from EverSmile for an even cleaner mouth.
Consume a healthy diet: A balanced diet can help you achieve healthier teeth and gums. Eating the right foods for dental health will supply you with essential nutrients and textures to help you have a healthier, happier smile.
16. What Should I Expect After Dental Implant Surgery?
Be sure to talk with your dentist about what you can expect during the tooth implant postsurgery period. Here are some of the ways your life will change in the weeks or months after receiving your implant.
Diet: You'll have to avoid hard, crunchy and spicy foods in the days and weeks following your surgery. Over time, you can reintroduce these foods to your diet. Do so with great care to avoid pain or discomfort from aggravating your tender teeth and gums. You should also avoid drinking with a straw during these early days, as the suction can dislodge your blood clot, causing bleeding.
Antibiotics: Be sure to take your prescribed antibiotics to help your body recover from surgery and avoid any complications.
Physical activity: You probably won't be in the mood to do much physical activity for a few days after your surgery. But even when you want to get active again, take great care to protect your mouth. Steer clear of full-contact sports for a few weeks after your surgery.
Follow-up visits: Your dentist will schedule some follow-up visits to be sure your recovery period is going as planned. Make sure to attend these visits to help the whole process go smoothly for you.
Use EverSmile Products to Enhance Your Oral Hygiene Before and After Your Implant Procedure
When you want to take the next step toward peak dental hygiene, trust EverSmile's line of products to help you get the job done. As a company, our mission is to help people of all walks of life and with various dental needs to experience excellent dental health — and have an easier time achieving it. Whether you wear aligners, retainers, dentures or want to care for your new implants, you can feel confident when using EverSmile products.
Contact us online today for more information on how we can help you enhance your oral hygiene.