What You Should Know About Dental Implant Placement

Getting an implant can be quite the process

In a nutshell, dental implants are placed by putting an artificial root (known as the implant) in the patient’s jawbone and attaching a connector (or abutment) to the root. Later on, an artificial tooth is attached to the abutment.

The three steps are usually done in three separate procedures, which are spaced to give the jaw and gums time to heal.

Typically, getting a dental implant takes a few months and requires one or more minor oral surgeries. For this reason, it is important to have all the important information you need before you take the plunge and start the journey of getting a dental implant.

What you need to know when getting a dental implant

1. Know your dentist

The success of an implant largely depends on the thoroughness, skill and experience of the dentist. That is why a person should make sure their dentist is fully qualified to place dental implants. The dentist should also have lots of experience with dental implant surgeries.

To determine if a particular dentist is the right person for the job, find out:

a) About their qualifications: The American Dental Association automatically recognizes oral surgeons, periodontists, prosthodontists and maxillofacial surgeons as specialists who can place dental implants. After dental school, these specialists train for at least three more years to become proficient in dental surgery.

General dentists can also train and become certified to install implants.

b) Ask about their experience: A patient will feel more comfortable with a dentist who has done the procedure dozens of times, at the very least. The patient should also find out the dentist’s success rate with dental implants. An experienced dentist will happily share their experience and success rate with prospective patients and may have a portfolio of before and after photos of dental implants they have placed.

c) Ask if the dentist has dealt with complications and what the outcomes were in such cases. If the patient knows that the dentist will be able to solve problems during the course of treatment, they will feel that they are in good hands in case anything happens.

d) And finally, ask the dentist if they have any experience with bone grafts. Ideally, a dental implant should be placed four to six weeks after a tooth extraction. Any longer and the jawbone begins to shrink.

For this or any other reason, a patient who needs a bone graft needs a dentist who has done them many times before.

2. Learn about the implant

Different manufacturers make different models of implants. With the dentist’s help, choose one that has readily available replacement parts, just in case.

3. Is the patient a good candidate?

The overall health of the patient’s gums, teeth and body should be considered before dental implants become an option.

For example, a person with periodontal disease should not get implants. Neither should a person who suffers from a condition that causes slow healing (like severe diabetes), weakened immunity or blood clotting disorders.

4. Learn about the treatment plan that the dentist comes up with

After the dentist evaluates the patient’s dental and overall health, they will come up with a treatment plan. Ask the following questions.

a) How long after a tooth extraction should the process of implant placement begin?

Typically, the treatment should begin after four to six weeks. Any longer and bone loss begins to happen at the site of the lost tooth.

b) If a bone graft is put in, how long before an implant is placed?

The dentist may wait for the grafted bone to integrate with the underlying jawbone. In some cases, though, the dentist may place the dental implant immediately. Find out how the dentist will choose to proceed.

c) Can an abutment be placed on the same day as the implant?

In some cases, the dentist may place both the crown and abutment at the same time. The dentist will tell the patient why they choose a particular approach.

Know what you are signing up for

Implants will serve you for the rest of your life and improve the appearance of your smile. That is why it is a good idea to go through the process knowing exactly what to expect. Thankfully, our dentists are here to guide you every step of the way.

Need an implant?

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Cameron Station Dental Care, request an appointment in our Alexandria dental office here: https://cameronstationdentalcare.com. Or call us at (703) 651-1949.

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