Interested in dental implants? Here’s what you can expect before, during, and after placement.
Dental implants have helped over 3 million Americans save their smiles after experiencing tooth loss, and the number grows by about 500,000 every year.
Tooth loss can not only take a toll on your self-confidence, but it can also affect the way you speak and make it difficult to chew food thoroughly. Over time, you may experience bone loss in your jaw and sagging in your facial bone structure. Your surrounding teeth may also shift, causing crookedness and changes in your bite alignment.
Combatting the numerous side effects of untreated tooth loss is one of the reasons more adults than ever are interested in dental implant treatment.
If you’ve heard about dental implants and think they might be a good option for you, here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to happen before, during, and after this type of procedure.
Before: How to Begin Your Journey Toward Restoring Your Smile with Dental Implants
The first step toward dental implant surgery is to schedule a consultation appointment with your dentist. A dental implant consultation gives you a chance to learn more about dental implants and discover whether you’re a candidate for this procedure.
A consultation with Dr. Alhadef will include a thorough examination complete with X-rays and digital imaging to get a clear picture of what’s going on in your mouth. Dr. Alhadef will pay special attention to your current level of oral health and the stability of your jawbone where the tooth loss has occurred.
If you have a good level of overall health and haven’t experienced bone loss in your jaw, Dr. Alhadef may be able to move forward with dental implant surgery during the next appointment.
If Dr. Alhadef discovers some underlying issues, such as signs of gum disease or bone loss, he’ll help set up a treatment plan to get you on track to being an ideal candidate.
During: Preparing for Dental Implant Surgery and What Happens During the Placement of the Implant Post
Before your dental implant surgery, it’s a great idea to do a little grocery shopping. Pick up plenty of liquids and soft foods to eat during your healing period post-surgery. Getting this out of the way means you can go home and relax after your appointment.
The good news about dental implant surgery is that the actual placement of the post doesn’t take as long as you’d think. Dr. Alhadef will ensure you are as comfortable as possible using a combination of comfort dentistry practices and painless anesthesia. If you feel nervous about this procedure but are comfortable discussing your worries, we encourage you to let us know so we can do whatever we can to ease your anxieties.
Once you’re completely numb and relaxed, Dr. Alhadef will move forward with placing the post. After your appointment is complete, you’ll be sent home with careful instructions on what to expect during the healing period, including an at-home oral care routine, what you can and can’t eat, and which over-the-counter medications will keep any discomfort at bay.
After: Healing After Dental Implant Surgery and Getting Your Permanent New Tooth Placed
The longest part of getting a dental implant is the healing period after your post is placed. The process of your jawbone successfully growing around the implant post is called osseointegration, which can take a few months. Some patients may heal faster than others, but keeping up with Dr. Alhadef’s aftercare instructions will help you heal as quickly and successfully as possible.
Once Dr. Alhadef is confident that your jawbone and the implant post have properly fused, he’ll add the abutment to the post. The abutment serves as a foundation for the final crown to encapsulate. Dr. Alhadef will then proceed with creating a custom crown to fit on the abutment. This crown may be made the same day with our CEREC system, or we may send it out to be created in a lab.
After your crown is placed, your dental implant is officially finished.
Complications from dental implants are uncommon, but it’s always good to be aware of what could go wrong.
Modern dental implants have a success rate of over 97%, but like any dental procedure, complications are possible. Even though dental implants complications aren’t common, it’s still important to be aware of what could go wrong.
Some examples of complications that could occur include:
- Unusual Pain: Some discomfort is normal during the healing period, but chronic or severe pain isn’t typical. Unusual pain levels after dental implant surgery require an immediate checkup with Dr. Alhadef to not only get you feeling comfortable but also to figure out what’s triggering the pain.
- Infection: Infection around the implant site can cause pain and swelling around the implant post. Certain factors can increase the chances of an infection, such as poor oral hygiene practices and smoking. Dr. Alhadef will give you instructions to follow to reduce the chances of an infection.
- Rejection: Rejection is very rare and could be spurred by an allergic reaction to the titanium post. If you have any metal sensitivities, discuss this with Dr. Alhadef during your consultation.
- Loosening: A dental implant becoming loose could be due to bone loss reducing stability or improper fusion between the post and the jawbone. If you feel like your implant is wiggly or feels loose while chewing, Dr. Alhadef will perform an examination and take X-rays to see what’s going on.
- Nerve Damage: Nerve damage symptoms can feel like numbness or tingling in the mouth, lips, and face. Dr. Alhadef carefully positions implant posts away from nerves during placement, but occasionally, a post may migrate on its own during healing.
The best protection against dental implant complications is to choose a skilled dentist you can trust.
The dentist you choose for your dental implant surgery has a significant effect on success. The more experienced your dentist is with dental implants, the lower your chances of experiencing complications. You want to entrust a dentist that not only makes you feel comfortable and confident in their chair but one that also has proven skills at dental implant placement.
Dr. Alhadef has extensive experience with dental implants and uses the Nobel Biocare system. He stays up-to-date with the latest in dental implant technology by continuing his education through courses and maintaining memberships with associates like the American Academy of Implant Dentistry.
What happens after your implant placement is complete?
The process of getting a dental implant takes time, but the end result is a beautiful, strong, new tooth that complements your smile.
After your dental implant is finished, you’ll carry on with life as normal. You can eat your favorite foods, and your at-home oral health routine won’t be any different. You will need to visit your dentist for routine follow-ups to ensure your dental implant is still stable and healthy. As a patient of Dr. Alhadef, we’ll check on the health of your dental implant during your normal bi-annual cleanings and exams as well.
If you’re interested in dental implant surgery in Dallas, Texas, the first step is to book a consultation with Dr. Alhadef. When you’re ready to visit us, you can either call our office directly or fill out our online appointment request form.