Dental implant surgery, which is an effective teeth replacement option that is gaining popularity today always seems like a very risky and hard procedure until one actually goes through the surgical process.
This is mainly because most people allow their imagination to get the better of them instead of getting their facts right. Contrary to such misconceptions the reality is that most dental implant surgery patients experience absolutely no pain during the surgical procedure and may feel a minor discomfort afterwards.
Dental implants are basically artificial replacements of the damaged root parts of teeth. The implants which are usually made of titanium alloys or commercially pure titanium are surgically placed by a dental specialist called an oral surgeon or by a dentist.
These implants are screw-like parts that are placed directly into the jaw bone and designed to imitate the actual root of the tooth. Dentures or natural looking crowns are then attached to the fitted implants forming the complete tooth replacement system. The titanium metal used to make dental implants has a unique ability that makes it fuse directly to the jaw bone through a process called “Osseo-integration1”
It is very crucial for the dental implant to be fitted in a way that maximizes its surface area to bone contact ratio and this can be achieved in two ways. The first way is by designing the implant using the spiraling shape of a conventional screw having multiple threads. Another way is by altering or roughening microscopically the dental implant’s surface. It is important to note that various factors, including one’s dental health, the number of affected teeth, and teeth placement among others are likely to affect the dental implant surgery procedure and duration.
Dental Implants Procedure Steps
The pre- surgery process is the one that determines whether a dental implant surgery procedure is going to be an easy one or not. Carrying out the appropriate pre- planning measures is able to make the dreaded dental procedure appear relatively minor. Frequent CT scanning and X-ray examination is carried out as well as the use of a detailed precision surgical guide. By doing so, the dentist or oral surgeon accurately determines the patient’s occlusion from where the implants and newly designed replacement teeth are going to be placed.
The bone quality and its quantity are also determined during the pre-surgery process. Patients who feel anxious about the surgical process are advised to inform their dentists before the operation. This can help the medical practitioners determine which anti-anxiety or sedative premedication to be administered either intravenously or orally to reduce the anxiety levels.
The oral surgeon might also provide the following special preparation instructions to the patient:
- Ensure you rinse your mouth using a peculiar anti-bacterial mouthwash like chlorhexidine.
- Have someone who will bring you to your dental implant surgery appointment as well as drive you home, especially if you chose to have I.V sedation or take an oral sedative.
- Eat a good nutritious breakfast on the actual surgery day unless you are planning to be put under I.V sedation.
This section is going to highlight the dental implants procedure steps using two major phases. The phases are vital in fully restoring one’s mouth using a dental implant in a process that takes between 6 to 9 months.
Step 1: Local anesthesia administration
In order to minimize pain, the affected tooth and the surrounding tissues are numbed using a local anesthesia. After administration of the anesthesia and appropriate dressing of the patient for the surgical process, the dentist or oral surgeon then tests the numbed area to ensure that the patient doesn’t feel anything.
Step 2: Making of an incision in the gum
This step, which is a form of site preparation, is among the most important parts of the dental implant surgery procedure. It entails the making of an incision in the gums aimed at exposing the bone underneath as well as designing where the implant will go.
The incision provides access that allows the visualization of the bone’s location and shape. A surgical guide or template can also be placed in the mouth to provide an effective way of preparing the osteotomy sites while ensuring the implant is accurately positioned.
Step 3: Drilling of the bone
A highly specialized but quiet drill is then used to create the space where the implant shall be placed by drilling the bone. The osteotomy process entails the use of an effective drilling sequence that gradually increases the size of the site until it resembles the actual implant shape. Living tissues, particularly bone tissues require delicate handling so that they cannot be damaged by overheating resulting in bone loss especially now that it is needed the most.
Step 4: Screwing the implant in place
The dental implant is then screwed into place with the previously used drill or a hand tool. Dentists or oral surgeons try not to touch the dental implants during the tooth restoration process as they are highly sterile. This means that the implants basically go straight from their sterile packaging and into the osteotomy sites. X- rays can be taken during and after the surgical procedure to ensure that the implants are positioned correctly.
Step 5: Screwing of a second component into the implant
After successfully placing the implant in its appropriate location and ensuring it is snugly in place, another component is then screwed into the implant and left to remain there throughout the healing process.
Step 6: Closing of the gums
The drilled gums are then closed over the installed dental implant with a stitch or two being placed to ensure it remains firmly in place. The stitches (sutures) used are self- absorbing in nature, hence don’t need to be removed. However, procedures that use non- self-absorbing sutures require them to be removed in 1 to 2 weeks.
Step 7: Attachment
The installed implants are then left for the few months to become securely and firmly attached to the jaw bone.
Kindly note that the second phase is carried out a few months after the first dental implant surgical procedure.
Step 1: Re-exposure of the implant
This process entails the making of another minute incision in the patient’s gums in order to expose the previously installed implant.
Step 2: Placing of a small extension
An extension is also placed on the dental implant for impression taking purposes. The component is then used by the lab to select and fit the patient’s new crown.
Step 3: Making of the new implant crown
The patient is then requested to make various dentist appointments from which the practitioner will be able to effectively measure and make the new dental implant crown.
Step 4: Final placement of the new crown
This is the last dental implant surgery step and it involves the final placement of the newly designed crown.
The simple nature of the dental surgical process increases its success rates (95-97%) and reduces any forms of discomfort. Opioid type prescription drugs like hydrocodone and codeine can be used or any other mild anti- inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin. the dentist or oral surgeon might also prescribe the use of antibiotics to help in the healing process as well as anti-bacterial mouthwashes like chlorhexidine. Kindly note that all post-surgery, nutritional and healing recommendations are going to be provided by the medical practitioner.
The newly installed implant tooth should be checked regularly and cared for just like one does to natural teeth. Make it a habit to floss and brush your implant tooth regularly just as recommended by the dental hygienist or dentist. As observed the dental implant surgery is a simple process with even more promising results.