Dental Implants: From Consultation to Restoration
The dental implant process involves at least two minor surgeries separated by about four to six months of healing time. Dr. Matthew Turner, serving Kansas City and Blue Springs, MO, believes patient education is an important part of every treatment he provides. He wants you to understand exactly what to expect as he works with a trusted oral surgeon to restore your smile with dental implants. Because no two patients have exactly the same needs, every dental implant procedure is unique. However, becoming acquainted with the general steps involved in the treatment can help you to make an informed decision regarding this advanced solution.
The first step in the process is a consultation with Dr. Turner. He will conduct a thorough medical and dental examination. Based on various factors, such as overall health, tobacco use, the condition of the jawbone, and the condition of the remaining teeth, Dr. Turner will decide if implants are the appropriate treatment. If implants are recommended, he can begin planning your treatment with your surgeon.
If you have delayed addressing missing teeth, you may have experienced some bone recession in the jaw that will need to be addressed before placing implants. Bone grafting is a process of surgically replacing lost tissue, and it can take several months for the graft to become integrated. Meanwhile, any tooth decay or gum disease will also need to be resolved before implants can be placed.
Once your jaw is determined to be ready for implants, the surgeon can begin fabricating a surgical guide to aid in precise placement of the implant.
Although the process can span several months, it is important to understand that your dental implants can provide a lifetime of benefits.
During the implant placement surgery, you will be sedated. Local anesthesia will be applied to the treatment area to keep you comfortable. Next, incisions will be created in the gums, and the implants will be inserted into the jawbone. The gums will be sutured closed over the implants to foster healing. Depending on how many implants are placed, the procedure generally takes an hour or two.
After the procedure, patients should plan on going home and resting for the remainder of the day. They may experience some swelling and discomfort, but it can be easily managed with pain medication and the application of ice packs. Most patients can return to normal activities within a day or two.
Healing and Follow-up Visits
Patients will have regular follow-up appointments during the post-operative period to monitor healing. Over a period of four to six months, the implants will become fused with the jawbone in a process called osseointegration.
Once Dr. Turner confirms that osseointegration is complete, the oral surgeon will perform a minor procedure to uncover the tops of the implants. The surgeon will then place an abutment device on each implant. Abutments connect the implant to the crown, bridge, or denture. After they are placed, the gums will be sutured closed in a way that will leave the abutments exposed above the gumline after the soft tissue heals.
Once the gums have healed, Dr. Turner will take impressions of the abutments and any surrounding teeth. These impressions will guide fabrication of the permanent restoration. When the restorations are complete, he can attach them to the implants.
The Process Starts with an Appointment
If missing teeth are taking a toll on your quality of life, you owe it to yourself to consider dental implants. Although the process can span several months, it is important to understand that your dental implants can provide a lifetime of benefits, especially if proper maintenance techniques are used. To schedule your consultation, call us at (816) 229-1433 or send us a message online.