Understanding the Dental Implant Process

Understanding the Dental Implant Process from Rhodes & Rhodes Family Dentistry in Tuscaloosa, ALDental implants replace missing teeth and help with chewing, speaking, and smiling. They can consist of titanium or a combination of titanium and ceramic materials. Dental implants serve as anchors for artificial replacements: full dentures, partial dentures, dental crowns, and bridges. If you are considering dental implants, this guide will help you know what to expect during the lengthy process.

What to expect during the dental implant process

It is important to know that receiving a dental implant will take several months since it is a multi-step process. Depending on their specific case, some patients may require more stages than others.

Enhancement Options

Some patients may require a procedure to improve the dental implant's ability to remain in place. These procedures can include a bone graft, sinus augmentation, or ridge augmentation.

Bone grafts increase the amount of bone around the dental implant posts. There are five types of bone grafts, but the most common our dentist will use is called an alloplastic graft. In this type of bone graft, the dentist will use a synthetic material that simulates bone and pack it into the area of the mouth where it is needed.

A sinus augmentation can increase the height of one's sinus cavity, which helps prevent bone loss around the implant. Alternatively, ridge augmentations increase the height of one's gums and ridge where the dental implants set so there is enough room for them without causing damage to surrounding parts of the mouth.

Placing the Dental Implant

The dentist will place the dental implants through a surgical procedure. This means the patient will receive either general or local anesthesia before the procedure begins. Next, the dentist will use a surgical drill, hammer, or saw to place the implant into the patient's jawbone. Once the dental implant is set, it will stay in place while the patient's body allows it to fuse. To ensure the patient does not feel sensitivity, during healing, the dentist will place a temporary crown around the dental implant.

Healing Time

After the dental implant placement, patients must wait for it to fuse with their jawbones. This process can take up to three months, but it is important for the body to do its work and heal properly before moving on to the next stage. During this time, we recommend the following tips:

  • Avoid chewing hard, chewy, or tough foods that require a lot of pressure on the teeth.
  • Do not smoke or consume other tobacco products.
  • Rinse with salt water one to four times a day.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Take medications as prescribed.

Following these tips will help expedite healing times and allow us to move on to placing the abutment.

Abutment Placement

The abutment is a screw that attaches the artificial teeth to the dental implant. The dentist will remove the temporary crown before placing the abutment into the patient's mouth, securing it to the dental post. The abutment has grooves that help attach the new artificial replacement. The artificial replacement will either be a bridge, crown, or dentures. This all depends on the placement of the dental implant and the number of dental implants the patient requires. The result will be a natural-looking smile that functions like the one they had before tooth loss.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Dental Implants in Tuscaloosa, AL

Learn More Today

Tooth loss does not have to permanently impact your life. Every day, we help patients like you restore their smiles and quality of life. If you want to learn more about the dental implant process, our dedicated team is happy to help.

Request an appointment or call Rhodes & Rhodes Family Dentistry at 205-409-0102 for an appointment in our Tuscaloosa office.

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