As replacements for tooth roots, dental implants secure to the jawbone and are not visible above the gum. Their titanium construction is biocompatible, lightweight, and strong, helping make dental implants the most successful surgical implant device. Your periodontist uses implants to secure crowns, bridgework, and dentures.
Conventional dental implants anchor a replacement tooth after you lose a tooth or have one extracted. Factors such as bone deterioration dictate whether the implant happens immediately or faces delay. There are three implant types of dental implants: conventional, immediate, and delayed.
Conventional Dental Implant Procedure
Conventional implants require the longest time, three treatment sessions performed over a period of 9 to 12 months. For this reason, modern dentists employ this method less frequently than either immediate or delayed implants.
During the first visit, your dentist extracts the tooth. If necessary, he or she performs a minor bone or socket graft to ensure adequate bone structure to hold the implant. If the tooth fell out on its own, your dentist examines the site and performs the bone graft if necessary. In both cases, you must wait 3 to 6 months before placement of the dental implant. This is the time needed for the bone and gums to heal.
The conventional dental implant occurs during the second visit, when healing is complete. Your doctor creates an incision, screws the implant into the jawbone, and then closes the incision. During a second healing period of 3 to 6 months, your jawbone grows around the implant. Once implant and bone integrate, it is stable enough to support the new tooth. About a week after this appointment is a follow-up visit to gauge healing and remove the sutures.
Placement of the crown, bridge, or dentures constitutes the final step, which occurs over two appointments. The dentist reopens the gums and attaches an abutment to the implant. Next, he or she takes an impression of the abutment and surrounding teeth. The dental lab creates the crown using this impression. A few days later, the completed crown is ready for placement.
After the Procedure
Your dentist provides detailed recovery instructions for each step in the conventional implant treatment process. Follow these faithfully to ensure proper healing and lifelong enjoyment of your new teeth. In the first few days after each procedure, basic recovery care includes:
- Ice packs to manage swelling and bruising
- Over-the-counter pain medication to manage discomfort
- Rinsing your mouth every few hours with a 1-cup mixture of lukewarm water and a teaspoon of salt
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