If you have a missing tooth, you might want to consider dental implants. Dental science has come a long way and this option creates a natural-looking tooth that looks attractive and protects you from the ill effects of missing teeth. The implant process takes place over several months, and you might want to find out about the first part of the process. Read below to find out what happens before and at your first implant appointments.
Before Your Appointment
Your dentist will evaluate your mouth to make sure that dental implants are appropriate for you. For example, you must have good bone structure in the jaw because the implant is anchored to that location. If you don't, bone grafts may be needed before you begin. Your dentist will also want to start things off by taking care of any other dental issues like root canals, cavity fillings, and a final cleaning before the first implant appointment.
Often, your dentist will provide you with a list of instructions to follow before your first appointment. While each dental office is different, you can predict some of the following instructions to get you ready for your implantation:
- You may be prescribed some antibiotics to begin taking a few days before your appointment. This is a preventative precaution to help ward off any chance of infection.
- You may be asked to rinse your mouth with a special germ-killing mouthwash.
- If you are having the implantation procedure performed under general anesthesia, you will probably be told not to eat anything after midnight the night before the appointment. Ask your dentist about taking your usual medications or supplements the morning of the surgery and about liquids.
- You will be told to arrange for someone to accompany you and drive you home afterward, depending on your choice of anesthesia.
The Day of the Procedure
Though you may be completely unaware of what's going on during the procedure, here is a step-by-step list of what will be happening as the dentist begins the process:
- You will be given anesthesia. If you opt for sedation only, your mouth is numbed with a local anesthetic.
- The dentist makes a small incision at the location of the missing tooth.
- A precise drill creates a space in the bone of your gum for the implant.
- The implant is inserted into the space.
- On top of the implant, the second section of the implant that holds the tooth is attached.
- A stitch is made to close up the incision.
During the next few months, the implant bonds with your bones and becomes permanently attached. When your gums are fully-healed, the second and final phase is complete, resulting in a new smile.