Healthcare Technology Featured Article

September 21, 2022

Your Guide to Dental Implants


These days, it can be hard to decipher between people looking to improve our quality of life versus those urging us to get purely cosmetic procedures.  That was one of my main hesitations when I was considering dental operations.  What would be beneficial to my life as opposed to just something to improve upon my smile?

Let me make one thing clear, though: it is not that I do not want to make my smile look better.  Obviously, I do!  I just want to find a way to do that that makes it easier to chew my food and causes me less mouth pain.  When my orthodontist mentioned dental implants to me, I was quite intrigued, so I want to pass along some of this knowledge to you!

What are Dental Implants?

This is probably the question I get the most when I mention this to my friends and relatives.  They ask what work I had done, naturally, as my smile has transformed significantly in the meantime.  There are resources like this one, https://www.aaid-implant.org/faqs/what-are-dental-implants/, that I usually direct them to if they are entirely unfamiliar with the process.

However, it is pretty simple.  The roots of your teeth (and the teeth themselves, of course) are replaced with metal screws and a cap to cover those.  The materials used generally vary, and for that reason they can fit into a lot of budgetary needs.  Additionally, the places where they are done and the angle in which they are screwed into your jaw can change depending on various factors, so there is a fair amount to keep in mind.

Why People Get This Procedure

As I am sure you can guess, there are many different motivating factors that might influence someone to get this procedure done.  Largely, they are thought of as an alternative to or replacement for dentures.  This is true, to some extent, but there are other factors at play as well.

One of the primary perks to them is that because they are fused with your jawbone, they will not end up slipping or causing further damage to your natural teeth – that is a surprisingly common side effect of dentures that a lot of us do not realize.  Something else to note is that they will decay much more slowly, if at all.

One of the many reasons that people decide to move forward with them is that they have one or more severely damaged or entirely broken teeth.  Usually this results in them having a missing one, whether that is now or in the future.  So, typically that results in them needing a replacement of some kind. 

Are They Right for You?

I am not exactly a dentist, so I can not tell you for sure whether they are a good choice for you.  That being said, there are places such as Nuvia Smiles website that can potentially help you find some guidance on that.  That being said, I will offer a few pointers as well!

The first important thing is that you need to have a fully formed jawbone.  So, young children are definitely not candidates for this type of procedure.  Additionally, you need to have enough bone there, or be a candidate for a bone graft.  This is so that they can be secured safely without any worry of injury.

Some other things that can impact your candidacy include having healthy oral tissue and a lack of any underlying conditions that might impact your bone growth and healing.  As far as personal motivations, consider whether you do not want to wear dentures (or if you are simply unable to).  Ask yourself if you want to improve your speech patterns and are willing to put in several months’ worth of time for recovery. 

On a final note, for this section, it is important that you are not a smoker.  So, if you are looking to have this done, I would definitely recommend you quit.  Ideally though, you have never started – it can have serious negative impacts on your oral health, after all.

How Does it Work?

So, before you initiate this sort of process, I think it is only fair to educate yourself on some of the risks involved.  Thankfully, there are not too many.  The most common side effect is developing an infection at the site of the implant.  In rare cases, you could also experience nerve damage and sinus problems if the implant is places on your top row of teeth.

That is part of why it is important to find trustworthy and professional orthodontists to do the procedure, so giving them a call and asking about the specifics certainly cannot hurt.  I recommend that you do that for whatever place you choose.

As far as preparations go, usually the first step is having a comprehensive dental exam performed.  That could involve anything from X-rays to three-dimensional imaging of your mouth.  This is to ensure that the implants can be completed as smoothly and painlessly as possible.

In addition to that, your orthodontist will likely review your medical history with you.  If you have had any issues with your ears, nose, or throat, they might check in with your ENT specialist.  It is important to remember that health care requires a holistic approach, so while it might seem like a lot of hoops to jump through, it is typically done for your benefit.

Finally, they will advise you on a treatment plan for the months following your implant procedure.  You will need to have regular check-ins with your dentist, of course.  Depending on how things are going and what materials you used for the crowns or caps, you might have a longer or shorter plan.

One more note that I would like to make is that you should check in with your doctor as far as your pain management plan.  Make sure that you tell them if certain types of anesthesia do not work on you, for example.  You’ll be thankful you did so later.


 





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