By now, many people are familiar with implants as evidenced by the surge in tooth implant Los Angeles appointments. For those in the dark, an implant is simply a metal post used to replace a tooth root of a missing tooth. It is surgically placed in the jaw, and after healing, an abutment is placed for screwing on the prosthetic tooth.
This is the best way to replace missing teeth and support both fixed and removable dentures because it is as stable as a natural tooth. Multiple dentures or a dental bridge can be supported by an implant as well.
Here is how the implant process unfolds:
Dental implant procedure
The way the procedure will generally be performed depends on the jawbone health and the type of implant used. However, unlike teeth whitening and extraction, it is not a one-time procedure and is done in stages. The whole procedure can take more than six months although most of the time is for healing.
Let’s break down the stages:
Examination and diagnosis
First, dental X-rays are taken to check if the jaw bone and gum tissues are strong and healthy. A bite examination is also taken along with mouth and teeth models so that a plan can be formulated.
The dentist will come up with a custom plan for best results after considering the condition of the jawbone and how many teeth are to be replaced. After the initial tests, the damaged tooth is extracted, and the jawbone is prepared for surgery, a process that might include grafting.
Grafting is when bone tissue is introduced to the depleted/ resorbed jawbone and left to fuse in preparation for surgery.
As the jawbone heals, whether grafting was done or just a simple surgery preparation, the dentist will call you in for a second visit.
The dentist will then place the metal implant in the jawbone that was previously prepared. Healing period for implants can take a couple of months, and as the bone tissue heals, it fuses with the implant until it becomes strongly embedded into the jaw. You can get a temporary denture placed over the protruding implant during the healing period.
Third and consequent visits
The third appointment is after the jaw bone has healed and the implant is firmly fused. This appointment is for placing the abutment, a small metal piece that acts as the connector between the crown and implant.
Some time is allowed for healing before the fourth visit where the crown is now fixed. The fourth visit is not always necessary since the abutment and crown can be added at the same time depending on the situation.
Precautions to take
Before the procedure, inform the doctor of any medication you are taking be it prescription drugs, supplements or over the counter drugs.
A tooth implant Los Angeles surgeon can prescribe antibiotics for certain heart conditions or if you already have implants in order to prevent infection. General anaesthesia is the common option although you can ask about other sedation options. In case general anaesthesia will be used, have someone to drive you home since you’ll be a bit drowsy.
Ask your insurance provider if they cover the procedure although most companies classify dental implants as cosmetic surgery and either pay a small portion or don’t cover the costs at all.