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Dental implant surgery is a procedure that replaces tooth roots with metal, screwlike posts and replaces damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function much like real ones. Dental implant surgery can offer a welcome alternative to dentures or bridgework that doesn't fit well and can offer an option when a lack of natural teeth roots don't allow building denture or bridgework tooth replacements.

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Why it's done
Dental implants are surgically placed in your jawbone, where they serve as the roots of missing teeth. Because the titanium in the implants fuses with your jawbone, the implants won't slip, make noise or cause bone damage the way fixed bridgework or dentures might. And the materials can't decay like your own teeth that support regular bridgework can.

Are you a good fit for dental implants?
Dental implants can work for those missing or have: 

  • One tooth

  • Multiple teeth in the same location

  • Multiple teeth throughout the arch

  • An entire arch

  • Replacement for all teeth

  • A broken tooth – extraction and replacement

Dental implants can also be a fantastic option for patients that currently wear restorative dental appliances such as bridges, crowns, or dentures. Other things that will make you the right candidate include:

Overall healthy smile

Good oral hygiene

Sufficient bone tissue

How long does the dental implant procedure take?
The length of your dental implant procedure will depend on many factors, such as:

  • Your general health

  • If you require tooth extraction or other dental work before placement

  • The number of teeth to be replaced

  • Your level of bone density/volume

The above factors will determine how many visits to the dentist you’ll need and the time required in between visits. These factors will also contribute to the cost involved in your treatment.


Components of a conventional dental implant
There are a variety of different types of implants – as well as different types of tooth replacement devices that are connected to the implant. Essentially, there are three different components, with each fitted at different stages of the dental implant procedure:

  • The titanium screw (implant) – this is a biocompatible metal post placed into the jawbone during the first stage of the dental implant procedure. This fixture will eventually serve as the ‘root’ of your new tooth.

  • The abutment – this is a metal component (think of it like a joiner or connector) that attaches to the implant and will connect to a crown

  • The crown – this is a tooth-shaped cap fixed on top of the abutment during the final stages of your implant procedure. These can be made

from two different materials: all ceramic or porcelain-fused to metal.

Speak to your implant dentist for more information about the options available to you

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What happens during my dental implant procedure?
With a conventional dental implant, the implant procedure is performed in stages – over several months. This gives you implant of the surrounding tissues time to fuse and heal between stages. Your dental implant procedure will typically include the following steps:

1. Dental examination
Before the implant procedure begins, your dentist will need to check your dental and medical health. They will examine elements such as your bone density and gum health to determine your eligibility for dental implants. In some cases, you may be required to undergo additional procedures such as bone grafting or tooth extraction to remove damaged teeth before the implant procedure takes place.

2. Jawbone preparation
Before your dental implant procedure, your dentist will need to prepare the jawbone and surrounding area for implant surgery.

3. Implant placement
The first stage of the implant procedure involves placing the titanium screw into the jawbone, below the gum line. Once placed, the surrounding area will be left to heal for two to three months. During this time, the jawbone tissue will grow right up to the implant and fuse with it in a process known as osseointegration.

4. Abutment placement
After the healing period, the implant will be surgically exposed. Then, the abutment will be attached to the titanium screw (implant). It will take around two weeks for the recently exposed tissue to heal; then, afterward, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth to fit your dental crown.

5. Crown attachment
Your dental crown will be fixed to the abutment to complete the surgical procedure.

Is the procedure painful?
Many people assume that implant surgery would be painful. And although it’s not strictly pain-free, implant placement is not painful. You may experience some swelling and discomfort initially, but this discomfort subsides after the first two days. To counteract any discomfort, we will prescribe you anti-inflammatory medications so that you can remain comfortable during your recovery time. If you do experience pain that is in any way intolerable, we advise you to contact the clinic immediately so that we can prescribe you alternative medication that is more appropriate to your needs.

How do I prepare for dental implants?
Most of the time taken preparing for implants involves your dental appointments and examinations leading up to the placement date. Regarding personal preparation, not a lot is involved – it’s more a matter of being sensible. For example, as implant placement is a surgical procedure, it’s recommendable you don’t have any important events planned for the week after your surgery.

Depending on your level of sedation, your dentist may request a short period of fasting. Please check with your dentist and adhere to their instructions closely. If you become severely ill with a heavy cold or fever, your dentist may postpone the procedure as maintaining good health around your surgery time is imperative. After your procedure, you will be given a list of post-operative instructions by your dentist, which must be adhered to closely.

After implant surgery

  • Immediately after surgery, keep biting on gauze the 20 to 30 minutes to stop any possible bleeding.

  • If implant placement took place while you were sedated – either with oral anti-anxiolytic medication or IV sedation, you will need a responsible adult to drive you home and stay with you for the rest the day until you fully recovered from the effects of the medication.

  • Your mouth will be numb after surgery. Be careful not to bite your tongue or cheek.

  • Your face may become slightly swollen for a couple of days, but this will slowly subside. You may also experience some bruising, which will also subside.

  • If you usually wear a denture, avoid wearing it until advised by your dentist.

  • When sleeping, keep your head elevated

  • You’ll be given adequate prescription pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications by your dentist. Make sure you adhere to the instructions properly.

  • Avoid spitting or rinsing for at least 12 hours.

  • Smokers – do not smoke for at least two days after surgery is smoking can increase the risk of post-operative complications. Ideally, you should avoid smoking for a good 28 days.

  • After the first day, you may gently rinse with salt water or alcohol-free mouthwash. You can also gently brush the sutures or stitches with a very soft brush to remove any plaque buildup around the area.

  • After you’ve had your implant procedure, for the rest the day, avoid anything too hot or cold. Over the next week, slowly introduce a liquid diet along with soft foods, such as yoghurt, scrambled eggs or soups.

  • No strenuous exercise or alcohol for 24 hours.

  • After one to two weeks, you’ll return to the surgery for a post-operative assessment so that your dentist can give a thorough inspection and remove the sutures.

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