How a Dental Implant Works
A dental implant is a titanium post, it resembles a screw, that is of surgical grade, and biocompatible with your body. Titanium is a product that is used to make surgical repairs all over the skeletal frame, most commonly in knees and hips. Titanium is used because of its biocompatibility, meaning your body will not reject it. This is important because we are surgically placing a foreign object to dwell in your body. The body not only doesn’t reject it, but will heal and grow around it, bonding it to your bone. This bond is called osseointegration, and once this bond has taken place, the implant is firmly held in place.
To place your dental implant, we begin with ensuring that the preparatory work is completed and done. This may include a bone graft to bulk up the amount of available bone. We then make sure the patient is comfortable with the appropriate anesthetic for their needs. The gum tissue is opened, and using a specialized dental drill, we create a space in the bone for the placement of the post. Once the post in placed, we suture the area closed and cleanse the area to avoid infection. The patient will receive care instructions for the days following placement. Most patients are able to resume normal activity with one to two days following placement. Healing includes the process of bonding, so most patients are informed that healing can take months, they will need to use caution in the foods they eat to avoid any unnecessary shifting or damage to the post during this time. After 3-6 months, we can then proceed with the next step of attaching the prosthetic device that was discussed, either a crown, a bridge, or a denture.
Preparation for Placing your Implant
Proper preparation is key to the long term success of your implant. We will want to review your entire mouth, the bone density and the overall health of your mouth and your overall health. A bone graft sounds like a large procedure, but is actually quite simple. We place miniscule amounts of bone from one of four different sources: the patient; human donated; donated from an animal, or synthetic. This bone will then grow, bulking up your available jaw bone, giving more surface area for your implant to bond to, strengthening its hold.
Conditions That Can Impact Your Implant From Bonding
There are some medical conditions and habits that can impact the bond of your implant and bone. Most notably, any condition or medication that decreases your ability to heal properly. Patients who have uncontrolled diabetes, who smoke, or who take a variety of medications have a decreased ability to heal, impacting the bond that is needed. We will want to review and discuss this possibility with you during your consultation.