A lost tooth can make chewing difficult, destroy a smile and look embarrassing. The tooth loss may be a result of tooth decay, injury or periodontal disease but it needs to be replaced, and the best long lasting option is to go for an artificial tooth root. This implant is deeply set into the jaw and a bridge or a replacement tooth is attached strongly on it.
There are various stages to the dental implant surgery:
- Tooth surgery: Removal of damaged tooth
- Bone grafting: Bone grafting or jawbone is made ready for the surgical procedure. This procedure is done when the jaw bone is soft or not thick enough to take the load of a metal dental implant. The implant can be fit into the soft bone but when the person chews food it may give way and the surgery cannot be declared a success.
Bone graft is strong and adds extra solid support for implant. The bone piece is taken from somewhere in the body or another part of jaw. Sometimes commercial bones are also used for a bone graft. This transplanted bone settles and grows new bone to hold up dental implant strongly. The roots of the artificial tooth are strong and supportive enough to last long.
- Healing time: Time is given for jawbone to heal perfectly
- Implant in jaw: Metal dental implant and in some cases abutment are placed in jawbone. The gum is opened and bone exposed. The metal dental implant is placed deep inside a hole that is drilled into the bone. The denture is placed on top of the implant root. This can be removed and cleaned.
- Jaw impressions: After the tissue healing is complete, molds or impressions of jawbone and teeth are prepared. The remaining teeth and the mouth will show the dentist the exact size of the crown or artificial tooth to be prepared. The artificial tooth that looks very real is called a crown. This crown is placed on the implant into the jawbone when it heals, and regains the strength to support the artificial tooth. This procedure cannot be completed in a few days as the new bone may have to grow in the jaw and the tissue needs to heal perfectly. The artificial tooth can be removable or fixed (cannot be removed to clean).
After surgery discomforts:
There may be some dental implant surgery reactions that can be a reason for great discomfort to the person:
- Facial and gum swelling
- Minor bleeding from wound
- Pain at the site of the implant
- Gum and skin bruising
This situation can be treated by antibiotics or pain killers that are commonly advised by the dental surgeon after the surgical procedure.
The patient is often advised to eat foods that have a soft texture. Foods with sharp edges can agitate the wound area and may also rub against the tender gum and lip . Till the surgical wound heals the antibiotics will make sure that there is no infection. The sutures may be self dissolving or they may have to be removed by the doctor after the healing takes place. Further consultation is advised if swelling persists.