So, you’ve made the decision to get dental implants. But what comes next? The experts at Periodontal and Implant Surgeons of Houston can help guide you through the process.
Dental implant surgery replaces the roots of your missing or damaged teeth with medical-grade titanium rods. These rods act as an anchor for replacement teeth, which are specially designed to match your existing teeth. The implants won’t slip, make noise, or cause bone damage like traditional dentures and bridges, and are sturdy enough to last a lifetime. Getting dental implants can positively impact your life, but the process can take months. There are four steps to the procedure: preparation, surgical implantation, healing, and tooth replacement.
The process of getting dental implants requires a variety of specialists, including a doctor specializing in the bones of the face and jaw (a maxillofacial surgeon), a dentist specializing in the treatment of teeth and gums (a periodontist), and a doctor who designs artificial replacement teeth (a periodontist). You may even need other specialists, such as an Ear Nose and Throat doctor or an anesthesiologist. You will receive a thorough evaluation prior to surgery, including a comprehensive dental exam with 3D imaging and x-rays as well as a review of your medical history. We will also have models made of your teeth and jaw. Finally, we will review your treatment plan and schedule you for surgery at our outpatient treatment center.
On the big day, you will arrive and receive instructions for the day. Once you are taken into the treatment suite, you will be given local or general anesthesia to make you comfortable. The surgeon will remove any failing teeth, before surgically inserting one or more titanium posts into your jawbone, replacing the roots of the teeth you are replacing. After you wake up, you will be able to go home, usually with pain medications and instructions for a soft diet.
After your procedure, your jawbone will start to heal, growing around the inserted metal post and fusing with it in a process called osseointegration. This process forms the stable anchor used later to attach the replacement teeth. This process takes time – often months – depending on your general health and hygiene as well as the number and type of teeth being replaced.
While you are healing from the surgery, the prosthodontist crafts replacement teeth made of porcelain, high-quality acrylic, or a tooth-colored substance called zirconia, made to replicate the size, shape, and color of your remaining teeth. Once the anchor is stable, replacement teeth are placed. These replacement teeth – called a bridge – are usually made of zirconium or porcelain, and will match your existing teeth in shape, size, and color.
Every implant is different. Depending on your unique anatomy, bone structure, and the number and type of teeth being replaced, you may be able to get the procedure done all in one day, or it could take as long as a year. If you are interested in getting dental implants, contact the experts at Periodontal and Implant Surgeons of Houston for an in-depth consultation. Call (713) 785-9599 to book an appointment today.