We’d all like to keep all our original adult teeth, but that simply is no longer possible for millions of Americans at this point in their lives. When there’s advanced gum disease and the teeth begin to decay, there’s little reason to lament the reasons your adult teeth need replacing and there are so many more reasons to embrace dental implants. But what does having a new tooth, or teeth, implanted by a dental surgeon entail?
Bone grafting, if needed – If the decay has spread beyond the root of the tooth, it’s likely a bone graft will be needed to rebuild a firm foundation to support your dental implant. The dentist will prep the area of the missing tooth and fill the foundation with bone taken from another location, synthetic bones or animal bones.
It can take months for the graft to heal and reliably support the implant.
Inserting the implant – After a local anesthetic has been applied, the dentist will bore a tiny hole into the foundation and insert the titanium implant into it. You’ll get a temporary tooth to cover the site of the implant while you wait for the bone to heal again.
Placing the abutment – With a firm foundation and supporting structure in place, the dentist will place the abutment atop the titanium rod. The abutment, the part on which the crown attaches, will sit just above the gum line.
Creating the crown – Your dentist will take an impression of your mouth and model a tooth, or teeth, to cap off your implant.
Care and follow-up – Your dentist will likely prescribe antibiotics to keep the implant area healthy and pain medication, if you experience discomfort around the implant.
For some people, it’s the combined cost of the procedures needed for the implants and their crowns that give them a reason to put off having this life-changing treatment. For others, it’s fear of pain that keeps them from scheduling a consultation.
There’s no getting around it. The process will entail needles, to numb the pain, and several visits over the span of the better part of a year.
Ultimately, the implant procedure is considerably less painful, cumulatively, than suffering through years of pain from exposed nerves in damaged teeth. And it’s less costly to resolve the issue completely, than to let it fester and spread.
Contact your dentist today to learn about all the insurance and financing options available to you, as well as for reassuring details on the care and cutting-edge equipment used to keep pain and appointment times to a minimum.