Dental Implant

How It Works

Dental implant surgery is completed in several steps. First, a complete dental exam is required to determine overall oral health and whether an implant is the right solution for a patient’s particular situation. In order for an implant to be successful, there must be enough space and bone tissue for implantation. In cases where bone tissue has eroded, a bone graft may first be needed to replace lost bone tissue. When the bone graft has healed, or if there is enough original tissue, the dental implant is surgically inserted into the jaw bone under anesthesia. The dental implant is a small, titanium, screw-like device. This device, over a period of months, will fuse to the surrounding jaw bone. During this fusing process, a temporary crown is placed over the implant. Checkups may be needed during healing to monitor the fusing process. Once fusing is complete, an abutment is attached during a minor surgical procedure. This abutment is what the final crown will attach to. When the gums have healed from this minor procedure – in about two weeks time – the final crown is placed and the dental implant is complete.

Side Effects, Risks and Complications

Dental implant surgery requires a long commitment period and the healing process can take several months to complete. Patients may notice pain or swelling around the site of the surgery. In addition, though dental implant surgery is successful more than 95 percent of the time, there are certain risks and complications associated with this procedure. Though rare, dental implants can fail. Some of the risk factors for implant failure include smoking, diabetes and poor dental health. These conditions can cause chronic infection and deterioration of bone, which can lead to failure of the implant. Nerve damage is another possible complication of this procedure. Tingling in the lips, teeth and gums may be a symptom of nerve damage. Finally, as with any surgical procedure, there is a small risk of reaction to anesthesia and medication prescribed. It is important to inform dental health professionals of any allergies or prior reactions before the procedure.

More information

Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dental-implant-surgery/MY00084

Medline Plus: http://vsearch.nlm.nih.gov/vivisimo/cgi-bin/query-meta?v%3Aproject=medlineplus&query=dental+implant&x=20&y=13

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dental_implant

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