Pre-Implant Placement: Physical Requirements
Getting implants requires a surgical procedure. In order for the procedure to go smoothly and the implants to be a success, patients need to be in a certain state of health. Prior to placement, your dentist will ensure that you fulfill the following requirements:
- Adequate bone density – Dental implants form a connection with the jaw bone through a process known as osseointegration. In order for the titanium implants to integrate with the bone, there needs to be adequate bone density at the placement site. Unfortunately, bone below missing teeth tends to resorb, or dissolve. Your dentist will need to verify that your bone density is sufficient more moving forward with treatment.
- Excellent oral health – Periodontal disease and cavities increase the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth. Your oral health must be sound before implant placement, lest the surgical sites become infected. Periodontal treatment or cavity fillings may be necessary.
- Fair physical health – Your body needs to be able to heal the implant sites properly for the implants to succeed. Patients must therefore be in good overall health before placement.
Your case may require that you undergo one of these preparatory procedures before implant placement is a possibility:
- Bone graft – An inadequate area of the jaw bone will require a bone graft to enhance its density. Once the graft has healed, implant placement take place.
- Periodontal treatment – If your gums are ailing, periodontal treatment will remove plaque and infected tissue so that you may receive implants.
- Extraction – If a tooth is infected or you are preparing to receive full sets of dentures, extraction may be necessary. Your dentist will either perform the tooth extraction or recommend a local oral surgeon.
Dental Implant Surgery
You will receive dental anesthesia (and sedation, if you experience anxiety) so that you are completely numb for the implant procedure. Your dentist will make a small incision in the gums and place one or more implants in the jaw bone. The gums will be stitched closed around the treatment site, and it will be time for the healing process.
It is the healing period that determines whether implants succeed. For this reason, you want to ensure that you care for you mouth (and yourself) as instructed. Get plenty of rest, eat and drink appropriate foods and beverages, and clean the placement site(s) carefully. The healing process may take several months. At the end of this time, your implants will have integrated with the jaw bone and will be ready for pairing with dental restorations.
Depending on the complexity of your case, this final step may occur at different points in the implant placement timeline. Generally, restorations are not placed until implants have healed and are ready to support crowns, bridges, or dentures. The restorations will be affixed to the implants with the aid of abutments, connecting pieces that join the root and crown replacements. Once your restorations are securely in place, your new smile is complete. Your implants and restorations will function and feel similar to natural teeth.