Though most patients love the results of their dental implants, it’s a long procedure and can be costly. The patient should check to see if their health insurance covers it, as it may be considered an elective procedure. They should also consult with their dentist about possible financial aid or an installment plan.
The patient also needs to know if they’re a good candidate for the dental implant. They must have enough healthy gum tissue and bone in their jaw to hold the implant properly. If they don’t, but still insist on an implant, they must be willing to undergo bone or tissue grafts. They have to know that the procedure will take time and commitment on their part and should be willing to follow the dentist’s instructions.
During the procedure the dental surgeon implants a titanium post in the patient’s jaw. The bone will then take time to grow around the post and anchor it. This process takes some months and in the meantime the patient is instructed by the dentist as to the best way to care for their mouth while the bone and tissue are healing around the post. In the meantime a temporary crown will be placed for cosmetic reasons and so the patient can eat properly. Because the crown is only temporary, the patient will be asked to eat a soft diet.
After the post has been fused it’s uncovered and an attachment is placed to make an anchor for the crown. The crown has been formed in a dental lab and matches the size, shape and color of the patient’s other teeth precisely. While this used to be done according to the aesthetic considerations of the dentist, it’s now done by computer. Only the patient and their dentist will need to know that the implant isn’t a real tooth.
During the procedure the patient is given anesthesia to make them comfortable. Afterwards the patient will need to take care of the implant like they would their natural teeth, which means daily brushing and flossing. The dentist might also prescribe a special mouthwash for a time, or a special type of brush to clean the implant.