Dental Implant Procedure
If you are interested in Sugar Land Periodontics & Implant Dentistry, your first step is to make an appointment for a complimentary consultation. Age is certainly no barrier for successful dental implants treatment, as it is far more important that you have good dental and general health. In fact we have successfully treated many older patients who wished to replace dentures with dental implants.
We will need to fully assess your mouth, including the condition of any existing natural teeth, and the condition of your jawbone. We will also need to know your medical history. This is because certain diseases, in particular diabetes, could affect treatment. If you have diabetes that is particularly well controlled then dental implants may still be suitable, but we do assess each case individually. We will need details of any medications currently being used, and we will ask if you smoke. Smoking makes it more difficult for the body to heal and increases the chances of treatment complications. Be prepared to quit, at least for the duration of treatment, and preferably for life to help ensure your dental implants last a long time.
It is necessary to have a CT scan* and dental x-rays. These provide us with a great deal of information about your jawbone, and help us assess its quality and quantity. Dental implants have to be surrounded by a certain amount of healthy bone to ensure they can fully integrate with your jaw, and are firmly anchored in place. If you don’t have sufficient bone, we might recommend a bone graft. This is a small additional procedure to help replace missing bone, and may be carried out prior to dental implant surgery, depending on how much bone is required. The CT scan and x-rays also help us to plan surgery, avoiding vital structures such as blood vessels sinus cavities and nerves, while ensuring the implant is placed to give the very best aesthetic results. The planning stage is extremely important for ensuring the implant looks natural and is fully functional.
*You will be required to have a CT scan done at our office as we cannot properly assess CT scans from other offices. This fee is not included with your free consultation.
Placing the Dental Implant
Standard dental implants consist of three separate parts. The implant post is made from titanium as this integrates with the natural bone extremely well because it is highly bio-compatible. This is inserted into the jaw during a small surgical procedure. The second part is the abutment, which is attached to the implant post and supports the dental crown, bridge or denture. This sticks up above the gum line, and looks like a very small metal post. The third part is the replacement tooth that can be cemented or screwed in position.
The procedure to place the implant post is very small, and it takes less than an hour to insert a single implant through a tiny incision in your gum. Many people feel comfortable with a local anesthetic, but if you are particularly nervous or wish to have quite a few dental implants at the same time, we can provide you with additional sedation options to ensure you are completely comfortable. Afterwards we will give you full instructions on how to care for the implant site, and will show you how to keep it clean. You might feel slight discomfort for a day or two, but we will discuss other post-op options to ease discomfort. If you opted for a local anesthetic, you should be fine to return to work the next day, but if you had additional sedation you will need to take it easy for the day afterwards as you should not drive.
Now your dental implant will require time to fully integrate with your jawbone in a process called osseointegration. During this time new bone cells will grow on and around the implant post, securing it in your jaw so it becomes strong enough to support a replacement tooth. If your dental implant is highly visible, we will provide you with a temporary tooth to wear during this time. It normally takes 3-6 months for the post to become fully integrated.