A: Dental implants require some form of surgery. Now, in dentistry, the word surgery is loosely used— it’s in office, outpatient surgery. We generally only need regular anesthetic. However, some people choose to do sedation or some form of sedation where you go actually to sleep. Rarely do we need to go to the operating room for dental implants. Single dental implants can take 10-15 minutes to place. Comprehensive, full-mouth implants can take upwards of 4-6 hours—all of which can be done in the office.
When discussing dental implants in Corpus, there are a few variations of the procedure available. There are two that are the most common though. You have traditional single implants that require a few visits to complete. You also have full mouth reconstruction with dental implants that recreate a new smile in one day.
However, regardless of the method, a dental implant is a surgical procedure that replaces a lost or failing tooth with titanium posts. These posts serve as an anchor for a replacement crown that will be affixed to it. The crowns are made from durable zirconia or porcelain and look just like natural teeth.
Why Dental Implants?
Dental implant surgery is the preferred solution for missing or failing teeth when feasible. Dentures provide a less than ideal solution as they do not stimulate the jawbone leading to bone loss. That bone loss can cause so many problems beyond the cosmetic.
Jawbone disintegration causes severe bite issues such as misalignments, underbites, overbites, and can even render existing dentures useless. Dental implants offer a much healthier alternative to dentures or bridges and are a perfect fit. There’s no adjustment period like there is with dentures, no messy adhesives, no speech issues, and you can eat what you like.
How dental implants at Vela Dental are performed depends on the kind of implant procedure you’re getting as well as jawbone health. Some procedures may involve several visits and follow-ups, some, such as an All on Four can be done in one day. Either way you go, the major advantage of dental implants is a 1:1 replacement of your missing teeth. Your jawbone health remains strong, and there are no craniofacial issues you have to deal with.
That’s because as mentioned, dental implants are surgically implanted into your jawbone—serving as roots for the bone to bond with. Because the implants are made of biocompatible titanium, your body accepts them. They fuse with your jawbone and become part of it—permanently. This ensures that your implants stay secure, unlike bridgework and dentures that can slip.
Except for extenuating circumstances, dental implants are ideal if you:
- Suffer from one or more missing/failing teeth
- Have a full-grown jawbone that is in reasonable health
- Possess adequate bone mass to secure dental implants or at least enough to get a bone graft
- Have healthy gum tissue
- No underlying conditions that will prevent healing
- Are unwilling or not able to wear dentures
- Want to help your speech issues due to dentures or missing teeth
- Are willing to commit to the pre and post-op care
- Don’t use or are willing to cease tobacco use
Preparing For Dental Implants In Corpus
One of the most important phases in the dental implant process is the planning phase. At Vela Dental you’ll meet with Dr. Vela to discuss your expectations of dental implants. Also, since dental implants are an in-depth surgical procedure, you must undergo an in-depth evaluation to properly prepare including:
- Comprehensive Dental Examination— This typically includes X-rays of your teeth and 3D images, as well as molds of your teeth and jaw created.
- Medical History Review— This is crucial—tell Dr. Vela about any existing medical conditions and prescriptions you take. Also, include any over-the-counter medicines and supplements. For patients with certain conditions of the heart, antibiotics may be prescribed before surgery to prevent infections.
- Custom Treatment Plan— Each patient has different circumstances and needs, so a treatment plan is designed especially for your situation. It considers numerous factors including how many implants you need and your jawbone health.
- Pain Treatment— To mitigate pain general anesthesia or sedation is the method most preferred by patients. However, there are also options for local anesthesia if you so choose. Either way, just make sure to bring someone to drive you home safely.
The Dental Implant Process
Dental implant surgery is typically outpatient surgery that is performed in stages except for All on Four style implants. There are healing phases between each procedure to allow healing of the surgical site before moving forward. The steps of a dental implant procedure typically include:
- Extraction of failing/damaged teeth
- Bone grafting (if needed)
- Placement of implant
- Healing period (bone fusion)
- Placement of abutment
- Crown installment
Except for the All on Four procedure which are done in one day, dental implants in Corpus can take a few months. However, most of that time is dedicated to healing and allowing the implant and bone to fuse.
In-Depth Look At The Implant Process
As Dr. Vela covered, we use the term surgery loosely here, but it still is a process that requires careful steps which include:
Extracting The Teeth
This is an obvious step but one that needs to be covered briefly so you can know what to expect. Your surgeon will carefully extract the tooth and clear out the surgical site of any excess tissue.
Placing The Dental Implant
When placing the dental implant, Dr. Vela makes an incision into your gum to access the bone clearly. A hole is drilled for the implant and the metal post is placed. Since it will act as the root, it’s screwed in deep into your jawbone. At this point, you will still have an obvious gap where your tooth was before.
Waiting For Bone Fusion
When the implant is placed in your jawbone, your bone will begin to grow around the implant fusing itself to it. This process varies in length but for most people, it can take up to a few months for a solid bond. This process is extremely important as the stronger the bond, the better support your new teeth will have.
Once osseointegration is finished, it may be necessary to have minor additional surgery for the placement of the abutment. The abutment is the small piece that the crown will attach to permanently. The surgery is so minor that only local anesthesia in an outpatient setting is required. After the abutment is placed, your gums must heal for about two weeks before the artificial tooth can be attached.
Your new crown is permanently cemented to the abutment and you can begin your post-op care. If you follow the regimen properly it will ensure a smooth recovery.
Aftercare & Recovery
Regardless of whether you get your dental implants in stages or all on the same day, there will be some minor discomfort. Some of the most common post-surgery conditions resulting from any type of oral surgery are:
- Swelling of the gums and/or face
- Bruising of the skin and face
- Minor pain at the implant site
- Minor bleeding at the implant site
Typically, most of these are alleviated with simple over-the-counter pain medicine such as Advil. However, if the swelling or other conditions worsen a few days into recovery, contact us ASAP.
Also, after each phase of the implant process, Dr. Vela may recommend you to eat soft foods or drink meal replacements while the site heals. Typically, the stitches used will just dissolve by themselves. However, in some cases, traditional stitches may be needed—which then Dr. Vela would remove when appropriate.
Dental Implants In Corpus: Restoring Smiles. Changing Lives.
At Vela Dental we enjoy a success rate of over 97% on our dental implant procedures. We have seen multitudes of Corpus residents’ lives changed with their new smile. If you are suffering from missing teeth, or teeth that are failing and you want to smile again we can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation and let’s get your smile back!