At Westport Dental, our dentists place dental implants as part of the process to replace a missing tooth and leave you with a natural look to your smile.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a small titanium screw that functions much the same as a natural tooth root. They can be used to replace a single lost tooth or multiple missing teeth.
The implant is surgically placed into the jaw bone where it gradually bonds with the natural bone to serve as a stable anchor for a tooth replacement.
Dental implants can help to prevent surrounding teeth from shifting, resolve bite issues or jaw joint pain, and help restore facial tissues and appearance.
At Westport Dental the surgical placement of dental implants is performed by Dr Amar Dev.
Reasons for Dental Implants
If you have lost a tooth, the teeth around the gap may begin to shift out of place and cause alignment issues. The jaw bone around the area may also begin to deteriorate, resulting in facial collapse or impacting your ability to eat and speak properly.
The Dental Implant Procedure
The dental implant process will require you to attend multiple visits to your dentist over the course of several months.
You will need to get impressions of your jaw and teeth, as well as X-rays, to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant. Your mouth will be numbed, and while numb your dentist will surgically place the implant into your jaw bone. Allow this to heal and integrate itself for up to six months after the surgery.
A second surgery may be required to add the "post" that holds the artificial tooth in place, but this is not the case with all types of dental implants. In some cases, implants with the post and anchor already attached will be placed during the original surgery.
Once the site has had a few weeks to heal the artificial tooth will be made and fitted to the post. Several fittings may be required and this part of the process may take up to two months to complete. Once healed, the artificial tooth will be securely attached to the implant, providing a stable and comfortable tooth replacement.
Timeframes & Dental Implant Treatment
Not including your initial examination, the process will take 4-5 visits until the final artificial tooth is permanently attached.
It is normal to experience some minor bruising and swelling in the gum and soft tissue afterward. Any discomfort is usually treated with an ordinary painkiller.
Dental Implant FAQs
For more detailed information about the dental implant process please read through the answers to our most frequently asked questions about dental implants at Westport Dental.
- Are dental implants successful?
Implants have been successfully used as a replacement for missing teeth for decades. It is important to have your medical history up to date as certain medications and medical conditions can impact the healing process and it is important to know and account for these factors before implant placement. After placement, it is important to care for them and maintain their health. Implants can last a lifetime as teeth can, but they require proper care.
- How much do dental implants cost?
The fee for tooth replacement with dental implants depends on several factors, including the number of teeth being replaced and the number of dental implants required to support your replacement teeth.
Some additional procedures may be required before the placement of your dental implants to ensure the long-term health of your dental implants. To obtain a specific fee estimate, it is necessary to have a doctor examine your mouth. After a thorough diagnostic examination, your dentist will recommend the treatment that is best for you.
- Who is a Candidate?
Anyone who is missing one or more teeth due to injury, disease, or tooth decay may be a candidate for dental implants. The determining factor is the amount of available bone. Your dentist is the best person to evaluate whether dental implants are a viable solution for you.
- What are the advantages of dental implants?
Improved appearance: When you lose the entire tooth - crown and root - shrinkage of the jawbone may cause your face to look older. Dental implants can stop this process. A traditional denture or dental bridge doesn’t.
Preserve natural teeth: With traditional dental bridges, teeth adjacent to missing teeth are normally ground down to be used as anchors for a dental bridge. Dental implants often eliminate the need to modify healthy teeth.
Permanent solution: There are no loose parts to worry about losing. The dental implant is stable and comfortable. No adjustment is needed after placement. Normally, it will serve its owner for life.
- How will dental implants affect my life?
Dental implant-supported replacement teeth look, feel, and function like natural teeth. This means that you can eat and drink whatever you choose. But most importantly, dental implants often improve quality of life in a very concrete way.
People who have felt embarrassed and worried because of their tooth problems are often overwhelmed by what new permanent teeth can do for their self-esteem.
- Will my new teeth look natural?
When dental implants are used in combination with modern restorative dentistry, their appearance, comfort, and function are very likely to exceed your expectations. Often they are hard to tell apart from your natural teeth.
- How much time is required for a dental implant placement?
The conventional process can take from three to six months. First, the dentist places the dental implant, which is left for three to six months to heal and integrate with the jawbone. During the healing period, you are given a temporary prosthesis until the permanent crown is put in place. There are times a temporary crown can be placed on the same day as the implant.
The procedure chosen depends on several factors, such as your dental health, the number of teeth involved, and which teeth are replaced. These factors will also determine the total number of visits to the dentist throughout the treatment period.
- Is the treatment painful?
With any surgery, there can be some discomfort. Placing one implant normally causes less discomfort than placing several. Our Periodontist and dental staff are trained in ways to help reduce any discomfort during the dental implant process.
Most patients report that they were much more comfortable following the procedure than they had anticipated. Your doctor will prescribe medications to ease any discomfort that may occur. Ask your dentist to recommend another patient who has already had tooth replacement therapy to assess their personal experience.
- How do I care for my dental implants?
Your new teeth must be cared for and checked regularly, just like your natural teeth. Brush and floss as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist. See your dentist in six months, or more frequently if so advised.
- What is socket preservation (bone grafting of the extraction socket) and do I need it?
When a tooth is extracted, to prevent gum tissue from going into the socket/hole where the tooth was, bone grafting material and a physical barrier is sutured in place to stabilize the space and allow your body to have time to fill the area with its own bone.
The goal of this procedure is to preserve the space where the tooth used to be to allow bone to grow—preserving the bony volume to maintain the foundation for implant placement. If not done, the bony architecture collapses and shrinks in the area where the tooth was extracted making it more challenging to place an implant.
Dental Implant Surgery Post-Op
If you are scheduled for dental implant surgery at Westport Dental, the following information will help you to understand what to expect following surgery, and steps to take as you recover.
What to Expect After Surgery
Bruising and swelling of the gum and soft tissues is considered normal following implant surgery. Thankfully, the pain is generally mild and can be treated with an ordinary painkiller. You should be able to work the next day.
After dental implant surgery, it is very important to take diligent care of the area surrounding your new implants. In the first month following your surgery, your care routine will be more involved as your implant begins to integrate with the surrounding bone and tissue.
Recovery from Implant Surgery
Recovery after dental implant surgery happens in phases, and maintaining proper oral hygiene should be your primary focus. Keep in mind that, for the implant to properly fuse with the jawbone, it must remain clean.
Recovery time can vary depending on your case and treatment plan. It is important to have follow-up appointments afterwards to ensure it is healing properly.
Surgery Post-Op Instructions
After dental implant surgery, it’s important to follow these care instructions:
Patients should take all prescribed antibiotics (if prescribed) to prevent infection at the surgical site.
Blood in the patient's saliva is normal during the first 24 hours following surgery. We suggest biting on gauze pads to help control and lessen blood flow. Gently bite down on the gauze pad and try to maintain constant pressure, repeating as often as needed, or until bleeding lessens.
- Dealing With Pain
Shortly after your dental implant surgery, the anesthetic will wear off. You should begin taking pain medication before this happens. Any over-the-counter pain medication can be taken (e.g., Tylenol®, Aleve®, ibuprofen, etc.). If there are issues with taking such medications due to other medical concerns, please let us know.
We recommend an initial diet of soft foods, but patients can resume a normal diet as soon as they feel capable of doing so but avoid eating on the implant until the final crown is placed. Stay hydrated. You must be drinking plenty of fluids.
For dental implants to heal properly, the surgical site must be kept clean. Continue to brush your teeth as you normally would but avoid any sutures and do not brush or use a Waterpik around the implant until the dentist has advised you to do so.
Twenty-four hours after the surgery, patients should begin using the prescribed oral rinse after every meal where the rinse is gently used and held for 1min. Do not swish aggressively, gently let the rinse out of your mouth. Do not eat/drink or swish water for 30 minutes after use.
After dental implant surgery, some amount of swelling is to be expected. To help minimize swelling, try to keep your head elevated and lower your activity level as much as possible. Use ice packs for the first 48 hours and apply continuously, or as frequently as possible to minimize facial swelling.
- Wearing Your Prosthesis or Night Guard
Partial dentures, flippers, full dentures, retainers, or night guards should not be used for at least 10 days following surgery. If there are any special circumstances, our practice will discuss those with you during your pre-operative consultation.
Smoking after dental implant surgery has an increased risk of infection which also increases the risk of dental implants failing to integrate. We recommend that patients do not smoke for a minimum of 2 weeks after dental implant surgery.
- Sinus Precautions
In some cases, the sinus may be manipulated to allow for implant placement. In these cases, additional instructions are given to maintain the health and promote healing of the area.
- If you are about to sneeze/cough, do so with your mouth open
- Take your medications as prescribed
- This includes antibiotics
- This also includes taking an over-the-counter decongestant
- Eat soft foods and chew on the opposite side
- Do maintain good oral hygiene, but do not brush directly over the site for 2 weeks.
- Sleep with your head elevated (use an extra pillow)
- DO NOT smoke tobacco/cannabis/e-cigarettes or consume alcohol until completely healed.
- Do not spit aggressively, swish mouth rinse or salt water aggressively, or use straws
- Do not use a Waterpik near the site
- Do not exercise or undergo strenuous activity while healing, especially swimming
- Do not blow your nose for 2 weeks
- Do not go on an airplane/helicopter or underwater diving for 2 weeks
- Try not to sneeze/cough, if this occurs, do so with your mouth open. Do not try to avoid sneezing by pinching your nose!