Dental Implant Surgery Sydney
Dental surgery is a procedure that replaces damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function much like real ones. Dental implant surgery can offer a welcome alternative to ill-fitting dentures or bridgework.
How dental implant surgery is performed depends on the type of implant and the condition of your jawbone. But all dental implant surgery occurs in stages and involves several procedures. The major benefit from implants is solid support for your new teeth — a process that requires the bone to heal tightly around the implant. Because this healing requires time, the process can take many months.
Why it's done
Dental implants are surgically placed in your jawbone, where they serve as the roots of missing teeth. Because the titanium in the implants fuses with your jawbone, the implants won't slip, make noise or cause bone damage the way fixed bridgework or dentures might. And the materials used can't decay like your own teeth that support regular bridgework can.
In general, dental implants may be right for you if you:
Like any surgery, dental implant surgery poses some health risks. Problems are rare, though, and when they do occur they're usually minor and easily treated. Risks include:
How you prepare
Because dental implants require one or more surgical procedures, you must have a thorough evaluation in preparation for the process. The process involves:
Be sure to tell your doctor about any medical conditions you have and about any medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements. If you have certain heart conditions or orthopedic implants, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics before surgery to help prevent infection.
You will be given some form of anesthesia for pain control during surgery. Anesthesia options include local anesthesia, sedation or general anesthesia. Talk to your dental specialist about which option is best for you. Your dental care team will instruct you about eating and drinking before surgery, depending on what type of anesthesia you have. If you're having general anesthesia, plan to have someone take you home after surgery and expect to rest for the remainder of the day.
What you can expect
Placement of dental implants and artificial teeth involves surgical procedures usually done in several stages. The entire process takes three to nine months — sometimes longer. That may sound daunting, but a lot of that time is devoted to healing and waiting for the growth of new bone in your jaw.
Typically, the dental implant cylinder is first implanted in your jawbone. This is followed by a healing period that may last several months. After that, the abutment is placed, followed by your new artificial tooth (also called an implant prosthesis or crown).
When bone grafting is required
With bone grafting, a piece of bone is removed from another part of your jaw or your body — your hip, for example — and transplanted to your jawbone. It may take six to nine months for the transplanted bone to grow enough new bone to support a dental implant. In some cases, you may need only minor bone grafting, which can be done at the same time as the implant surgery. The condition of your jawbone determines how you proceed.
Placing the dental implant
During the surgery, your gum is cut open to expose the bone. Holes are then drilled into the bone where the dental implant cylinder will be placed. Since the cylinder will serve as the tooth root, it's implanted deep into the bone. At this point, however, you still have a gap where your tooth is missing.
Usually, a type of partial, temporary denture can be placed for appearances. You can remove this denture for cleaning and while you sleep.
Waiting for bone growth
Placing the abutment
In many cases, the abutment is attached to the dental implant cylinder when the cylinder is implanted. That means you won't need an extra surgical step. Because the abutment juts past the gumline, however, it's visible when you open your mouth — and it may be that way for six months or so. Some people don't like that appearance and prefer to have the abutment placed in a separate procedure.
Choosing your new artificial teeth
You and your dental specialist can choose from two main types of artificial teeth. They are:
If swelling, discomfort or any other problem gets worse in the days after surgery, contact your implant surgeon. You may need pain medications or antibiotics.
After each stage of surgery, you may need to eat soft foods for five to seven days. Typically, stitches that dissolve on their own are used. If your stitches aren't self-dissolving, your doctor removes them in about 10 days.
Most dental implants are successful. Sometimes, however, the bone fails to fuse sufficiently to the metal implant. Smoking, for example, can contribute to implant failure and complications.
If the bone fails to fuse sufficiently, the implant is removed, the bone is cleaned up, and you can try the procedure again in a month or two.
You can help your dental work — and remaining natural teeth — last longer if you:
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