Dental implants are an excellent option for people who have lost teeth due to gum disease or other reasons. They are strong, durable, and long-lasting, looking and feeling just like natural teeth. However, before you can get dental implants, treating any gum disease you may have is essential.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a common condition that affects millions of people around the world. It is caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth, leading to inflammation and infection of the gums. Over time, if left untreated, gum disease can cause significant damage to the gums and the bones that support the teeth. This damage can make getting dental implants difficult, if not impossible, without first treating the gum disease.
The reason for this is simple: the gums and bones provide the foundation for the implant. If the gums and bones are not healthy, the implant cannot anchor properly, and it may become loose or even fall out. This is why treating any gum disease before getting dental implants is crucial.
The good news is that gum disease can be treated effectively with the help of a dental professional. Your dentist or periodontist can assess the severity of your gum disease and recommend a course of treatment that may include deep cleaning, antibiotics, or surgery. By treating gum disease, you can ensure that your gums and bones are healthy enough to support dental implants.
Once your dentist treats your gum disease, you can begin the process of getting dental implants. This process typically involves several steps, including a consultation with a dental implant specialist, a thorough dental exam, and implant placement.
What is the Dental Implant Process?
During the consultation, the dental implant specialist will evaluate your oral health and determine whether you are a good candidate for dental implants. They will also discuss your options for anesthesia and sedation, as well as the risks and benefits of the procedure.
If you are a good candidate for dental implants, the next step is to schedule a thorough dental exam. During this exam, the dentist will take x-rays and impressions of your teeth to create a detailed treatment plan. This plan will outline the number and location of the implants and any other procedures that may be necessary to prepare your mouth for the implants.
Upon completion of the treatment plan, the dentist will begin the process of placing the implant itself. This typically involves using a local anesthetic and a small incision in the gum tissue to expose the bone. The implant is then inserted into the bone, and the gum tissue is stitched closed.
Over the next several months, the implant will fuse with the bone in a process called osseointegration. During this time, you must take good care of your implant to ensure that it heals properly. This may involve eating a soft diet, avoiding tobacco products, and practicing good oral hygiene.
Once the implant fuses with the bone, the dentist will attach a small abutment to the implant. This will serve as the foundation for the dental crown. The crown itself will be custom-made to match your existing teeth and attached to the abutment using a special adhesive.