At DIA Dental Implant Center, we’re obviously big fans of dental implants. More conservative than bridgework and more stable than removable dentures, dental implants supported restorations provide unparalleled longevity, functionality, and aesthetics. However, the dental implant procedure is composed of two to three separate phases and requires oral surgery. We understand that our patients have a number of questions and concerns before proceeding with treatment. To help you stay well-informed and ahead of the curve, a DIA Dental Implant specialist will explain what to expect from dental implant surgery at their San Antonio offices during your initial consultation.
An Overview of Dental Implant Surgery
Dental implants have a three part structure: the implant, the abutment, and the restoration. The implant refers to the titanium post that our dental surgeon surgically implants into the jaw. The abutment connects the implant post to the restoration, the visible part of the tooth. Restorations vary widely and include single dental crowns, bridges, and a host of implant supported dentures and full arch replacements like All-On-4® Teeth in a Day and dental bridges. The dental implant placement process typically consists of 2-3 separate procedures:
- Implantation surgery: The initial surgical phase of dental implant is performed under IV sedation. Using 3D imaging and CT scan, a DIA dentist will plan the best angle, depth, and positioning of your implant. After creating pilot holes, he will insert the bio-compatible titanium posts. We will place a temporary prosthetic so that even during the 3 month healing period, you are never without teeth.
- Placing the abutment: Certain cases require an intermediate procedure after the implant has healed and fused with the surrounding bone tissue to place the abutment. During this phase, wei will open the gum tissue above the implant and insert the abutment. This minor procedure is performed under local anesthesia. In some cases, the abutment is placed during the surgical implantation procedure, and patients therefore can avoid this extra step.
- Placing the restoration: Once the implant and abutment are ready, you will return to DIA so your doctor can place the permanent dental prosthetic. You and he will have worked together closely during the design portion of creating your replacement teeth. Your input concerning size, shape, coloring, and overall look of your new teeth are invaluable to attaining the kind of smile you want.
Common Concerns with Dental Implant Candidacy
One important consideration to make before proceeding with dental implant surgery is whether or not you make a good candidate for dental implants in the first place. Advances in materials and techniques have made dental implants more accessible. For instance, in the past, patients with weakened jaw bone could not have received implants. Now, DIA doctors perform a bone graft in the office to help stimulate the growth of healthy bone cells. However, certain issues that might still preclude you from qualifying for dental implants include:
- History of smoking: Smoking inhibits your body’s ability to heal, thus increasing the risk of dental implant failure. Giving up smoking and demonstrating a continued commitment to quitting will help you qualify for the procedure.
- History of poor oral hygiene: If you don’t take very good care of your teeth and gums, you’re more likely to experience dental implant failure. Demonstrating an ongoing dedication to at-home dental hygiene and routine visits for preventive care appointments could help you qualify for the procedure.
- Certain medical conditions: People with chronic inflammatory disorders, like diabetes and arthritis, or cardiovascular diseases like hypertension will need to be reviewed on an individual basis.
Finally, many patients are concerned with the cost of dental implants. While implants are certainly more expensive that dentures or bridgework, they also offer drastically improved longevity and functionality. Talk to DIA Dental Implant Center about convenient financing options that can help you cover the costs of this innovative procedure.
Learn More About Dental Implant Surgery
To learn more about dental implant surgery or schedule an appointment, contact DIA Dental Implant Center today. We proudly serve patients and their families in San Antonio, Bexar County, and all surrounding communities.