The Dental Implant Process in Lincoln, NE
The dental implant placement process is not an instant, one-shot surgery. It takes place over more than one visit, and often requires periods of healing between procedures. To get an idea of what your dental implant process might be like, take a look below at a general timeline of events that occur for the average implant patient. However, be aware that your individual path of treatment may differ from others, and it all is meant to ensure dental implants success here at Family and Implant Dentistry in Lincoln, NE.
The Importance of the Consultation
The first time that a patient speaks to Dr. Hoffman about dental implants will be during the first consultation. During this time, patients can expect to have their oral health evaluated through x-rays and scans. Then, you’ll discuss in detail what dental implant options are best for you, whether they be individual implants or bridges.
At this time, you can also ask Dr. Hoffman any questions you have about the dental implant process. We will also ask about your medical history and any compromising medical conditions you may have. If you need to travel during your treatment, let us know about your plans so that we can schedule your dental implant treatment accordingly.
Tooth decay and gum disease are two diseases that can put any dental implant treatment at risk. They can spread and deteriorate the implant site, making it difficult for the implant to heal if it’s placed there. Outside of diseases, jawbone depletion is another risk that can prevent the dental implant from undergoing osseointegration properly.
For both disease and depletion, Dr. Hoffman may recommend a soft tissue augmentation or a bone graft to help alleviate the loss. Both procedures add new bone or gum tissue to the affected sites in order to give them more volume and help the dental implant acclimate to the jawbone. During your consultation, Dr. Hoffman will discuss these options with you in detail, if needed.
The Pieces of the Implant
Each piece of the implant requires a separate placement procedure, and in most cases separate appointments. This all depends on the period of healing that will be required for your particular implants.
The implant fixture is placed first, and this is the biggest step in regards to osseointegration. The titanium in the fixture triggers the process of osseointegration, wherein bone fibers wrap around the implant and secure it in place.
After some time has passed, the abutment will be placed, followed by the crown (this may either be at the same time or after another period of healing). Your implant is complete, but it’s also vital that you follow any postoperative instructions as well.
During the surgery itself, you will be under sedation and won’t feel any pain. After the surgery, some pain and swelling is normal to experience, and can be alleviated with over-the-counter pain medications. If Dr. Hoffman prescribes additional medications, please follow any and all instructions he gives.
Following your complete dental implant placement, stick to a diet of soft foods and cold liquids. Do NOT use straws, as this can dislodge blood clots around the surgical site. Yogurt, eggs, and soups are a few examples of acceptable foods to eat directly after surgery. Once your implant site has healed, you’ll be able to enjoy those textured foods you love again.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I manage my pain after dental implant surgery?
You’ll be under sedation for your dental implant procedure and won’t experience any pain during the process. Afterwards, any pain or swelling that occurs is typically manageable with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like acetaminophen.
If you have a health condition that makes it unsafe for you to use over-the-counter pain medication, talk to Dr. Hoffman before your dental implant procedure to determine safe pain management options.
Why isn't the full dental implant treatment completed in a single procedure?
After your implants have been placed, they need time to fuse with your jawbone before they can reliably support abutments and prosthetic crowns. This natural process, called osseointegration, will typically takes between three and six months. Allowing time for your jaw to fuse with the implanted posts helps guarantee a successful procedure and the beautiful, long-lasting results that you deserve. The wait will all be worth it when you’re sharing your restored smile with friends and loved ones.
How can I avoid complications after my dental implant procedure?
It’s critical to follow the postoperative guidelines that are provided after each phase of dental implant placement. To prevent infection after each phase of dental implant surgery, clean your mouth thoroughly after meals with a soft bristled toothbrush and toothpaste.
Until numbness subsides, stick to soft, cool foods like applesauce, yogurt, and smoothies without a straw. After the numbness is gone, you can safely enjoy dishes like mashed potatoes, pastas, and soups. Avoid foods that are served very hot until your mouth has completely healed.
Finally, smoking and other forms of oral tobacco use are strongly discouraged after dental implant surgery. Smoke and the chemicals from tobacco can interfere with your healing and the sucking action is liable to dislodge blood clots.
Are there risks associated with the metal of dental implants and abutments?
The titanium components of your implants are made from an alloy similar to that used for other surgical procedures like knee and hip replacements. Titanium is highly biocompatible, allowing the bones in your jaw to graft themselves safely and comfortably to your implants.
Titanium components of dental implants will never rust and will not trouble you at airport metal detectors or during medical tests such as an MRI. While allergies to some metals are not uncommon, allergic reactions to titanium are exceedingly rare.
Let Us Complete Your Smile in Lincoln, NE
Dr. Derek Hoffman and his team are ready to help you regain that fantastic smile, thanks to dental implants. While the process may seem long, patients have told us that the results have been well worth the wait. Contact us if you’re ready to schedule that first consultation and we’ll be happy to help you explore your options.