If you’ve got a missing tooth, you likely feel self-conscious every time you express your positivity through a grin. But you needn’t suffer forever dental implants are a great solution, and they’re more affordable and less painful than you think. 

Looking to learn more about this life-changing dental treatment? We’ve put together a handy A-Z guide to cover everything you need to know. 

What is a dental implant?

As the name implies, a dental implants is a procedure in which the dentist inserts a titanium implant into your jawbone. The surgery is undertaken in several stages, usually over a period of many months.  

A dental implant is different from false teeth in that it is permanently attached to the jawbone via surgery. 

Why get a dental implant?

Losing a tooth (or several teeth) due to an accident, gum disease, infection, or tooth decay is a traumatic experience. Not only will the missing tooth make it more challenging to eat your favorite foods, but the subsequent gap will devastate your smile and batter your self-esteem.  

Patients who have previously relied on false teeth to fix their smile find dental implants more convenient as they can’t fall out, and there’s no need to remove them for cleaning. Despite the discomfort and cost, thousands of Australians opt to undergo surgery each year to restore their long-lost smile. 

Who can get a dental implant?

Most people with at least one missing tooth can get a tooth implant, although there are a few exceptions. 

Children are generally exempt as their teeth and jaw have not yet stopped growing. Jaw development varies between people, although dentists will usually decline to carry out the operation on anyone under the age of 18.

An adult may not be suitable for a dental implant if they suffer from a chronic condition such as cancer, blood clotting disorder, diabetes, auto-immune deficiency, or drug abuse. These conditions make the recovery process more complicated and potentially dangerous. Smokers may also be barred from surgery as the habit restricts the healing process.

How do I prepare for a dental implant?

The dentist may advise you to avoid food and drink on the day of the surgery, depending on the type of anesthesia used. Patients may also be advised to take antibiotics in the days prior to the procedure and use a mouthwash called chlorhexidine.

What happens during a dental implant procedure?

The entire process is separated into several phases, which occur over several months.

The first step sees the dentist provide a consultation to assess whether the patient is suitable for surgery, and discuss alternatives such as dentures or bridges. The dentist will then give the patient a checklist to prepare for the next stage.

In the first procedure, the dentist will numb the gums with anesthesia to sedate the patient so they don’t feel any pain. Next, the dentist makes an incision in the gums and inserts a tooth root implant into the jawbone in the position of the missing tooth. To finish up, the dentist seals the gums back over the top of the implant to keep it covered. 

The patient will then rest for a few months to allow time for the bone to fuse into the implant and become robust enough to hold it in place. Once the dentist is confident the implant is secure. An abutment will be inserted over the artificial root to hold the new tooth in place. 

The patient must then rest again to allow the gums to heal. Meanwhile, the dentist will get to work on molding a custom tooth known as a crown. Finally, once the dentist is satisfied, the gum has adequately healed, the crown will be inserted over the abutment, and the patient will get to enjoy their brand new tooth. 

Does getting a dental implant hurt?

A specially trained dentist will use sufficient anaesthesia to prevent the patient from feeling pain during the procedure. However, once the anaesthesia wears off, the patient will begin to feel a degree of discomfort for several days. 

The severity of the discomfort depends on how closely the patient follows the dentist’s post-surgery guidelines. Patients who listen carefully to their dentist and take their instructions on-board find the recovery period isn’t all that bad at all. 

How long does it take to recover from a dental implant?

Swelling and discomfort tend to linger for several days to a week, getting gradually less severe as the days go by. Patients can minimize the discomfort by avoiding excessively chewy, hot or cold foods, eating with the other side of their mouth, and taking their prescribed painkillers as directed. 

Getting an implant to cover up a missing tooth is one of the best gifts you can bestow upon yourself. Like it or not, society places great importance on appearance; you’ll feel better about yourself and gain more confidence with a full set of pearly white teeth. 

It won’t be cheap but remember: you can’t put a price on the perfect smile. Get in touch with your dentist of choice for dental implants in Geelong today.