Maryville, Alcoa and Knoxville TN
When someone has missing teeth, they have the tendency to hide their teeth when chewing, speaking, or attempting to smile. But, when it comes to your oral health, the old adage of “out of sight, out of mind” ends up doing more harm than good. Thankfully, there are dental procedures that can help restore your smile to its original glory. One common solution to replace missing teeth are dental implants. Dr. Ben Sentell, an implant dentist in Maryville, wants to share four steps on what to expect for this procedure.
Step #1: Initial Consultation
To begin the process, an initial consultation will be needed to assess the damage and determine the amount of work that needs to be completed. Depending on the situation, an extraction may need to be completed before undergoing dental implant surgery. During the initial consultation, the dentist will also check your bone structure using x-rays to determine if a bone graft will be needed to sustain the implant. If the bone structure is weak or diminished, and a bone graft is needed, there will be a waiting period of approximately two to three months, depending on your body’s healing process before resuming the implant process.
Step #2: Implant Placement
Once the bone has healed, then it is time to begin carefully placing the implants. This process is considered oral surgery, so choose a qualified implant dentist in Alcoa, Knoxville, or Maryville, Tennessee, for best results. The placement of the implant will require some drilling into the jawbone to ensure the implant fits snug and functions just like the roots of a natural tooth. This may sound a bit intimidating, but it’s actually not as scary as it sounds! You will be numb for the procedure, and afterward, you will most likely experience only gum tenderness in the surgical area. After the implant is in place, a “healing cap” will be placed on the implant to protect the implant post and prevent the gum tissue from growing over it.
Step #3: Healing and Osseointegration
After setting the implants, then it is time to heal. Healing is a critical step as it forms a stable foundation for the implant. Osseointegration, or the act of the implant “fusing” with the bone, will lock the implant in place by growing around it, just like the roots of your real teeth. Depending on your body’s ability to heal, the process can take a few months. In the meantime, if your implant is replacing a front tooth or one that is visible in your smile line, the implant will have a crown on top of the “healing cap” that will look and feel like a real tooth. Back teeth, however, usually don’t require a temporary crown.
Step #4: Tooth Replacement
When your dentist determines that you’re finished healing, it will be time to get a permanent custom crown that will feel, look, and act just like a regular tooth. If you need implants for more than one tooth, then a bridge or implant denture may be needed. When the tooth replacement step is complete, no one will know that you had a missing tooth.
With dental implants, you can restore your smile and regain confidence. As a permanent solution for missing teeth, it is recommended to discuss the option of dental implants with Cedar Street Family Dentistry at your next appointment. We will gladly answer any of your questions and determine if you are a candidate for this procedure. Call us today at (865) 233-7640 to schedule your appointment and find out if implants are right for you.