When it comes to maintaining the look and function of your smile, there is one dental restoration that stands out: dental implants. Capable of maintaining your jawbone tissue and making your smile look and feel perfect, dental implants are the answer to missing teeth. However, because getting dental implants in Boston is more of a process than a singular event, there are some things you will need to do before you are considered a candidate for the surgery.
1. Focus On Your Oral Hygiene
Dental implant surgery and recovery is only successful when patients practice proper oral hygiene because brushing, flossing, and rinsing remove troublesome bacteria from the mouth.
Dental implants are installed by placing a small titanium post into your jawbone, letting it heal, and then eventually capping that post with an abutment and a permanent crown. Since the titanium post acts as the artificial root of the tooth, it is absolutely vital that this area is allowed to heal properly. If patients don’t practice proper oral hygiene, bacterial levels in the mouth can get out of control, sparking serious infections and possibly a full rejection of the implant. Also, since poor oral hygiene can cause gingivitis and periodontal disease, it doesn’t make much sense to place dental implants if the other teeth in the mouth are at risk for falling out. For this reason, you will only be considered a candidate for dental implant surgery if you are committed to proper oral care.
Focus on the ADA recommendations for proper oral hygiene, including brushing twice a day and flossing each day. Use a fluoride toothpaste to strengthen your dental enamel, and meet with your dentist to talk about your overall dental health.
2. Talk With Your Doctor About Your General Health
Since dental implant surgery requires a fair amount of healing, patients should be in good health before moving forward with dental implants. Patients with uncontrolled diseases such as anemia, diabetes, HIV, or cancer may not be eligible for dental implants, since they might struggle with healing.
For this reasons, patients considering dental implants are encouraged to meet with their primary care doctor to discuss their general health. Talk with your doctor about whether or not you are healthy enough for oral surgery, and if you have been on medications that could inhibit your ability to heal or put you at a higher risk for infections. For example, patients who have taken certain medications, such as bisphosphonates, may not be eligible for dental implants since this medication can affect the way your jawbone will heal. Make sure to share your medical history and your doctor’s opinion with your periodontist.
3. Meet With Your Periodontist
After you have established good daily habits and met with your family doctor to talk about your health, you should schedule an appointment with your periodontist to talk about dental implants. During dental implant consultations, your periodontist will carefully evaluate the health of your teeth, gums, and underlying bone tissue to determine whether or not implants are right for you.
During this appointment, your periodontist will talk with you about the advantages and disadvantages of dental implants and can show you the posts, abutments, and crowns used during the procedure. Most offices also have before and after photos of patients who have received dental implants in the past.
4. Commit To the Timeline
Unlike other cosmetic dental procedures, dental implants aren’t typically installed in a single appointment. In fact, the dental implant process can take as long as 4 months to a year to complete, since other prerequisite procedures are often involved.
If you are interested in dental implants, you have to be able to commit to the timeline. Keep in mind that your dentist or periodontist will do everything in their power to keep you comfortable throughout the process. For example, he or she might recommend a partial bridge to replace your missing teeth after your implant posts are placed, and they will always spread out the procedures to give you enough time to heal properly. Receiving dental implants can take patience, but they are worth the wait.
5. Undergo Prerequisite Procedures
After you have committed to the timeline, your periodontist will work with you to develop a treatment plan. Dental implants are placed in stages, with some patients requiring additional procedures.
For example, if you have jawbone tissue that isn’t dense, thick, or wide enough, you might need bone grafting to stabilize the area where implants will be placed. During bone grafting, an incision is made in the gum tissue where the implant will be placed. After the bone is exposed, synthetic, harvested, or donated bone tissue will be placed in the pocket to strengthen the area.
Bone grafts are a highly effective way to prepare the mouth for dental implants, but they can take as long as 3 months or longer to heal. Other oral diseases, such as gingivitis or periodontal disease, may also need to be treated before your implant treatment can proceed. Your personal treatment timeline will completely depend on your oral health, your commitment to following your Boston dentist’s orders, and how your body heals from surgery.
For more information about cosmetic dentistry in Boston, contact a dental practice that employs a variety of specialists, including periodontists. These specialists attend an additional three years of school aside from traditional dental school to learn the art and science of placing dental implants.