Dental implants are a solution for those with missing or damaged teeth. They are titanium fixtures that resemble tooth roots, and they are used to support replacement teeth. Implants are more permanent and natural-looking than other options, such as dentures or bridges. They also help keep the bone beneath the gum line healthy by stimulating it to grow, which is not always possible with other treatments.
There are several factors that influence whether a person is a good candidate for an implant, including age, health condition and bone density. People with uncontrolled chronic conditions, such as diabetes or leukemia, may not be able to heal properly, and patients who smoke or have had previous radiation therapy to the head or neck might also be disqualified.
The first step in determining if a patient is a good candidate for an implant involves taking X-rays to see how much bone remains in the upper and lower jaw. The X-rays are also used to determine if a patient needs a bone graft before undergoing an implant.
If a patient is deemed a good candidate for an implant, the next step is to schedule an appointment with the oral surgeon or dentist who will perform the procedure. During the consultation, the patient will discuss their health history and any medications they are taking. The doctor will then provide a written treatment plan with estimated costs and a time frame for the procedure.
Before the implant is placed, the patient will receive local anesthesia to numb the area. A small incision is made, and the screw-like implant is inserted into the bone. The site is then covered with a small, firm cap that will protect it as it heals.
During the healing process, which can take between three and nine months, the implant integrates with the jawbone, becoming a permanent part of the mouth. Once the implant is healed, a connector called an abutment is screwed onto the top of the implant, and the final prosthesis (a single tooth, a bridge or a full denture) is attached to the abutment.
It is important for a patient to follow the care instructions after their surgery and to visit their dentist regularly for cleaning and examinations. They should also avoid activities that might cause a dry socket, such as smoking or blowing the nose excessively.
If a patient experiences pain or an infection that is related to their dental implant, they should contact their dentist immediately. They can also report any complications to the FDA through MedWatch, which is the agency’s safety information and adverse event reporting program. This will help the agency identify potential risks and improve the safety of medical products. This program is voluntary, and patients do not have to register to use MedWatch. However, registered users can receive email alerts about updates to the MedWatch website. In addition, they can also register to receive a printed copy of the MedWatch Annual Summary.