Dental Implant Surgery
Dental implants are the premier method of replacing missing teeth. They can help to maintain the integrity of your jawbone, provide unrivaled support for dental restorations, and renew your ability to eat, speak, and smile with confidence.
The placement of dental implants occurs in several phases, which can vary depending on the state of a patient’s jaw and gum tissues prior to implant surgery. The surgical procedure itself involves embedding the titanium screws into the jawbone, followed by a separate surgery to attach abutments to the implants. Finally, the implant can be fitted with a restoration, such as a dental crown or bridge.
During your consultation, you will have the opportunity to meet with Dr. Emma Wu, who performs dental implant surgery at our North Andover, MA, practice. Dr. Wu will assess your candidacy for dental implants and discuss any pre-procedures that may be required. Contact our practice today to schedule an appointment.
What Procedures May Be Required Before Dental Implant Surgery?
The first step in the implant dentistry process includes a consultation with Dr. Wu, who will carefully examine your teeth, gums, and jawbone to determine whether dental implants are right for you. She will also determine whether you will need to undergo any prerequisite procedures, which may include:
- Tooth Extraction – Depending on your unique situation, you may require tooth extraction prior to undergoing dental implant surgery.
- Periodontal Treatment – It is important that your gums be in healthy condition prior to dental implant placement. Dr. Wu may recommend periodontal treatment, such as scaling and root planing, to restore your gum health.
- Sinus Lift – This procedure involves building up the bone height in the upper jaw near the sinuses on either side of your nose. During a sinus lift, your surgeon will raise the floor of the sinus and use bone grafting material to allow new bone to form.
- Ridge Augmentation – This procedure is meant to restore structure to the upper or lower jaw ridge, which is the area of the jaw that contains your teeth sockets. Bone grafting material is added to the jaw ridge or ridges to provide adequate support for dental implants.
What Does Dental Implant Surgery Involve?
Dental implant surgery will begin with the administration of anesthesia, after which Dr. Wu will make an incision in your gum tissue to access the underlying bone. She will make the incision based on a precise plan formulated prior to your surgery. Dr. Wu will then create space in the jaw bone and place the dental implant. Over the course of the next few months, the titanium implant post fuses with your jaw bone as part of a process called osseointegration. During this period, some patients are fitted with a temporary restoration, especially if the tooth being restored is in a visible area. If Dr. Wu uses the All-on-4® surgical technique, you may receive a temporary denture on the same day that your implants are placed.
The next phase of the process includes a second surgery during which an abutment is attached to the implant. The abutment serves as the point of attachment for the replacement tooth. Dr. Wu will reopen your gum to expose the dental implant and attach the abutment. The gum tissue will be sutured closed around the abutment. After the gums have healed, the replacement tooth can be attached to the abutment.
What Is the Recovery from Dental Implant Surgery Like?
Each patient’s recovery from dental implant surgery is different. Patients commonly experience swelling and some degree of discomfort, but this can generally be managed with pain medication. Patients are advised to avoid strenuous activities for several days and refrain from smoking. Your diet will have to be adjusted to exclude hard, chewy, or especially hot or cold foods. Dr. Wu will give you detailed post-operative instructions to guide you through the recovery process.
How Can I Learn More?
If you are considering dental implants as part of your journey to a restored smile, contact our restorative and cosmetic dentistry practice to schedule your initial consultation. During your consultation, you will learn more about your candidacy for dental implant surgery, and what you can expect before, during, and after the procedure. Dr. Wu is an experienced implant surgeon, and she is committed to making her patients feel comfortable and confident about their treatment plan.