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Dental Implant Surgery: The Before, During, and After
If you have been tossing around the idea of dental implant surgery, you may be surprised to hear that the process is quite easy and smooth. Often, patients will allow their imaginations to grab hold of them and they will think that the surgical procedure is far from easy and quite painful in nature. Patients who have undergone the procedure will tell you that it is not as bad as it sounds and there is little discomfort once the entire procedure is over.
Before you have dental implant surgery, it is important to know what it is and what is accomplished during each stage of the process. Dental implants are used to replace the root of your tooth. Each artificial root is placed directly into your jawbone. Once the posts are in place, an abutment is place don top and a natural looking crown is attached to that abutment to provide you with a full and beautiful smile. Typically, the crowns are placed onto the posts a few weeks after the procedure, but at Steve S. Kim, DDS, we do offer immediate dental implants in Torrance, CA.
Each dental implant system is unique and designed to fit in your mouth. The posts are made from either pure titanium or from a titanium alloy. This is because titanium has been known to bond well in the mouth and allow for the bone to adhere to the post without any issues. The process of the bone fusing to the post is called osseo-integration. The post must be made from a material that will ensure the artificial root attaches to the surface area and bone properly. This can be done by making the post into a spiral shape with multiple threads on it or by roughening and altering the surface.
When patients first see that the post looks like a screw, they are scared or worried that the procedure will be extremely painful, but that is not the case. Let’s take a look at each step in the process below.
Pre-Surgery Steps and Process
The dental implant process is not as complicated as it may sound, and it is quite simple in nature. With the proper planning, the process will go as smoothly as possible and you will not face any hiccups in the road. Dr. Kim will prepare for your dental implant surgery by first performing x-rays of your mouth, conducting a CT scan, and creating a surgical guide that will allow him to input the artificial roots. The surgical guide is necessary as it allows for the proper determination of your bite and shows just where the new roots should be placed.
If you are experiencing any type of anxiety about your upcoming procedure, it is vital that you talk to Dr. Kim. He will be able to provide you with available options to ease the anxiety that you feel. Typically, local anesthetics are used, but it is possible for IV sedation or oral pill sedation to be used as well. Speaking to Dr. Kim will allow you to address your concerns and you will be able to learn about sedation options in Torrance, CA.
The Surgical Process
Site preparation is the first and most important step in the entire surgical process. You will undergo what is known as an osteotomy, which is when a hole is drilled into the jawbone. For this to take place, small incisions will be made on your gums to allow them to open up. The gums are often referred to as flaps and they will allow Dr. Kim to see the location of your jawbone.
Dr. Kim will then use the surgical guide and place it into your mouth. The osteotomy sites will be prepared using this guide to ensure that the implants are placed in the correct positions. Once ready, drilling will begin, and the hole will continue to increase in size until it is a mirror of the surgical guide. It is possible for implant surgery to be completed without cutting the gums, but it is highly recommended and used in most cases.
The drilling process is important and is required for successful placement of the implants and to ensure that the implants will fuse to your jawbone. Living bone tissue needs to be handled with care and you cannot place too much pressure on them and cold water must flow on the tissue to prevent it from overheating. Any missteps can cause bone loss. During the drilling sequence, you will experience some mild vibrations and the pain is considered to be very tolerable and minimal.
Once the holes have been drilled, the next step is to place the implants into the holes. The implants are sterile and cannot be touched. The implants will go directly from the package to your mouth. Once implanted, x-rays will be taken to ensure all implants are in the proper place. Once done, your gums will be closed and stitched with self-absorbing sutures.
Since the tissues in your mouth are sensitive, it is possible that you will experience some discomfort once the surgery is over. Each and every situation is different and if you have any concerns about healing or the pain you experience, contact Dr. Steve Kim immediately.
Over the counter medications such as Tylenol and Advil or Ibuprofen are recommended to alleviate discomfort and swelling. In some cases, Dr. Kim may prescribe opioidmedications such as hydrocodone or codeine. You will receive antibiotics that must be taken properly to avoid infection and ensure that your gums and tissues heal properly.
In most cases, the post-surgical phase is successful, and no problems are ever experienced. Many patients find that the entire surgical process is easier than they expected or thought that it would be. If you would like to learn more about dental implant surgery or if you would like to find out if you are a good candidate for the procedure, contact Dr. Steve S. Kim in Torrance, CA today.