Did you sustain serious dental damage or develop an advanced oral health problem that requires a tooth extraction? While it may seem like the end of the road for your complete and healthy smile, it’s not! Although your dentist will be removing your damaged tooth, it’s likely for the best so the issue doesn’t progress further. Plus, when you choose dental implants to restore your smile, you’ll be able to replace your home-grown pearly white with one that looks and feels identical. Read on to learn about what you can expect along your smile restoration journey.
STEP 1: EXTRACTING YOUR DAMAGED TOOTH
The first step towards restoring your smile’s health and function is to extract your damaged or decayed tooth. Typically, dentists will only recommend this procedure if the tooth cannot be repaired because they realize there’s no replacement that can quite compare to your natural tooth. To remove it, they’ll gently elevate it out of its socket and wiggle it slightly to break it free of any connective tissues. Then, using a pair of dental forceps, they’ll take it out of your mouth.
STEP 2: HEALING FROM YOUR EXTRACTION
After your tooth is extracted, you’ll need to follow your dentist’s post-op instructions to make sure that you heal without complication. Typically, this involves resting for anywhere between 48 and 72 hours, placing ice on the outside of your mouth in 10-minute increments, and keeping the blood clot intact. After about three to four weeks, the tissues will fully heal and you should be able to begin discussing moving forward with replacing the tooth soon after this period of time.
STEP 3: MAKING SURE YOU’RE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR IMPLANT PLACEMENT
Before your dentist moves forward with placing your dental implant, they’ll conduct a thorough examination of your mouth, making sure that you have sufficient jawbone density, are committed to maintaining good oral health, and are treating any underlying medical conditions that you may have. Once they’ve determined that you’re a good candidate, they’ll move forward with the placement of your dental implant.
STEP 4: HEALING FROM SURGERY & PLACING YOUR ABUTMENTS
After you’ve had your dental implant surgically placed below your gumline, you’ll need to wait anywhere from three to six months so it can fuse with your jawbone through a natural process called osseointegration. This is one of the most important aspects of dental implant treatment, because it gives your restoration a strong and stable foundation to be attached to. Once you’ve healed, your dentist will attach abutments to your implants, which are small, metal connector pieces.
STEP 5: COMPLETING YOUR SMILE WITH YOUR NEW RESTORATION
The final step of your smile restoration journey will be securing your permanent prosthetic to your abutments. Depending on how many teeth that you had extracted, you’ll be either receiving an implant-retained crown, bridge, or denture to complete your smile.
Even though the timeline takes place over the course of several months, it’s well worth the investment of your time and money to choose dental implants over other traditional restorative treatments, because they look and feel completely natural. Plus, the sooner you repair your smile after your extraction, the easier it will be to keep your oral health on an upward trajectory instead of a downward one.
About the Author
Dr. Jack Fan has several years of experience practicing dentistry under his belt, and he’s incredibly passionate about keeping up with the latest advancements in his field so he can provide his patients with the best quality of care. He’s always looking for new ways to expand his clinical knowledge and sharpen his skills, and he partners with an expert dental implant specialist in the South Austin area to offer amazing smile restoration results. For questions or to schedule a consultation to learn what your implant journey will look like, visit The Dental Centre’s website or call 512-361-4288.