If you’ve recently considered dental implants to replace one or more missing teeth, you are not alone. Many patients have considered that the long-term benefits of dental implants make them a smart investment over dentures and bridges.
What many patients usually inquire about when calling for dental implants in Houston, is the procedure itself. Dental implant surgery is not a basic procedure; it is quite technical and complex and should only be handled by a well-qualified oral specialist.
When you consider what all goes into this delicate but innovative procedure, you’ll realize why Comprehensive Dental Group—with our extensive experience with implant surgery, is the leader for dental implants in Houston. Here’s a brief look at what to expect when you receive dental implant surgery from Comprehensive Dental Group.
Before The Procedure
Patients who want to receive dental implants in Houston must have a healthy, strong jawbone in order for the implant posts to anchor. If you do not have a strong jawbone it is possible to have a bone graft prior to dental implant surgery. Your surgeon will have to be the one to make that determination once imaging is completed and examined. Once you do get a bone graft, and after it has healed; then we can proceed with the implant surgery.
Prior to the day of your procedure, you will receive instructions from our office on how to prep for your surgery day. If you smoke, quitting smoking months before the procedure is highly recommended as it can severely impede bone integration with the implants. In fact, smoking is the leading cause of implant failure.
During The Procedure
Once you are settled in the chair and prepped, we begin with a local anesthetic to make the implant site and proximity around it totally numb. Your lower jaw is typically numbed before injection with a local numbing gel and then the anesthetic is injected into the gum. While you will be awake and aware of what is going on, you will feel no pain in the area. The sensations you might feel are pressure, vibration or others that may be foreign but not painful. Sedation may also be available but is an optional add-on service; this is especially helpful for those with a significant anxiety or fear of the dentist.
Implant Site Prep
After we let the anesthetic take full effect, we prepare the implant site and open your gums in order to access the jawbone for evaluation. Since the bone needs to be fairly smooth and level we might use a drill to shape it down a bit for a better anchor.
Drilling The Pilot Hole
We will use several drills to make what is called a pilot hole— basically, a guide hole to drill the larger implant bore. First, we create a small divot using a tiny round bur drill bit. Then, we use a pilot drill to create the pilot hole. There are special tools on hand if there is any adjustment needed but if not the hole will then be drilled deeper. As this is happening we typically flush the drill area with water or saline as to keep the bone cool during drilling.
Sizing The Hole For Implant
When the pilot hole is complete, we then use increasingly larger drill bits until we make the hole the correct diameter for the implant itself. The size of the implant is of course chosen ahead of time-based on the quality of your jawbone. Typically, we try to go with the largest implant possible to better balance the load to the bone. Once this hole is finished, alignment is checked, threaded if necessary and prepared for implant placement.
Placing The Implant
The final surgical step is placing the implant using a special drill head or a small handheld wrench. While this may cause some discomfort, it is not painful and our staff is highly skilled to minimize the discomfort. Once placed, the surgery site will be closed up with surgical stitches.
Post Op And Healing
Depending on what kind of implant procedure you are getting you may get the restoration placed on the implant on the same day. For example, many Houston dentistry practices such as us offer the revolutionary Teeth-in-a-Day All-on-Four™ procedure. This procedure offered by many but perfected by Comprehensive Dental Group— gives you an entire set of teeth in the same day. Not all patients, however, are able to get this procedure so the normal post-op healing would be as follows.
Stitches are typically left in for about 6 to 10 days depending on how fast you heal. Then, the implant is given about 3 to 6 months to fuse with your jawbone before placing the restoration. It should be noted that dental hygiene during this time, while always important—is especially important during this time frame. Peri-implantis is a serious condition that is almost always due to not keeping good dental hygiene. Bacteria get into the implant area where the exposed tissue is more susceptible to infection. Once infected, bone loss and implant failure is typically the result. This condition is quite painful and can be avoided with good hygiene. If you have no complications and the implant has healed and fused properly to the bone, the restoration is placed. Typically the restoration is a crown that screws on to the implant or cemented in place permanently.