According to the American College of Prosthodontists, approximately 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. If you've dealt with the embarrassment of an imperfect smile for years, you might be considering dental implants. Unlike veneers, which are bonded to a patient's existing teeth, a dental implant is intended to completely replace a missing tooth. If you're thinking about undergoing dental-implant surgery or already have an appointment made, here are a few things you will need to do prior to the procedure.
Work with Your Dentist in the Months Before Your Procedure
The actual process of prepping for your dental-implant surgery begins several months before you set foot into the procedure room. In addition to your regular dentist, you may have to meet with several other professionals to ensure you are a good candidate for the procedure. For example, you may need to schedule an appointment with a periodontist, a professional who deals with the bones and tissues that supports the teeth, and a maxillofacial surgeon, who will ensure your mouth and jaw can support the implants
Your dentist and several other healthcare providers will work together to ensure your implant surgery is successful. There are some extenuating circumstances that can make your dental-implant surgery trickier. For example, if you suffer from periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend you treat this underlying condition prior to the surgery. Treatment could include eliminating tartar, making a habit of proper oral hygiene, and repairing the bones and gums that support your teeth.
Additionally, if the bones that support your teeth are decayed, a periodontist may need to perform a bone graft or augmentation. This procedure involves slowly rebuilding the bone, and it could delay your dental-implant surgery for several months.
In addition to treating any underlying infections or removing any decayed or broken teeth, your dentist will also need to take several x-rays of your mouth and create a model of your mouth and teeth.
Preparing for Your Dental-Implant Surgery
You've been given the green light to undergo your dental-implant surgery, and now it's time to prep for the procedure. Your dentist will provide you with antibiotics and will instruct you to take them for a few days before the procedure. This will help prevent any post-surgical infections.
If you are being placed under sedation, your dentist will recommend not eating prior to the procedure. According to Emory Healthcare, the dentist will typically tell you to stop eating anywhere from eight to twelve hours before you are placed under anesthesia. Consuming any food prior to the procedure can lead to nausea and vomiting after you wake up from sedation.
In some cases, you will not need to be placed under sedation. If this is the case, your dentist may instruct you to eat and drink as you normally would.
Finally, it is important that you find a friend or family member to drive you home after the procedure. The majority of patients are able to go home within a few hours of their surgery. If you are placed under sedation, it is vital that you have someone available to not only drive you home but also monitor you for a few hours after the surgery.
Even if you aren't going under anesthesia, you will still want someone there to help you get home. Remember, even though any post-surgical discomfort will be minimal, you will still be provided with pain relievers that can impair your ability to drive.
Undergoing dental-implant surgery can help you achieve the beautiful smile you've always wanted. If you're considering this procedure, don't hesitate to contact a dentist such as John P Poovey DMD PC with any questions you might have.