How Can I Prepare for Getting Dental Implants?

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It is not ideal when you lose a permanent tooth, especially as the result of an accident or injury. Sometimes, tooth loss even occurs due to poor dental hygiene or as part of the natural aging process. Some people are born with a missing tooth or have significant gaps between their teeth. When one or more teeth are absent, a person's oral and overall health can be severely compromised. The condition can make chewing more difficult, which could result in malnutrition. One also may feel less confident about their appearance when teeth are missing.

The good news is that cosmetic dentistry has options to replace missing teeth. Dental implants are one of the best services available to help patients restore functionality to their teeth, along with the appearance of their smile. 32nd Street Dental in Joplin, MO can give you much-needed relief from tooth loss. Expert cosmetic dentists Dr. Brett Cotham and Dr. James Lewis can help to ensure complete oral health and a positive self-image. Read below to understand more about dental implants so you can prepare for your procedure and have ease of mind.

Dental implants explained

The small implant posts are often made of the same titanium alloy material that is also used knee, shoulder, and hip implants. The height and size of these posts vary. The most commonly used style of implant is called endosteal implants. These are shaped similar to a small screw and are placed into the jawbone. For patients who previously have had removable dentures or bridges, endosteal implants may be a suitable alternative.

Dental implants act as an artificial tooth replacement for both the root and crown of a missing tooth. Patients today have additional options to choose from for their oral health aside from traditional tooth replacements, such as conventional bridges and dentures. Dental implants, offered by Dr. Cotham and Dr. Lewis at 32nd Street Dental in Joplin, MO, includes the surgical placement of implant posts along with the creation of natural-looking replacement teeth so men and women can enjoy all the benefits of restored oral health.

The many benefits of dental implants

It is essential to understand that dental implants are fixed in place and cannot be removed from the mouth and function in the same manner as natural teeth. Once secured in the gums and jaw, implants do not slip or move around. This permanence allows patients to speak and smile confidently, as well as enjoy foods without the restrictions that may be experienced by denture wearers. They are a terrific choice for many men and women as they can assist in chewing correctly and more effectively, as well as enhance the quality of their smile.

Understand the procedure

In most cases, to numb the area of the mouth where the surgery will be performed, a local anesthetic is administered. Other sedation methods may be employed to help keep patients comfortable. The team at 32nd Street Dental utilizes cone beam computed tomography along with guided surgery to ensure the implant is placed in the correct place for optimal results. Next, the titanium implant post will be placed into the jawbone. Once the implant post is in place, the implant will be left to heal for several months as the implant bonds with gums and jawbone. In the meantime, the implant will be temporarily covered with a healing abutment. Once healed, your custom-crafted prosthetic crown, bridge, denture, or hybrid will be permanently affixed to the post and adjusted to ensure a proper fit and function.

Ways you can prepare for your dental implants

Before your dental implants, there are a few things you can do before surgery day to help your recovery go smoothly:

  • Follow your dentist’s care guide – During your consultation with Dr. Cotham or Dr. Lewis, be honest and upfront about any medications or supplements that you take regularly. Blood thinners such as aspirin, omega-3 fish oils, and vitamins will be reviewed, and possibly halted until after your procedure. As always, the best medicine is following your dentist’s orders.
  • Meal prep – You will sigh with relief when you open your refrigerator following your dental implant surgery and find foods like soft pasta, smoothies, and soups. It is normal for your gums to be tender for the first few days, which can make chewing harder foods difficult. Another good idea is to stock up on pre-made shakes like Ensure that can provide needed protein when food choices may be somewhat limited. 32nd Street Dental in Joplin, MO will provide guidelines on food and beverage to avoid for a limited time until you are healed.
  • Dial back your social calendar – It is wise to adjust your schedule for about a week following your dental implants. In general, the first few days should be all about rest and self-care. This is not a hard and fast rule as everyone heals at a different rate; however, it is better to be prudent and not plan anything too close after your surgery.
  • Prepare to be comfortable – Loose-fitting clothing such as sweats can make you feel more comfortable. Also, prepare a place to rest that includes a full lineup of reading materials and television shows to make your recovery time easier to pass.

Ready for dental implants?

When teeth are missing, the proper form and function of the mouth can be impacted. Dental implants are a safe and effective way to replace one or more teeth so that you can eat, speak, and smile confidently once again. Contact Dr. Brett Cotham or Dr. James Lewis at 32nd Street Dental in Joplin, MO to learn whether dental implants can help you look and feel your best.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.