The first step in the process of getting one or more dental implants is the initial consultation with Dr. Fotek in his Palm Beach Gardens office. Generally speaking, all patients are potential candidates for dental implants. We hear very often that a dentist told his patient at some time that they are not a good candidate for dental implants. This is quite often not true. You may not be a candidate for a simple implant procedure, but with careful examination looking into your overall oral health, amount of bone and soft tissue support, smile line (how much teeth show when you smile), occlusal (bite) clearance, amount of space between teeth, and of course your medical history and medications you are on will determine the necessary steps needed to get you smiling again.
The Implant Surgery
A question most often asked is “how much does this hurt because my neighbor told me it is very painful?”. This is often not the case. For most patients, implant surgery is very simple and less traumatic than a tooth removal. The procedure begins with anesthetic (numbing) to eliminate any discomfort followed by implant site preparation. Once the site for the implant is prepared, the implant is screwed into and secured in your bone. A bone graft may also be needed but most often this is not the case. The surgery is usually finished with two small stitches that self resorb within a few days. If this is too much to bear however, we are able to help put your fears at ease with sedation before the surgery and during the actual procedure.
Home care and recovery period
Home care following an implant is simple, yet very essential for implant success. The first few days, you may feel some discomfort but we have patients tell us quite often that they only had to take a couple of ibuprofens and that was it. However, keeping the area clean is crucial as well as refraining from smoking as long as possible. We like to tell our patients they should be able to play golf the next day. Strenuous physical activity should be avoided for a few days.
Healing (how long is the healing?)
The implant will need to heal undisturbed within your bone for about 2-4 months during which a process known as osseointegration takes place. Osseointegration is when the implant surface and the bone fuse together to form a “weld-like” connection. Once this is finished and the implant is stable, you are ready for the last phase of transforming the implant screw into a stable restoration with your dentist. At this point, it is a matter of taking impressions and some “hardware change”.