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Before Dental Implant Surgery

What to Consider before Dental Implant Surgery

Facing any type of dental surgery can be daunting; however, for those who are familiar with the procedure and take the time to prepare, the experience and outcome can be much improved. For patients who decided to have dental implant surgery, several important preparations should be considered prior to the surgical procedure. The dentist or other surgeon performing the procedure will have individualized instructions, but these are also a few good points to consider as well.

Bone Loss and Smoking

For long-term smokers and others at risk for bone loss, dental surgery can be more complex. In the case of implants, the bone may require replacement through grafting prior to dental implants being installed. This requires additional surgery and longer recovery time, in addition to more discomfort; however, bone loss should not bar any patient from potentially getting implants. The time between bone augmentation and implant surgery varies, but typically the time required ranges from four to eight months, except for extremely small grafts.

Smoking cessation is highly recommended prior to beginning the process. Smoking is linked to bone loss and to other diseases of the oral cavity that can make a patient a poor candidate for implants and increase the likelihood of failure. Other issues can lead to bone loss as well, including periodontal disease, aging, poor nutrition, and hormonal imbalances.

Medical Conditions and Medication

A more immediate issue to consider when getting dental implants is whether any medical condition or medication might have an effect on the surgery or outcome. Patients should always provide their dentist with a complete medical history to avoid any unforeseen and adverse consequences. For example, patients who have certain heart conditions may require antibiotics prior to surgery to prevent infection. In some cases, dentists may advise reducing the dosage of blood-thinners to prevent excessive bleeding during surgery. This should be done in consultation with the patient's family doctor or cardiologist as applicable.

Cost of Dental Implants

Many people considering implants struggle with the dental implants cost, whether bone grafting is required or not. Most insurance policies do not cover implants or provide a maximum benefit far lower than the cost of the installation. Patients should review their coverage information early in the process, preferably at their initial consultation. For those who fund a Health Savings Accounts (HSA), these programs consider dental implants an eligible expense. Other options exist, including possible financing through the dental office or other forms of credit. Because dental implants can cost as much as a luxury car, patients should plan ahead in order to manage the expense.

Getting dental implants is an involved process that may require several surgical procedures and long months of healing time; however, no one can argue with the quality and comfort of the results. For most people suffering from tooth loss, getting implants improves quality of life and self-esteem. It is important for a patient to take a variety of factors into consideration, including bone loss, health issues, and expense when they elect to get dental implants.

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