When you’re considering dental implants, understanding the procedure can alleviate any concerns and help you feel more prepared. Dental implant procedures involve multiple stages and take place over several months to ensure proper healing and integration of the implant into your jawbone. This article will guide you through the process, detailing what you can expect during each phase.
The first step is an initial consultation where your dentist will conduct a thorough oral examination, take dental X-rays, and potentially 3D images of your jaw. They will discuss your medical history, lifestyle factors (like smoking or alcohol use), and any medications you are taking. This consultation is crucial to determine if you’re a good candidate for dental implants and to plan the procedure.
Your dentist will develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. This plan will consider factors like the number of teeth you need to replace and the condition of your jawbone. It may also involve other dental professionals like an oral surgeon or a periodontist.
If the tooth to be replaced is still present, it will need to be extracted. In some cases, the dentist may perform a same-day implant placement. Still, typically, you’ll need to wait for the extraction site to heal before the implant is placed, which takes a few weeks to a few months.
If your jawbone isn’t thick enough or is too soft, you may need bone grafting before you can have dental implant surgery. This process involves adding bone (either from your body or a donor) to your jawbone. It takes several months for the graft to create enough new, strong bone to support the implant.
During this surgical procedure, your dentist will place the dental implant post into your jawbone. The post, made of titanium, acts as the tooth root. After this surgery, you’ll have a period of healing that can last several months as osseointegration occurs – the process where the jawbone grows around the implant, securing it in place.
Once osseointegration is complete, the abutment, a small connector post, is attached to the implant post. Sometimes, this is done during the implant placement. The gum tissue is allowed to heal for about two weeks before the next step.
Artificial Tooth Placement
Finally, after your gums heal, you’ll have impressions of your mouth and remaining teeth made to create the crown – the visible part of the artificial tooth. Once the crown is ready, it’s attached to the abutment.
While the dental implant procedure may seem complex and time-consuming, it is important to remember that it is a permanent solution to tooth loss. You will have a replacement tooth that looks, feels, and functions just like a natural tooth. With good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups, your implant can last a lifetime. It’s always recommended to discuss with your dental professional about the procedure and any concerns you may have. This will help ensure a smooth process and a successful outcome.