What to Expect for Your Dental Implant Procedure

dental implant procedure

In the US, about three million people live with dental implants, and every year, another 500,000 get them. Dental implants seem scary even to the most fearless of souls. However, getting implants is something you have to do if you have severely damaged or broken teeth. 

The dental implant procedure involves drilling metal screws inside your jawbone to replace the missing or damaged teeth. These screws act like artificial teeth and are an excellent alternative to getting bridges, crowns, or dentures. Dental implant surgery could be a lengthy and expensive procedure, depending on the density of your jawbone. 

If you’re set for a dental implant, it’s a good idea to know what you should expect from the procedure before facing the dentist. In today’s post, we’ll be looking at everything you should expect your dental implant surgery to look like. 

1. The Initial Evaluation 

The first step of any dental implant surgery is the initial evaluation. This is where your dentist does a comprehensive examination of your oral cavity to determine the best procedure for your particular condition. You can expect the following from the initial evaluation: 

• X rays of your oral cavity 
• Color matching to find an implant that matches your teeth’s color 
• Taking bite impressions 

You can then decide how many dental implants you want, but you don’t have the final word. Only after a thorough examination by a dental specialist can you know the number of dental implants you can have. 

The dentist will also ask you about any medical conditions or medications worth noting. It’s normal for the dentist to prescribe you antibiotics to take before the actual dental implant surgical procedure. 

2. Tooth Extraction 

If you’ve ever had a tooth extraction before, then you know for sure that it’s nothing to smile about, literally. However, tooth extraction is only necessary if the dentist has to remove the tooth before drilling the implant. If you have no tooth at the implant site, then no tooth extraction is needed. 

Because tooth extraction is a painful process, your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the pain. Unless you have a fractured tooth, the dentist should be done in a jiffy. You’ll feel a slight tug, and voila! the tooth is gone 

The dentist will prescribe a few pain medications for controlling the pain after the procedure. You’ll also have to avoid doing stuff like smoking, sucking from a straw, or spitting until the extraction wound heals. 

3. Drilling The Implant And Grafting 

A few weeks after the tooth extraction will now come time for the actual dental implant process. However, before we get to that, let’s look at the types of dental implants. 

We typically have two types of dental implants, and they are: 

1. Endosteal Implants - Endosteal implants sit snug inside the jawbone. These implants look like small screws and are the most prevalent implant types. 

2. Subperiosteal Implants - Unlike endosteal implants, subperiosteal implants sit under the gum and sometimes above the jawbone. 

For some individuals, grafting is necessary to strengthen their jawbone. Remember, you need a strong jawbone so that it can keep the implant safe. If your jawbone isn’t strong enough, the dentist will graft some bone from another jaw area. 

If your jaw needs grafting, you’ll have to wait a while before the dentist can insert the implants. The jawbone needs to heal first before the procedure can proceed. 

For the dental implant, the dentist first cuts open your gum to expose the bone. The dentist will then drill a hole or holes into your jawbone and then insert the screws inside the holes. This also marks the beginning of the osseointegration process. 

Osseointegration is where the jawbone grows into the dental implant, and they become one. It may look like the surgery is complete, but not yet. You still have to go for abutment placement. 

4. Abutment Placement 

Once everything looks fine, the dentist will proceed to place an abutment on top of the implant. The abutment is what will connect the crown to the implant. The dentist will tighten the abutment, so it remains in place when you eat. 

Next, you will discuss with the dentist how you will mask the abutment that may sometimes peer over the gumline. Finally, the dentist will place a healing cap that prevents the gum tissue and bone from growing over the abutment. If your dentist doesn’t place the healing cap properly, you may expect future complications with your dental implants. 

5. The Permanent Crown 

The final step of the dental implant surgery is adding the permanent crown. The crown is the artificial tooth that will cap off your dental implant. You can opt for a permanent crown or a removable one depending on your preference. 

How Long Does a Dental Implant Procedure Take? 

You’re probably wondering how long the entire procedure takes, but there’s no one-off period for dental implant surgery. How long your dental implant surgery will take varies from case to case. 

Some factors that determine the length of your dental implant procedure include: 

• The teeth that are to be implanted 
• The number of implants you need 
• Whether you need bone grafting 
• Your general oral health 
• The skill of the dentist in question 

The overall procedure right from the dental evaluation takes between three to nine months. However, the actual dental implant surgery takes between one to three hours. 

What Should You Expect After the Dental Implant? 

Post-surgery, you first have to heal for a few weeks. Once you heal, here are a few things you should expect: 

• Mild pain 
• A little swelling 
• Bruising and bleeding 

These are only minor complications and shouldn’t be any cause of alarm. They should go away in a month or so after your dental implant procedure. 

Choose Dental Implants for a Great Smile 

Now that you know what to expect from a dental implant procedure, we hope you’re well-prepared for it. Remember, you can settle for either permanent or removable implants for your dental needs. You'll fill the teeth gaps and restore your smile using a safe method. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg for the dental implant procedure. Browse our site for more informative pieces like this on dental implants, restorative dentistry, and top dentist tips for oral care.

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