Making decisions about your dental health can be overwhelming at times, and when it comes to undergoing a dental implant procedure, the more you know, the better your experience will be.
Dental implants are a successful and highly effective way to replace your missing or damaged teeth and can be a long-lasting solution. While the procedure itself takes time and requires more than one appointment, in the end, you’ll be confident in the results, acknowledging it was time well spent.
Whether you’ve already scheduled a dental implant procedure, or are only at the consideration stage, here is what you need to know.
What Exactly is a Dental Implant Procedure?
A dental implant procedure is a surgical process in which a tooth’s natural roots are replaced with metallic, screw-type posts that then attach to an artificial tooth.
In many instances, patients often lack enough natural tooth root to accommodate dentures or other types of bridgework, and therefore a dental implant is a good solution to repair or replace a damaged or missing tooth. Whether this describes you or you choose a dental implant procedure for another reason, knowing how long this procedure will take and what is involved will help you prepare.
How Long Will a Dental Implant Procedure Take?
A dental implant procedure requires a step-by-step approach to ensure best results, both for your appearance and teeth functionality. While it is an outpatient surgery procedure, it has to be performed in various stages, with time to heal between each stage.
You may also be working with two different offices – one for the surgical component and the other for implant restoration or crown. Keeping this in mind, the approach will include the following steps and may take several months before completion.
Before a dental implant procedure begins, you will first need to meet with your dentist to go over the current state of your oral health. This exam may involve 3D scans or x-rays to ensure your jawbone and gums are healthy and can support the implant.
Your dentist will also go over your medical and dental history to ensure that everything is accurate, and there are no recent changes. It’s important to mention any new supplements or prescriptions you are taking, as well as any new conditions you are experiencing.
Once your dentist completes the comprehensive exam, the next step is to create a treatment plan and schedule your dental implant surgery. Patients often replace more than one tooth with implants, and this can factor into the time involved for the procedure.
Dental Implant Surgery
The actual surgical procedure comes next. Your surgeon will insert a titanium implant or screw into your jaw bone, directly below your gums.
An implant takes between one and two hours to securely put into place. If you are undergoing more than one implant, you’ll need to consider the additional time necessary to accomplish this.
Your gums and jaw bone need ample time to heal following surgery. The implants also need to adequately integrate into your jaw bone to provide the strength needed to support restoration with a crown. This healing and integration can usually take up to three months.
Following the surgery itself, you may experience common bruising, swelling, or pain. The amount of such discomfort will depend on the amount of work required to place the implant. If your dentist first must remove a damaged tooth, this can add to the discomfort and healing time. In some circumstances, your dentist will prescribe antibiotics or other medications following the procedure to ensure proper healing.
Dental Implant Restoration or Crown
Once your implant and the surrounding bone and gums heal, it’s time for the crown fitting. This fitting begins with the abutment, a pliable cushion-like substance that sits between the permanent crown and the implant itself. Once this is in place, your dentist fits you for a crown. You may need to wear a temporary one at first until a customized crown matching your natural bite can be manufactured. The crown will also match as closely as possible to the color of your surrounding teeth.
While dental implants require more time to complete, they are worth it in the end, providing you with a tooth that blends in and maintains its functionality.
How to Care for Dental Implants
Once your implant, jaw, and gums heal completely, you can maintain the area, along with your natural teeth, by following practical dental hygiene. This practice includes the following.
- Keep your teeth and gums clean by gently brushing twice per day with soft-bristled toothbrushes.
- Floss once a day, or you may want to use specialty brushes designed to slide between the teeth and address the hard-to-reach areas between and around teeth. Bi-annual dental cleanings will help with this also.
- Be sure to schedule regular appointments with your dentist to ensure your implants continue to function properly.
Another way you can care for your dental implants is to avoid biting down on such objects as ice, nuts, or hard candy.
Your dentist can provide further advice on caring for your implants as well.
Contact Bateson Dentistry to Find Out More About Dental Implants
When it comes to your smile and a healthy mouth, the team at Bateson Dentistry knows just how to help. If you’re considering a dental implant or looking for options for replacing missing or damaged teeth, we can discuss the next steps and point you in the right direction.
Following your dental implant surgery, we can perform the restoration or crown placement and ensure your natural bite is maintained and the crown blends in with your surrounding teeth and enhances your smile. Contact Dr. Bateson and her team today to get started on your dental implant procedure.