Dental implants are favorable for their ability to grow into the jawbone and blend in with the existing teeth. Though generally, the overall procedure of placing a dental implant is similar across cases, several factors can affect how long the process and recovery will take, such as bone integrity, number of implants needed, and your overall oral health.
Step #1: Consultation
The first appointment will be a consultation with your dentist to determine if an implant is the best procedure for your current dental needs. When your dentist approves you for the treatment, a digital impression will be made of the damaged tooth or missing tooth area. This model will be used create a surgical plan, surgical guide and begin to design the replacement crown.
Step #2: The Extraction
In the case of damaged or decayed teeth, the tooth or teeth will need extraction before implant placement. Your provider will offer a local anesthesia before this procedure, as removing permanent teeth can likely cause some trauma to the mouth. Precision is critical when removing teeth as to not damage the bone, gums, or the surrounding roots of healthy teeth. Improper extractions can lead to excess bone damage, possibly requiring additional grafting procedures in the future.
After the extraction is completed, your dental provider will most likely perform a bone graft to protect the open socket and help the area properly heal. Maintaining the shape of the space and health of the surrounding gums is critical in facilitating proper implant placement in the future.
Step #3: The Implant Placement
When your dentist has determined you are ready for the placement of the implant, you will schedule an appointment for the surgery. The time passing between the tooth extraction and the installation will depend on a few variables: the number of teeth extracted if the bone graft was successful and if the socket is free of infection. Oftentimes, a special xray called a CBCT will be made that evaluates the bone in 3D and call allow the doctor to design the surgery and create a surgical guide to make implant placement quickly and accurately.
Beginning with offering local anesthesia, your provider will prepare the socket for the implant by making an incision in the gums directly above the implant site. A small hole, or osteotomy, will be drilled into the bone, flushing the area as needed with water to prevent contamination. The implant will then be inserted using an alignment tool to establish the correct placement. When the implant is approved, the site is stitched closed. Your provider will use either self-absorbing or traditional stitches depending on the procedure.
Step #4: The Replacement
After a few months, your dentist will schedule a visit to check the implant site and finalize the replacement tooth for your procedure. Using the impression made in Step #1, or best matching the surrounding teeth, the replacement crown will be created in the shape, size, and tint to compliment your smile. Your provider will attach the crown by opening the gums up where the implant was placed and screwing in the replacement tooth firmly. If there is no unusual discomfort with the implant, the patient is free to leave with a beautiful new smile they can be happy to show off!
Step #5: Healing and Aftercare
Your implant will take some time to adjust and heal after placement. A temporary restrictive diet is recommended comprised of soft and room temperature foods/drinks. It’s also advised to keep the site clean whenever possible, attend regular 6-month dental checkups, and always follow a good oral hygiene routine at least twice a day. If you are feeling any discomfort that over the counter medications are not relieving, contacting your dentist for an exam is a good idea to make sure the implant has not become infected.
The process of a dental implant differs for everyone. But for every patient who has had a successful procedure, the resulting feeling is the same- excitement, for their new, natural looking smile!
Dr. Christoper Baer prides himself of honest, relationship driven dentistry. Consider a consultation with Baer Dental Designs today and see if dental implants are right for you.
Want to read more about implants and how they work? Read more here.