When a dentist recommends a dental implant procedure, patients often wonder what the procedure involves and how long the process is. Implants can be an option for people who have lost one or many teeth and are looking for a replacement option other than removable dentures. The goal of the procedure is to leave the…
What to Expect at a Dental Implant Procedure
Improve your smile by replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant. You might want an implant for several reasons. These can include restoring functionality to your bite as well as improving the aesthetics of your smile. Learn more about the procedure to place the implant.
Dental implants, surgical placement and crown attachments
A dental implant is a titanium post. Because of titanium’s bonding properties, the implant heals to the jawbone after placement. Surgery will place this post beneath the gums and straight into the jawbone. Patients should know what to expect before surgery.
Who can get an implant?
An implant will replace a person’s missing tooth. One or more implants can be placed during the procedure. Ideally, a person with healthy gums and a healthy jawbone that is finished growing makes a good candidate. Sometimes a person may have lost some of the bone density in their jaw. In this case, oral surgeons may recommend a grafting procedure to start rebuilding the lost bone. Once in place, a dental implant can actually help stop any further bone loss from occurring.
Preparing for the surgery
To prepare for the surgery, a dentist will begin with a full dental exam. This involves taking dental X-rays and 3D images. Dentists may also create models of the teeth and jaw.
Dentists will want the patient’s detailed medical history. Patients should provide a list of all medications, including over-the-counter medications. Dentists need to be aware of all medical conditions as well. Depending on the patient, dentists may prescribe antibiotics beforehand to prevent infections.
The oral surgeon will first numb the patient’s mouth. The gums will have incisions made in them to expose the bone beneath. Then the surgeon will drill into the gum to create space for the implant placement. Once done, the implant is screwed into place in the jawbone. Stitches are sometimes placed to hold the gums closed.
The second appointment
Eventually, the titanium post will attach to the bone. This can take three to six months after the surgery. Once the patient is ready, the surgeon will have to expose the implant. Sometimes during the initial surgery, a component is added to the dental implant. Once the surgeon can see the implant or component, a small extension will be put over it. This is to design an impression for the dental lab. The impression is used when designing the crown.
The crown placement
A technician at the dental lab will finish designing the crown for the dental implant. Sometimes, the dentist may test it before it is ready. This is to make sure it fits properly and is the right shape and size. The color of the crown is determined by the shade of the rest of a patient’s natural teeth. Once the restoration is finished, it will be placed on the dental implant.
Restoring lost teeth with dental implants
Now that you know what to expect during a dental implant procedure, you can make an informed decision. Getting a dental implant can restore your missing teeth and make your smile complete once more.
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