patient holding a model of a dental implant

An Overview of the Dental Implant Process

TeamDental Implants

Are you getting or considering getting a dental implant? Dental implants are currently the top tier technology for replacing teeth. If you have a tooth that is missing, severely decayed, or damaged beyond repair, a dental implant can easily replace it. 

If you’re wondering about the dental implant process and what it entails, here’s an overview to give you a general idea.

Step 1: Consultation

The first step in any dental procedure is the consultation. Sometimes the consultation takes place as part of a routine cleaning and examination where your dentist notices a tooth that needs to be replaced. Sometimes the consultation occurs after an emergency appointment due to a cracked or broken tooth. However it happens, this is what it usually entails.

X-Rays are taken of the tooth and jaw to evaluate the condition of the tooth and the bone type and volume. If the tooth is already missing, the main focus will be on the jaw bone to determine whether or not the existing bone is strong enough to support a dental implant. If the jaw bone is insufficient, a bone graft procedure may need to be performed first. If the tooth is still in place, it is more likely that an implant can be placed at time of extraction. Occasionally, it may be need to be a two step process with extraction first and then implant 3-4 months later. 

Step 2: Preparatory Procedures

If the tooth is still in place but cannot be saved, the next step will be to have it extracted and most of the time have an implant and bone graft performed at the same visit. . This procedure can be performed with the patient being awake or asleep, depending on medical history as well as patient preference-especially if they are anxious about having work done while awake. 

If the tooth has already been missing for a while, there’s a chance the jaw bone has weakened in that area. Without a tooth in place the bone will start to dissolve and may not be able to support an implant. In this case a bone graft procedure will need to be done first. This involves surgically placing a piece of bone over the top of the existing jaw bone under the gums in the area where the implant will be placed. The bone graft strengthens, thickens, and even regenerates the growth of the existing bone. This may be done months before the implant is placed to allow plenty of time for the bone graft to bond with  the existing bone. 

Step 3: Placing the Implant

Once the preparatory procedures are complete and the bone is ready, the implant will be placed. A dental implant consists of a titanium post with ridges like a screw that is surgically placed in the jaw bone. Titanium is a biocompatible metal that bonds with the bone to form a solid hold. In most cases the gum tissue is closed over the top and given a few weeks to heal before the next step. 

Step 4: Attaching the Abutment

After the implant root has formed a solid bond with the jaw bone, the abutment can be attached. This is the part that protrudes up above the gum line that the crown will be attached to. During this procedure the gum tissue is reopened and the abutment is attached. It is usually recommended to allow a few weeks for the gum tissue to heal again before the crown is placed.

Step 5: Placing the Crown

The crown is the artificial tooth portion of the implant. The crown is created to match your existing teeth as closely as possible in color, size, and shape. As long as the crown fits properly, it will be permanently cemented onto the abutment. This is the final step in the dental implant process.

Can You Get a Dental Implant in One Day?

In some cases it is possible to have a dental implant placed in as little as one appointment. Advancements in technology have made it possible for some patients. However, if you require a bone graft procedure in preparation, that procedure will still need to be performed a few months before your dental implant placement. 

If you are interested in same day implants, let your dentist know and they can determine if you are a candidate for this option.

Dental Implants at Total Dental Care

Total Dental Care provides a wide range of dental implant procedures from single tooth replacement to All-On-4/6 teeth in a day. In many cases we can place same day implants to save you time. 

Call 240-813-9111 today to schedule a consultation or request an appointment. We look forward to helping you restore your smile with dental implants.