Dental Implant Procedure: A Step by Step Guide
The decision to get dental implants is one that requires careful consideration. Not only are dental implants a financial investment, they also require an investment in time. There are some dental implant solutions that can be completed in a single day (known as same-day dental implants or immediate-load dental implants), but a traditional dental implant restoration can take months to complete. The process is worth it, though, because dental implants are a replacement for missing teeth that can last a lifetime.
Below, we describe the steps involved in getting traditional dental implants.
The dental implant process begins with a consultation with one of our doctors. They will examine your teeth and gums, review your dental and medical histories, and discuss your treatment goals. Should you decide to move ahead with dental implant placement, we will go over your options and finalize a treatment plan.
When you come in for your consultation, we will also determine if you need any supplemental procedures prior to dental implant placement. You may need to have one or more teeth extracted, or if you’ve been missing teeth for some time, a bone grafting or sinus lift procedure may be needed to address bone loss in the jaw. Although these procedures may lengthen the process of getting dental implants, it’s important to have the bone mass needed to support your implants; without it, you are more likely to experience dental implant failure.
Dental Implant Placement
Once you’ve healed from any supplemental procedures, you are ready for your implant surgery. We use local anesthetic to keep you comfortable and, if needed, we can offer sedation to help you relax. Your dental implants are placed into your jawbone through a small incision in your gums, then your doctor will use sutures to close the incision.
The most important part of the process happens next: osseointegration. This is the term used to describe how your dental implants and jawbone fuse together to create a stable base of support for your prosthetic teeth. Osseointegration typically takes around 3 months.
Once we are sure that osseointegration has occurred, your abutments are attached to the implants. The abutments are small pieces that connect your dental implants to your restorations. Next, impressions are taken, which allows us to create a dental crown, bridge, or denture that interacts properly with your other teeth. We can provide you with a temporary restoration to close the gap in your smile while your permanent restoration is being fabricated.
Finally, your completed restoration is attached to the abutments and the process is complete. Your restoration will look, function, and feel just like your natural teeth.