Are you expecting dental implant surgery and are unsure what will occur? It’s common to be nervous. Here’s what to expect with the implantation procedure.
Did you know 3 million people in the U.S. have dental implants? And that number is growing each year.
While dental implants are not rare, it’s understandable to be nervous about the implantation procedure. Dental phobia can be serious, especially when it concerns a complex procedure. Knowing what to expect ahead of time can help ease your anxiety.
Read on for more about what to expect with a dental implant procedure. We’ll cover what will happen during the implantation, the minor procedures that will follow, and the recovery process. With this helpful insight, you can feel calm, confident, and ready for your new dental implant.
Understanding and Preparing for Your Dental Implant Procedure
Dental implant surgery is a more permanent solution to dentures and bridges. A dental implant refers to a metal, artificial tooth root placed in the jaw bone. Attached to this is an abutment, and secured to the abutment is the crown or artificial tooth.
The procedure for getting an implant involves a multi-step process. Your oral surgeon can complete some of these steps at the same time, but you will need time to heal between other steps. A team of dental specialists will work together to customize your implant process.
Before the implant procedure, you will have x-rays taken and have a replica of your teeth and gums created. The x-rays will help your dentist learn more about your current bone and gum condition. If necessary, your dentist will perform a tooth extraction around this time.
It’s important to know that you won’t receive your new tooth right away. You’ll need to heal between some stages in the process. Your dental specialist or oral surgeon can give you a temporary crown to wear until the process is complete.
What Happens if Your Need a Bone Graft
A bone graft is necessary when the jawbone isn’t thick or strong enough to support the implant. During a bone graft, an oral surgeon transplants bone into the jawbone. Your surgeon will either use artificial bone or bone removed from another part of your body.
Depending on the extent of your dental bone graft, you may need several months to heal before the next step. If you only need minor bone grafting, the graft can be completed at the same time as your implant surgery.
What to Expect During the Implantation Procedure
The implantation procedure is the most invasive step in the dental implant process. This is when the oral surgeon places the metal that will serve as the tooth root into the jawbone. Though this is invasive, you shouldn’t feel any pain during the procedure.
Your oral surgeon will make a cut in your gum to expose the bone so he or she can drill a hole for the implant. There are many options to help reduce pain during this process. Your surgeon will ensure this process is as comfortable as possible for you.
After this step, your jawbone will grow into and unite with the dental implant. This process – called osseointegration – can take several months. It’s important for your artificial tooth to have a solid base as your natural teeth do.
While you wait for your jawbone to heal, you will have a gap where your tooth is missing. You will likely use a partial, temporary denture during this time. Once you have a strong base for your new artificial tooth, the process can continue.
How Your Surgeon Will Prepare and Attach Your New Crown
You will have another minor surgical procedure following the implant procedure. Your oral surgeon will need to place the abutment, which is the piece where your new crown will attach. This procedure is less invasive and less painful than the implantation.
To place the abutment, your surgeon will reopen your gum to expose the dental implant. He or she will attach the abutment and then closed your gum tissue around it. It will take about two weeks for your gums to heal after this procedure.
Once your gums heal, you’ll need to have new impressions taken of your mouth and teeth. These are the impressions that will be used to make your crown or your new artificial tooth.
Your dental specialist may suggest a fixed or removable crown or a combination of the two. A removable crown snaps into place and you can remove it for cleaning and repair. A fixed crown attaches to the abutment with a screw or cement and is not removable.
Dental Implant Recovery
You may have to heal between steps in your dental implant surgical process. You can expect the typical discomforts associated with dental surgery. This includes swelling of your gums and face, bruising of your skin and gums, pain at the implant site, and minor bleeding.
Your oral surgeon will prescribe antibiotics to reduce the chance of infection. If pain persists or is especially intense, you may receive pain medication as well. You can minimize pain, swelling, and bleeding by resting, using ice packs, and eating only soft foods.
How to Care for Your New Dental Implant and Crown
It’s important that you care for your oral and general health to protect your dental implant. For example, smoking can contribute to implant failure or complications. Grinding your teeth can also cause issues, so seek treatment if needed.
Continue to practice excellent oral hygiene. Floss and brush every day, and be sure to keep your artificial tooth and the surrounding gum area clean. You can use a special brush that slides between the teeth for extra care.
Remember to see your dentist for regular checkups. Try and avoid hard items like ice and hard candy. You may also want to avoid tobacco, coffee, and other things that can stain your teeth.
Ensure a Healthy, Beautiful Smile with the Best Dental Care
It’s important to find a reputable and experienced dentist to perform your implantation procedure. Learn more about Dr. Mino Mantis and his extensive experience here.