Dental implants are quickly becoming the most common tooth replacement option. There are a few reasons for this, including awareness of the many benefits and an increase in insurance coverage for dental implants.
If you have an upcoming appointment to get dental implants, you may be wondering what to expect. Refer to this patient’s guide to the dental implant procedure to help you feel more prepared.
Step 1: Consultation and Evaluation
The first step in any dental procedure is always a consultation. It is important that you understand the procedure and have the opportunity to ask questions before making a decision. An evaluation should also accompany the consultation to determine whether or not the procedure being considered would be in your best interest. Not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants upon first evaluation, but there may be options to get you to that point.
Step 2: Preparatory Procedures
To be a candidate for dental implants you must have sufficient bone structure in your jaw to support an implant. Bone loss is common after a tooth has been missing for a period of time, but there are solutions, such as bone grafting and sinus lift procedures. These procedures involve adding bone material in the area where the implant will be placed to thicken the jaw and encourage regeneration of the lost bone tissue. These procedures will need to be done a few months in advance of your implant placement appointment.
Step 3: Placing the Implants
The placement of dental implants is a surgical procedure. A dental implant is a titanium post with threads like a screw that is placed in the jaw. The implant fuses with the bone through a process called osseointegration. It can take a few months, but once the implant fuses with the bone the bond can last for the rest of your life. Ideally, the process of osseointegration should be given plenty of time to solidify before the abutment and prosthetic can be attached.
Step 4: Attaching the Abutment
Once the implant has successfully fused with the jaw bone, the abutment can be attached. This is the post that extends from the implant through the gums to support the prosthetic. After the abutment surgery, the gum tissue will need time to heal before the prosthetic can be attached.
Step 5: Attaching the Prosthetic
The final step in a dental implant restoration is the placement of the prosthetic. For a single tooth replacement the prosthetic will be a porcelain crown in most cases. Multiple dental implants can support a bridge or a full arch denture.
How Long Does the Process Take?
The entire process of getting one or more dental implants can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more. It depends on a variety of factors, including the condition of your jaw in the area of the restoration. If you need bone grafting before dental implants, that can add a few months to the overall process.
Ready to Get Started? Schedule Your Appointment Today
If you’re ready to get started with your own dental implant restoration, R. Renan Williams, DDS can perform a brief evaluation to determine if this is the best treatment option for you.