What to Expect with Dental Implant Surgery
Now that you have made the decision to get dental implants, you may be a little apprehensive about what comes next. Will the implant surgery hurt? What will the recovery be like?
Dental implant surgery is usually an outpatient surgery performed by your dentist in stages.
The good news is that dental implant surgery is often very easy and painless for the patient.
A consultation with the dentist will determine the patient’s desired results, expectations, and motivations towards getting a dental implant. During this time, the dentist will review the patient’s medical information to ensure they are a good candidate for implant surgery. The dentist will also discuss anesthesia options with the patient.
The first stages of dental implant surgery begin with an x-ray. The dentist will evaluate bone quality and quantity, the location of important nerves and blood vessels, and plan the case on 3D implant surgery software.
After the patient’s x-rays, dentists will review the treatment plan and process with the patient. This includes items such as time, the process of the surgery, fees, expectations, final results, follow up care, plans for transitional restorations, and any other special considerations.
While not always necessary, dentists will sometimes need to take an impression of the patient’s mouth prior to surgery. Impressions are quick and easy and only require a few seconds in the patient’s mouth.
Preparation of Jaw
If the tooth being replaced is still in the jaw, it will need to be extracted. Your dentist will use some form of anesthesia to ensure a painless procedure. If a tooth needs to be pulled, the implant will likely be placed at a later date.
If the implant dentist determines that the amount of bone is inadequate at the planned implant location, bone may be added using a grafting procedure in enhance the quality or quantity of bone, thus improving the anticipated implant prognosis.
Once you are ready to have the implant placed, the implant dentist will numb the implant site and then carefully create an opening in the bone where the implant will be placed. Once the bone matures around the implant, your implant will be ready to support your new tooth.This implant placement surgery generally takes less than one hour, for one or two implants. Most patients have this procedure performed using local anesthetic (numbing) and are able to return to their work or normal activities the same day as the surgery.
The gum tissue heals very quickly, and within a few days, the surgical site is closed. If requested, dentists will also provide patients with a temporary tooth to fill the gap.
With the metal implant securely placed into the jaw, osseointegration, or the growth of the jawbone to unite with the implant, occurs. The bone will continue to grow and mature over the course of a few months, but because the gums have already healed, this step largely goes unnoticed by the patient.
Once the jawbone has sufficiently fused itself to the implant, an abutment can be placed. The abutment holds the crown to the implant. The abutment is tightened onto the implant to provide a stable base for the crown, even during chewing.
Your gums should heal for a week or two after the abutment is placed. Impressions are used to make the crown, which is your realistic-looking artificial tooth. Crowns are fixed and permanently screwed or cemented to an abutment.
A single missing tooth is typically replaced with a single implant and abutment and crown. And entire arch (set) of teeth is typically replaced with several implants used to support a fixed (stays in) or removable denture.
Dental implant surgery is nothing to be afraid of. With modern technology, the process is fast, nearly painless, and doesn’t inhibit a patient’s lifestyle. The final result is a beautiful set of teeth that look and feel natural.
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