Dental implants aren’t just a financial investment—they’re also an investment in time. Although there are different dental implant options available, with some requiring less time than others, getting traditional dental implants can be a months-long process with several visits to the dentist. The good news is that once it’s complete, you’ll have a lifelong replacement for missing teeth.
Here’s what you can expect from the process.
The dental implant process begins with a consultation. At this appointment, your dentist will examine your teeth and gums, go over your medical and dental histories, and talk about your expectations from treatment. Should you decide to move forward with dental implants, we take digital radiographs and impressions to help us plan your surgery; the impressions can also be used to create a model of your teeth and jaw to give you a preview of what your smile will look like once your dental implants are complete.
During the consultation, we’ll determine whether you need any preliminary dental work in order to be a candidate for dental implants. If you have gum disease, it will need to be treated before you begin the dental implant process; if your dental implants will be replacing teeth that are still in your mouth, they’ll need to be extracted.
One of the most important factors in determining whether you are a candidate for dental implants is the bone density of your jaw. If radiographs show that you’ve lost bone mass, you may need bone grafting and/or a sinus lift to augment your jaw prior to surgery. This gives your dental implants stability and the best possible chance of success.
Dental Implant Placement
Once you have healed from any supplemental procedures, you’ll be ready for your dental implant surgery. You will receive local anesthetic injections to keep you comfortable throughout the procedure and, if needed, dental sedation to help you relax. Dental implants—small posts that replace the roots of your teeth—are placed in the jaw through an incision in the gum. The gum is then sutured to allow the process of osseointegration to occur.
Osseointegration can take up to six months, although sometimes it takes even longer. During this process, your jawbone and the dental implants fuse together to create a stable base for a restoration. When we’re sure that osseointegration has occurred, we attach the abutments to your dental implants. The abutments are the pieces that connect your dental implants and your restorations; we can provide you with a temporary restoration while you wait for your permanent restoration to be fabricated.
Finally, you will have another set of impressions taken and your restoration will be made. This could be a full denture, partial denture, bridge, or crown. The restoration is screwed or placed onto the abutment at our office and your dental implant process is complete. You can leave our office feeling confident in your beautiful new smile!
Learn More About Dental Implants
If you’d like to learn more about dental implants, contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Todd.