Cosmetic dentistry has many exciting procedures to give patients a smile of their dreams. Dental implants have become the most desired cosmetic surgery as a solution to a single missing tooth or several. This type of procedure differs from other options available for those with missing teeth. It’s essential to know how implants are placed if you are considering this possibility as a replacement for missing teeth. Unlike other options,  an implant is a titanium post that is placed directly into the jaw bone.

Being secured directly to the jaw bone allows the implant to fuse to the bone. After the procedures are done, and the implant is fully healed, an orthodontist will fit you with an artificial tooth, or crown, which is what you will see. Dental implants can also be used with bridges and dentures, which allows them to be affixed securely.

Depending on the state of your teeth, gums, and jaws, the process of placing the implant and the healing time will vary. The implant acts as a brand-new root for your artificial tooth, and it is essential that proper healing happens.

“A dental implant is a titanium post (like a tooth root) that is surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath the gum line that allows your dentist to mount replacement teeth or a bridge into that area. An implant doesn’t come loose like a denture can. Dental implants also benefit general oral health because they do not have to be anchored to other teeth, like bridges.”

Source: What Is A Dental Implant?

 

The Initial Consultation

Getting an initial consultation with an experienced oral surgeon will be the first step to getting dental implants placed. The dentist will go over many topics with you regarding the procedure, aftercare, what materials will be used, and risks. During the consultation, your dentist will also evaluate the condition of your jaw bone, gums, and teeth.  X-rays may be taken for further insight as to address whether or not a patient is a good candidate. It’s essential that if a patient has any questions including what to expect, and healing time that they ask during a consultation.

Your oral surgeon will also discuss which type of dental implant procedure he or she will be performing. There are a few techniques that can be used, from the traditional 2 step procedure to the one-day implants.

 

The Process / Placement

After you and your oral surgeon have agreed to proceed with the dental implant procedure, you will schedule an appointment to be fitted with the implant. The traditional method for implants requires two surgical visits.  During your first procedure, your surgeon will cut the gum, revealing the jaw bone. From here he or she will drill a small hole directly into the bone. The hole allows for the implant to be inserted. Your surgeon will then seal the incision, and the first appointment towards a perfect smile is completed.

Depending on the type of dental implant technique used the first procedure could differ. There is also another technique where after the implant has been secured to the bone, a healing cap will be applied. The cap is not the permanent replacement tooth. Instead, it serves a purpose to help the gum heal itself.

Some surgeons use a one visit approach to placing implants. With this type of procedure, the surgeon will make the incision into your gum, drill a hole, and set the implant. After the implant is in position, the surgeon will then affix the abutment to the implant, and a temporary crown can be secured to the abutment.

At the second session, during the traditional method, your surgeon will make another incision, revealing the implant. They will then attach an abutment, and fit you will get a healing cap. Once this appointment is over, you will have to wait a little longer for the healing process to ensure the implant has fused entirely with the bone. An in-office visit will be scheduled to remove the healing cap and place your permanent crowns.

There is not a set period frame for healing; everyone is different. However, most indicate that 5 to 6 months is the average between the two visits for traditional implants.

 

What You Can Expect

For many patients, a top concern is will it hurt to have a dental implant installed? Asking about the level of pain is a valid question, especially because many people have fears about dental procedures. Implants aren’t pain-free. Because it is a surgery, there can be a fair amount of swelling in the mouth, along with some soreness. Swelling and or pain does go away, and your surgeon can prescribe something to help. For traditional implant that is placed, ones in the lower jaw will take around five months to heal. For the upper jaw, it will take a little longer approximately 6 months. However, healing times are entirely dependent on the person, and what condition the jaw bone is in. If a patient requires their jaw bone to build up more for the implant to be affixed, the process can take over a year.

Implants are a terrific solution to missing teeth. They offer the most natural appearance and long-lasting results. Outside of regular oral care, there isn’t anything you need to do special for them. If you have been contemplating a solution to missing teeth, contact your dentist about their dental implant services, and ask about how they can benefit you.

Related article: How Does it Feel to Have a Dental Implant?