Dental implants are among the most requested procedures from patients with tooth loss. It is considered a permanent dental restoration that looks and functions like natural teeth. The process of getting dental implants takes time, often requiring a series of appointments and procedures over the course of several months. If you are considering getting a dental implant or you already have your first consultation scheduled, here is an overview of what you can expect from each step of the process of getting a dental implant.
Not all patients are good candidates for dental implants. You need a certain amount of healthy jawbone to place the dental implant. Also, as dental implants are considered permanent, other options could be recommended for seniors who would not need to replace a regular bridge or dentures for the rest of their lives. The process starts with an evaluation from a dental implant dentist. This ensures that you are a good candidate for the procedure. The dentist will not start the process of placing a dental implant if they are not confident that it will be successful.
Sometimes dentists are able to perform a bone graft to improve the jawbone at the dental implant site. This can help patients get dental implants even if they would otherwise not have enough healthy bone material to do so. The bone graft procedure is relatively short, as most dentists will utilize a synthetic bone graft material that is applied at the site. The amount of time required between the bone graft and placing the dental implant varies based on the size of the area grafted and your individual body's healing process.
Placing the Dental Implant
Next, your dentist will place the screw-like dental implant directly into your jawbone. The process takes between one and two hours to complete. You may have special dietary restrictions for the first few days, but will be able to eat fairly normally after that. In most cases, your dental implant dentist will put a temporary crown on top of the dental implant post. The process of healing can take six months or longer.
Abutment and Crown
After your jawbone has had the opportunity to heal around the dental implant, you will come in for an additional appointment to have the abutment and permanent crown placed. For most patients, this represents the end of the process of getting dental implants. Your dentist will continue to monitor the success of the dental implant to ensure that it stays in place and heals appropriately. You may need to apply a specialized solution to the implant site to keep it clean. Your dentist will give you specific directions on how to care for your dental implant.