Dental implants are often the most beneficial option for individuals who are looking to replace their missing or severely damaged teeth. This is because dental implants are stronger and offer a more natural looking appearance than dentures. However, unlike dentures which can often be obtained in as little as one day, the process of getting dental implants can take several months or longer to complete. Consequently, many patients may experience some anxiety when choosing to undergo this lengthy process. Thankfully, taking the time to learn what you should expect during each step of this process can often help to relieve this anxiety and allow you to move forward with confidence when getting dental implants.
Preparing For The Placement Of Implants
During your first visit, your oral surgeon will need to complete a few steps to ensure you are ready to undergo surgery to place your implants. First, a mold must be taken of your mouth. This mold will be sent to a dental lab where it is used to create the crowns that will ultimately be cemented to your implants.
Next, your surgeon will need to extract any natural teeth that will be replaced by implants. If you have multiple teeth that are being replaced, all of these teeth will be extracted during the same appointment. This can result in a significant amount of swelling and discomfort in the days and weeks following your appointment.
Once your gums have completely healed from the extraction process, you will be ready to move on to the next step in the implant process.
Placing Dental Implants
Your next appointment will take place in a surgical center or hospital due to the need for general anesthesia during this step of the process. During this appointment, you will undergo outpatient surgery to place your dental implants in the jawbone. This is done by making an incision in the gums, inserting a special drill through the incision, and drilling a small hole in the jawbone where the implant is placed. Once all of your implants are in place, the gums will be closed and the healing process will begin.
Healing from this surgery can easily take several months. This is because your jawbone will need to time to regenerate itself and ultimately form around the implants in order to provide strength and stability. Once this healing process is complete, you will be ready to undergo the final step in the implant process.
Placing Extensions And Crowns
At this point in the process, your dental implants will only exist below the surface of your gums. During this final step, the implants will be extended above the gum line and dental crowns will be attached so that you can begin enjoying full oral function. This is done by first making a small incision in the gums which exposes the implant below. Next, a small metal pole is attached to each implant in order to extend the implant above the gums. Finally, dental cement is used to attach a custom-made crown to the implant. It is this crown that will serve as your new tooth while the underlying implant will serve as the tooth's root.