Getting ready for a dental implants procedure? Thousands of people in the U.S. safely undergo this procedure every day. Dental implants are more durable and are better-looking than traditional dentures, crowns or bridges. They can help you eat better, improve your speech and can even boost your overall self-esteem. Here’s what to expect before, during and after this complex but necessary procedure.
What are the steps for a dental implant?
There are many reasons why you might need dental implants. No matter the reason, a dental implants procedure generally follows a similar trajectory for all patients:
- Consultation. The first step of the process is an initial consultation with your oral surgeon or dentist. They’ll X-ray your mouth, take impressions and determine the color of your teeth to make sure your new tooth looks as natural as possible.
- Tooth Extraction. If the tooth or teeth you are replacing still remain in your mouth, your oral health professional will remove it to prepare the site for the implant. This step can be done on the day if of implantation if enough healthy jawbone exists, or it can be done several months ahead to give the site time to heal.
- Implant Insertion. Occasionally, a bone graft is required to make sure the site is stable enough to support an implant. You may need to wait for the new bone to heal before the actual implant procedure. Once the oral surgeon decides the site is ready, the implant is either added to your jawbone or just above it.
- Abutment Placement. Your oral surgeon places the abutment once they decide that your implant is stable, generally after a period of 3 to 6 months. Occasionally, the abutment can be placed on the same day as the implant. This piece connects the implant to the crown.
- Crown Placement. The crown is the visible part of the implanted tooth. Your dentist will make the crown in a way that helps it blend in with your other teeth. The dentist places the crown after your gums heal, completing the process and giving you a healthy mouth.
How long does a dental implant procedure take?
There are several factors affecting the length of your dental implant procedure. These include:
- Whether you require tooth extraction to prepare the site
- Whether you need a bone graft
- The number of teeth involved
- The type of tooth being replaced (canine, molar, etc.)
- Your overall oral health
Often, the entire process spans several months. If an extraction is required, it needs to fully heal before the surgeon implants the posts. Sometimes, a bone graft is required if you don’t have enough bone to support the implant. As you might expect, the number of visits you’ll make to your oral health professional—and the overall length of the process—depends upon the complexity of your individual case.
The process of actually placing an implant is quick—it takes as little as one to two hours to surgically insert one tooth implant, including the time it takes to numb the area and properly dress the site after the procedure.
In short, an implant can be placed in a matter of hours. It’s the prep work that can increase the time between your initial consultation and the completion of the surgery.
How can I find the best provider of dental implants near me?
One of the reasons why the dental implant process is so complex is due to the nature of the human mouth. Every mouth is different, and you need to work with a professional oral surgeon who can get an accurate assessment of your unique needs and develop a plan for how to address them.
Here are three things to look for as you search for a qualified professional to complete this procedure:
- Experience: An experienced oral surgeon has gone through the dental implant process from start to finish with many patients. If you already have a relationship with a good general dentist, ask them if they specialize in dental implants. If they don’t, ask them for a referral to a trusted implant specialist in your area.
- Customer reviews: Sometimes, you can get the best insights regarding the quality of an implant doctor by checking out the reviews of previous customers. If you have a list of potential candidates to complete your procedure, carefully read through the reviews of former customers who received dental implants from each candidate. One or two negative reviews shouldn’t cause you to completely discount a doctor, but seeing several poor reviews is a huge red flag, and you’d be wise to keep looking for better options.
- Before and after images: When an implant doctor is proud of their work, they’ll be willing to show off the results in before and after images. Once you’ve found a few good candidates for your procedure, head to their website and look for examples of their past work. You’ll clearly see the results that you’ll be able to achieve, allowing you to make the best choice for your needs.
If you’re getting ready to receive your first dental implants procedure, take comfort in the fact that this safe process helps you look and feel your best. It truly improves your overall quality of life. Contact your local Bright Tiger Dental practice today to discuss the dental implant procedure and to schedule a consultation.