What to expect during a dental implant procedure?
Dental implants are the preferred choice of many patients who have missing teeth and would like to restore the gap in their smile with a highly sophisticated, lifelike, comfortable, and long-lasting alternative. Most people have heard of dental implants, but very few patients are aware of what to expect from the process.
In this post, we are going explain the different stages involved in the dental implant process and outline the dental implant procedures so you know what to expect if you choose dental implants.
Before your dental implant procedure, you will need to attend a consultation appointment to assess your candidacy for the procedure, which will involve a number of different elements.
First, your dental implant surgeon will undertake a physical examination of your teeth and jawbone. This will include x-rays of your teeth that will be used in the process of planning your treatment. The condition of your jaw will also be assessed to make sure that it is strong and healthy enough to support the implants. In addition to the physical evaluation, your surgeon will want to know about your medical health and overall wellbeing so that they can be certain that the procedure isn’t particularly high risk for you. They can also answer any questions you have about the procedure and will be able to advise you on what to expect at each stage of the process. Finally, you will be given specific steps to follow regarding preparing for your treatment. For example, you may need to stop taking specific medications.
It is important to note that in some cases, other dental specialists may need to be involved in the planning of your dental implants which could extend the length of the evaluation/consultation stage.
The initial surgery
The first phase of surgery is the most invasive and will be when your dental implants are placed. This is can be done using local anesthesia, although sedation may be used if you are nervous. Alternatively, a number of patients do opt for a general anesthetic.
First, an incision is made in the gums to expose the jawbone beneath. A specialized drill is then used to create a hole into which the implant will be placed. Once inserted, a second component will be screwed into the implant itself and will remain in place while the bone heals around the structure to secure it in place. The gums will be closed over the implant and sutured to secure them. Your mouth will then be left to heal for at least 3-4 months, sometimes longer.
The placement of the crown
Once your surgeon is happy that your implants have healed into the jawbone, you will be able to start the second phase of treatment. This begins with the re-exposure of the implant via an incision into the gum. A small extension is placed on the implant to take an impression which will be used to fit your unique crown. This process involves taking impressions of your teeth which will form the basic design of your artificial tooth. When complete, it will be glazed in a color to match your existing teeth to ensure that it looks as natural as possible. When your crown is ready, you will be asked to attend a final appointment to get it fitted.
Unsurprisingly, there are several recovery periods when you choose to undergo dental implant surgery, particularly after the first surgery which involves the placement of the implants. You should fully expect to have some small bruises and swelling in the gums, and you may need to stick to a soft food diet for up to a week during the initial stages of healing. However, most patients can return to work within a few days. Any discomfort can usually be managed using over-the-counter pain medications.
You will be given very specific post-surgery instructions to follow after your dental implant procedure and it is essential that these are followed as this will minimize your risk of complications during the recovery process.
For more information on what to expect from a dental implant procedure, please contact our knowledgeable team at (212) 606-2345.