For eligible patients, dental implants could be the perfect solution for tooth loss. While the initial expense of getting a dental implant is higher than a simple tooth extraction, the long-term benefits, including the preservation of jawbone, can be life-changing. If you are considering having a dental implant placed, here is a step by step guide on what you can expect from the procedure.
First, your dental implant surgeon will examine your mouth to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants. Not all patients are eligible for dental implants. For instance, patients with significant bone loss at the future implant site may not have enough bone to support an implant.
If bone grafting could help to restore jawbone function and health at the implant site, your surgeon may recommend that you undergo a bone graft procedure to help improve bone material. Most often, a bone grafting material from a tissue bank is placed at the site. Rarely is it necessary to use the patients’ own bone in this procedure. After three months or more of healing, your implant surgeon will evaluate your progress to see if it has healed enough to place the dental implant.
Dental Implant Placement
After the bone graft has healed or at the start of the process for patients that don’t require grafting, your dental surgeon will place the dental implant directly into your jaw. For single implant sites, you can expect the entire appointment to last less than one hour. Depending on the anesthetic or sedation used, you might need to have someone else available to drive you home after the procedure. In some instances, a temporary crown may be placed on top of the implant.
Abutment and Crown
Immediately after the dental implant is placed, your body will need time to heal and to accept the implant as a permanent part of your jaw. During the first 48 hours after the procedure, your dentist may recommend you take over the counter pain relievers or prescribe you medication to manage the initial discomfort. Then you’ll wait for 3 months or more to return to the dental surgeon to evaluate whether the implant has healed properly.