Dental implants offer the look and feel of natural teeth without the discomfort of ill-fitting dentures or bridges. The dental implant procedure is only one step in the entire implant process. More knowledge about this critical step can ease anxiety on your journey to a healthy mouth and happy smile.
Dental Implant Procedure Versus the Whole Process
Let’s differentiate between the dental implant procedure versus the dental implant process. From start to finish, the dental implant process takes several months and is done in phases to allow for necessary healing and growth in between phases. The steps and phases usually include:
- Consultation and Evaluation: It’s here that you will work with your provider to develop an individualized treatment plan after getting x-rays and impressions. You’ll learn about and may need to decide what type of implant will work best for you based on the health of the bone, gums, and teeth.
- Tooth Extraction: When the existing tooth and root are still in place, tooth extraction is the next step. Sometimes this step is included with the dental implant procedure.
- Inserting the Dental Implant: The dental implant procedure varies based on the type of dental implant—endosteal or subperiosteal. In the first, the implant is inserted directly into the jawbone. In the second, the implant is placed under the gum but above the jawbone. For those whose jawbone cannot support an implant, this process may also include bone augmentation, a sinus lift, or ridge expansion.
- Abutment Placement: Sometimes the abutment is placed at the same time as the implant. Most of the time, the jawbone and gums need anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks to heal before the abutment (small post) is placed. During this time, the jawbone surrounds the implant, securing it in place. However, sometimes it can take three to nine months of healing before the gums are ready for this next phase.
- Placing the Artificial Tooth or Crown: The artificial tooth or crown is placed after the gums have healed from the abutment placement, which usually takes about two weeks.
Throughout that process, the actual dental implant procedure only involves the step of placing the implant into the jaw and any supportive measures like bone grafting.
What to Expect During a Dental Implant Procedure
In general, the typical dental implant procedure takes one to two hours. The length of the procedure depends on the type of implant you’re getting and any additional work that needs to be done at the same time, like bone augmentation or grafting.
During this procedure, the gums are cut open to expose the bone. Then holes for the implants are drilled into the bone. These implants will act as the tooth’s root, so the implant must be deeply implanted where it will be secure.
Local anesthesia numbs the area during a standard procedure. You won’t feel the pain of the procedure, but you’ll be awake. You may feel some tugging, pulling, and pressure, much like you would during a root canal or filling.
If the implant process includes bone grafting or a similar procedure, general anesthesia may be used, in which case you won’t be awake during the procedure, so you won’t feel anything.
What to Expect After a Dental Implant Procedure
Expect some mild pain for one or two days after the procedure. There’s usually bruising around the gums, and pain and discomfort may radiate to the cheeks, chin, or under the eyes. You should also expect some minimal bleeding and swelling of the gums at the site of the implant.
Over-the-counter pain relievers are often enough to make you comfortable, but your provider may prescribe more powerful pain medication. For most people, the pain subsides after the second-day post-surgery. However, there are those who experience discomfort for up to ten days.
Call Good Samaritan Dental Implant Institute at 561-833-6880 to schedule a consultation and start your journey with a personal treatment plan.