A dental implant procedure is a series of mini surgeries that are performed to replace a missing tooth. The procedure is performed in stages, and between each stage, your body will undergo a period of healing before you can move on to the next step. Let’s examine the dental implant process step by step.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are small anchors or screw-like prostheses that are surgically embedded into your jaw bone in order to replace lost teeth. The term ‘dental implant’ typically refers to the artificial roots that are placed in the jaw first, but the process has other stages that need to be completed.
You may be a candidate for dental implants if you
- Have enough strong and healthy jaw bone to support the implant
- You are a non-smoker
- You do not suffer from any pre-existing conditions that affect your body’s ability to heal
- Have a good level of dental and oral care and you are free of gum disease
The Dental Implant Process Step By Step
Your first step in a dental implant procedure is actually a thorough consultation. Your dental practitioner will take a full medical and dental history, some digital photographs and some x-rays. He or she needs to establish the condition of your jaw bone and the state of health of your gums in order to establish if dental implants are the right solution for you. Once your dentist has completed the consultation he or she will prepare a treatment plan, which will show the dental implant process step by step, and a cost estimate, which will detail the costs of your tooth replacement as well as any applicable alternatives.
Some patients, especially those who may have had a missing tooth for an extended period of time, may not have enough healthy jaw bone to support an implant. This can occur if you lose a tooth and do not replace it straight away. In the absence of tooth roots to stimulate the jaw, it starts to deteriorate.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t have dental implants. If you tick all the other boxes, your dentist may recommend a bone graft, to encourage bone growth in your jaw. The amount of bone that is present will determine if you need a minor or major graft. If you only need a minor graft, it may be possible to do the procedure just before placing your dental implant. If a major bone graft is required, this will probably be performed as a separate procedure, and you will wait for a few months before your implant can be placed.
Sometimes, your affected tooth might still be in your mouth and your dentist will need to extract it before dental implants can be placed. It is often possible to place an implant after tooth extraction.
Placing The Implant
Placing your dental implants is a surgical procedure. This is done under anaesthetic, and our dentist needs to cut through the gum in order to reach the jaw bone below it. Small holes are drilled into the jaw, and the dental implant, which is usually made from titanium or zirconia, will be screwed into place.
Your dentist will stitch the site up and give you care instructions for your recovery. You will need to wait two to four months for the implant to integrate with your jaw bone. This process is called osseointegration and during this period, the dental implant fuses with your body to make it strong and robust.
Placing The Abutment
Once the tooth implant is secure, you will return to the dentist for the placement of the abutment. This is also a surgical process, where your dentist needs to reopen the surgical site and attach the abutments (extension pieces) to your dental implants.
Afterwards, the site will be stitched up and you will undergo another healing period.
Making The Dental Crown
Once your gums are fully healed and your dentist is satisfied with your recovery, it will be time to make the dental crown. This is the visible part of the dental implant that other people will see. You will be given a temporary crown to wear until this can be done.
Dental Implant Process Step By Step: Risks And Complications
By following the process step by step, your body has a chance to heal and recover, and your dental practitioner has the opportunity to monitor you for risks and complications.
Understanding the dental implant process step by step can help you to prepare and have realistic expectations. For questions about your dental implant or to book a consultation please contact us at (02) 9158 6379.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Dental implant procedure