If your dentist has recommended dental implants to replace one or more of your missing teeth, you may be wondering what the process entails. Dental implants take several steps, and at West Lakes Dentistry, we want you to be informed and aware of what will happen throughout the process.
Step One: Consultation
The first step in most dental procedures is a consultation with the dentist. Our experienced dentists at West Lakes Dentistry will help you decide on the best treatment plan for your unique situation.
In general, we’ll look for the following to decide if you’re eligible for dental implants:
- Overall good health, both physically and orally.
- One or more missing teeth.
- Enough bone density in your jaw to support implants.
- The ability to undergo surgery.
If you and your dentist decide dental implants are a good option for you, you’ll map out the rest of your treatment plan at your consultation. If you’re not a good fit, your dentist will help you find alternative treatments.
Step Two: Placing the Implant
Once you’ve decided to go ahead with dental implants, you’ll schedule surgery to place the implant. The implant itself is a titanium post that goes into your jawbone. It will act like a tooth root does, anchoring your replacement tooth in place.
You’ll be under anesthesia for the procedure, which generally takes around an hour. You’ll need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from the appointment, and you’ll likely feel some discomfort for a day or two after your implant is placed.
Step Three: Healing
After your implant is placed, you will spend several months letting the implant heal. Because it will anchor your replacement tooth in place, your implant needs time to fully fuse with your jawbone. This process is called osseointegration, and it allows your dental implant to function exactly like a natural tooth.
The healing process varies depending on the individual. In general, osseointegration takes anywhere from 4–6 months.
Step Four: Placing the Abutment
After getting your implant placed and healing, and before getting the final crown that will replace your missing tooth, you’ll need to have an abutment placed. The abutment is what allows the crown to connect to the implant post in your jawbone.
Placing abutments is generally a fairly quick process. Your gums will be numbed beforehand, but you can usually drive yourself to and from the appointment. Your gums will likely be tender after the procedure.
After you get your abutment, you’ll again need to wait for the healing process to finish. This process is much quicker than osseointegration—it generally takes four to six weeks. During this time, your dentist will craft the custom crown that will serve as your replacement tooth, matching it to your natural tooth color and shaping it to fit well with the rest of your teeth.
Step Five: Getting Your Crown
Once your abutment is fully healed, you’ll be ready for the final step: getting your crown attached! Your dentist will place a custom-made crown on the abutment, which will anchor it in place with the implanted post.
Your dentist will likely use a local numbing agent to make sure you don’t feel any discomfort while they put your crown in place. After you get your crown, you can eat, drink, and clean your mouth like normal.
Missing Teeth? Call West Lakes Dentistry Today and Schedule a Consultation!
Don’t let missing teeth mess up your life anymore. Not only do missing teeth make eating and talking difficult, but they can also cause your remaining teeth to shift, giving you extra dental issues to worry about. Call West Lakes Dentistry today and get those missing teeth replaced.