Here’s How the Dental Implant Procedure Works
What are Dental Implants?A dental implant is a medical device inserted in your jawbone to attach one or more artificial dental crowns. It can help to permanently complete your smile and give you back your confidence. Dental implants are a preferred method for tooth replacement because they are similar to natural teeth. They don’t move around like dentures or bridges, and the crowns of the implant can be cleaned like the rest of your teeth.
What is the Dental Implant Procedure?The implant procedure is done over time in strategic stages that promote implant longevity and patient health.
EvaluationLike with any dental procedure, implants start with an evaluation. This allows the doctor to determine if they need to perform any prior work such as tooth extraction or a bone graft. The preliminary exam will also determine if you are a good candidate for an implant. This mainly involves making sure the dental implant has a strong bone to attach to. Implants might not be right for you if you have low bone density. To determine your oral health and formulate the best plan of action for implants, we will do a visual exam and take x-rays of your mouth.
Tooth ExtractionWhen an implant is going to replace a tooth that is severely decayed, it needs to be extracted first. After the tooth is extracted, you will have to wait two to three months for your mouth to heal before we can move forward with the implant procedure.
Bone GraftingBone grafting is usually only needed under two circumstances — you lost a tooth from periodontal disease or you have been missing a tooth for a while. When you have been missing a tooth for a while, the underlying bone tends to degenerate and become weaker than normal. Periodontal disease can quickly penetrate down to the bones that support your teeth. When this happens, it deteriorates bone, similar to how it ruins your teeth. Because of this, bone grafting is necessary to provide a solid foundation for future dental implants.
- The first step of installing the implant requires cutting back your gum to reveal your bone.
- Then, the doctor will drill into your bone to create a cavity where the implant will go.
- They will insert the metal implant, cap it, and stitch your gum back together.
- Then, the bone needs to fuse to the implant. This should take around six months.
- Your dentist will test to see if the fusion was successful and move on to the next phase of the dental implant procedure.
Abutment AttachmentAfter the bone and implant fuse together, your dentist will attach the abutment. This is what will connect the crown to the implant. Sometimes, you will get a temporary crown to help shape the gum while it heals.
Crown AttachmentOne to two weeks after the abutment was attached, you will come back in for the permanent crown. This will be the quickest of all your appointments. It will also be pain-free and not require a local anesthetic.
Dental Implant Procedure TimelineThe entire dental implant process takes about four to eight months. A dental implant procedure is not something that can’t be rushed because it is a delicate process that requires precision and plenty of healing time between each stage. Here’s what to expect through each phase.
One Day: EvaluationYou initially come in for your extensive evaluation. The doctor will determine if you need preliminary work before you can begin your dental implant procedure.
3-12 Months: Preparation Dental Work (Not Always Required)If you need dental work before you can receive an implant, you can expect three to twelve months for the preliminary procedures and healing time. You may need a bone graft, tooth extraction, or bone smoothing to allow ideal conditions for the implant.
6 Months: Implant & Bone FusionAfter you are cleared to receive the implant, the process will begin. The implant will be installed. It takes about six months for your bone to fully bond to the implant.
1-2 Weeks: Healing After the Abutment is PlacedAfter your implant and bone have had a chance to fuse, you will come back to get an abutment. It connects to the implant and shapes your gum as it heals. Often, a temporary tooth will be attached to the abutment to protect your gum.
One Day: Crowns are InstalledThe doctor will make sure everything has healed and your new crown fits. Then, finally, after months of waiting, it can be attached. It will be placed, attached to the abutment, and permanently bonded into place.
How Long Does it Take to Heal From Dental Implants?It will take about two weeks for your gums to fully heal after each stage of the dental implant process that requires an incision. However, your bone takes about six months to fully heal around the implant. Despite these healing times, most patients can go back to work within a day or two of each appointment.
What Can I Eat After Dental Implant Surgery?After your dental implant procedure, you should stay away from solid food for at least seven to ten days. This will allow the area to properly heal and reduce the chances of infection. Chewing solid food too soon after surgery may also just prolong the healing time. For the seven to ten days after your implant procedure, you can eat:
- Mashed Potatoes
- Soft Serve Ice Cream
- Creamy Soups
What are the Risks of Dental Implants?While the vast majority of dental implant procedures go off without a hitch, there are always some risks associated with medical procedures.
InfectionInfections from dental implant procedures are rare, but it is always a risk that comes with surgeries of any kind.
Failed OsseointegrationOsseointegration is the term for the fusion of a metal medical device to your bone. Failed osseointegration can be caused by
- Insufficient bone density
- Improper implant placement
- An excess force applied to the implant area
- Damage to surrounding tissue
How Much Does the Dental Implant Procedure Cost?Excluding preliminary work and sedation, you can expect the dental implant procedure to cost between $2,100 and $4,700. According to the American Dental Association, you can expect to pay between $1,600 and $2,200 per dental implant. And depending on the crown material you choose, they will cost between $500 and $2,500 each.
Dental Implants in Point Pleasant, NJUndergoing a dental implant procedure can forever improve your smile. If you need a dental implant, you should start the process now! The longer you wait, the more preliminary work you might need. To start the journey to a complete, confident smile, book an appointment online or call us today!
About the Author
Dr. Joseph Zicchino provides a wide array of cosmetic dentistry services, including Invisalign® Clear Aligners, at his practice in Point Pleasant, NJ. He earned his dental degree from NYU Dental School and established Coastal Dental Group in 2004. For more information call (732) 714-1030 or to schedule an appointment!