Dental Implant Steps Explained

Graphic showing a dental implant

Dental implants are the only permanent solution for missing teeth and are fast becoming the gold standard tooth replacement option. 6% of Americans have implants, and by 2026 that number is set to grow to 23% due to the aging population of baby boomers.

A dental implant is a surgical device placed into the jawbone to replace missing teeth. They are a popular option for replacing missing teeth because they are stable, durable, and look and feel like natural teeth for more comfortable and aesthetic results.

Understanding the steps involved in the dental implant procedure is essential to ensure a successful outcome.

Initial Consultation

Your dentist will also ask about your dental history, including previous dental work and tooth loss. They perform a physical examination to check your mouth for signs of oral health problems like gum disease or decay that need to be treated before implantation surgery. They may also take X-rays and a CT scan to look for evidence of bone loss.

Preparatory Surgeries

Preparatory surgeries may be necessary before getting dental implants to ensure better results, which can include:

  • A bone graft adds bone mass to an area with low bone density or thickness.
  • A sinus lift raises the sinus cavity floor so that there is enough room for the implant to be placed.
  • Tooth extraction followed by socket preservation may be necessary to ensure enough healthy bone tissue is available to support the implant.

Implant Placement

Your dentist numbs the area where the implant will be placed with a local anesthetic. Then, a small incision in the gum tissue is made to expose the underlying bone. They’ll drill a small pilot hole and screw the implant post in place. After suturing the incision, the dentist places a healing cap on it for added protection.

Osseointegration and Recovery

Osseointegration is the process of a dental implant fusing with the jawbone. This process can take up to nine months but is crucial to stabilize the implant.

During the initial recovery, patients should expect some swelling and discomfort. Recovery times vary from patient to patient, but most people can fully resume their regular activities within two to four weeks.

Adding the Abutment

An abutment is a small metal connector placed on the implant to attach the post to the dental crown. Placing the abutment involves making an incision in the gums and then screwing in the abutment. The gum tissue is then closed around the abutment, leaving it exposed.

Adding the Restoration

Depending on how many teeth you need to replace, various restorations are used to complete dental implant surgery. For a single tooth replacement, your dentist creates a custom dental crown.

After taking an impression of your mouth, the mold is sent to an off-site lab along with information about your tooth color. The technician fabricates your crown from durable porcelain. You’ll then return to the dentist to have the crown cemented in place.

If you need to replace several consecutive teeth, your dentist may prescribe an implant-supported bridge. Or, for a full arch replacement, All-on-4 implants may be the best option.

Achieve a Winning Smile with Valley Dental Care

Dental implants have a high success rate of 95%, making them a safe option for providing a stable and secure foundation for replacement teeth. Schedule a consultation at Valley Dental Care to find out if dental implants are the right choice for your smile.