Dental implants are often a perfect solution for people with teeth that are missing, cracked, or damaged in a major way. They are likely to offer a more stable alternative to dentures and can be a major boost to an individual's overall oral health. Yet many people still hesitate to speak with their dentist about having a dental implant procedure performed, often because they don't know what to expect. If you've found yourself in a similar situation, read below for three things you can expect from the procedure, from beginning to end.
Making Initial Plans
Though the vast majority of dental implant procedures are relatively routine, none of them are done spontaneously. They all require careful planning, and your dentist will be sure to keep you informed every step of the way. This starts with an initial consultation in which you'll discuss whether a dental implant is right for you, and if so, a reasonable timeline of appointments to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Placing the Post
While grafting of the jawbone or extraction of damaged teeth is sometimes necessary, most patients with a missing tooth should expect the placing of a post to happen next. This is when a small hole is created in the affected gum, and then a metal cylinder, or post, is inserted in order to provide the support the implant requires. While it may sound painful, the reality is that this part of the procedure usually involves no more than mild discomfort — local anesthesia or sedation are used — and it is over in just a couple of hours.
Placing the Abutment and Crown, and Healing
Those who might want some time between stages of the procedure are actually in luck. Most patients must wait several months so that their jawbone can ossify around the post. After the wait is up, you can expect your dentist to place an abutment, which acts as a sort of cap on which the implant rests. Finally, (usually after an additional wait of a couple of weeks) the crown itself is placed on the abutment. Recovery is almost always quick, and you can get back to your normal life in no time. Your dentist will also speak with you about all the ways in which you should take proper care of your crown. These often include the avoidance of bad habits such as biting down hard on crunchy foods.
For more information on a dental implant procedure, contact a professional near you.