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The Dental Implant Procedure: What to expect?

The dental implant system perfectly replicates natural teeth and can last a lifetime with proper care.

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Dental implants have changed the game when it comes to fixing missing teeth. The dental implant system perfectly replicates natural teeth and can last a lifetime with proper care. In our last blog post, we discussed all the great benefits of dental implants.  

If you're considering dental implants, you must be willing to know what to expect from the dental implant procedure. This guide will provide valuable information that will walk you through each step, from your first dentist visit to walking out with your new smile. Knowing what's involved can help you feel more comfortable and confident about your decision. 

Whether you need to replace one tooth or several, understanding the procedure can make it easier to plan your treatment. Let's get started with the first step: your initial consultation. 

Initial Consultation 

The journey to getting dental implants starts with a visit to your dentist for a thorough check-up. Here's what happens during this first step: 

  • Comprehensive Dental Examination 

Your dentist will take a good look at your mouth, checking the health of your gums and the condition of your teeth. 

  • X-rays and Digital Images 

These tools give your dentist a clear view of your jawbone and surrounding areas. It helps them see if your jawbone is strong enough to hold an implant. 

  • Mouth Impressions 

The dentist might take impressions of your teeth and gums. These impressions create a model of your mouth, which helps plan the exact placement of the implant. 

  • Medical History and Treatment Planning 

Your dentist will ask about your health, any medications you're taking, and any medical conditions you have. Some conditions, like diabetes or osteoporosis, can affect healing, so sharing this information is essential. 

  • Creating a Treatment Plan 

Your dentist will create a tailored treatment plan based on your oral exam and medical history. This plan will outline every step of the process, including any preliminary treatments you might need. 

  • Scheduling the Procedure 

Once you finish finalizing your treatment plan with your dentist, you can schedule the implant placement procedure. Your dentist will give you preparation instructions you might need to follow. 

Preparation Phase 

Before the implant procedure, there are a few steps to prepare your mouth. Here's what to expect: 

  • Preliminary Treatments: If you have a damaged tooth that needs to be replaced by an implant, it might need extraction first. It usually takes a single visit. 
  • Bone Grafting: You might need a bone graft if your jawbone isn't thick enough or strong enough to support an implant. Bone grafting involves adding bone or a bone-like material to your jawbone. It helps create a solid foundation for the implant. 
  • Healing Time: Bone grafting usually requires a few months of healing before you can proceed with the implant. It allows the new bone to integrate and strengthen your jaw. 

Implant Placement 

Now comes the main part of the procedure: placing the dental implant. Here's what happens during this step: 

  • Local Anesthesia: On the day of your surgery, your dentist will start by numbing the area with local anesthesia. If you're nervous about the procedure, sedation options are available to help you relax. 
  • Gum Incision: The dentist will make a small incision in your gum to expose the jawbone. 
  • Drilling the Hole: A special drill creates a space in the jawbone for the implant. This might sound intimidating, but you won't feel any pain due to the anesthesia. 
  • Placing the Implant: The titanium post, which acts like the root of your new tooth, is inserted into the drilled hole in the jawbone. 
  • Closing the Gum: Once the implant is in place, the dentist will close the gum tissue over it. Sometimes, a small healing cap is placed on the implant to protect it during the healing process. 

Post-Surgery Care 

  • Managing Discomfort: You might experience swelling and discomfort after the surgery. Over-the-counter pain relievers are usually enough to manage this. 
  • Dietary Restrictions: You must stick to soft foods and avoid hot drinks for a few days to allow your mouth to heal properly. 
  • Oral Hygiene: Keeping the area clean is crucial to prevent infection. Your dentist will give you specific instructions on how to care for your mouth after the surgery. 

Osseointegration 

Osseointegration is the process where the jawbone grows around the implant, securing it firmly in place. It's a critical step that ensures the stability and longevity of your dental implant. Osseointegration typically takes 3 to 6 months. The titanium implant becomes a permanent part of your jawbone during this time. 

Abutment Placement 

Once the implant has fully integrated with your jawbone, the next step is placing the abutment. The abutment is a small connector that links the implant to your new tooth (crown). Here's what to expect: 

What is an Abutment? 

Role of the Abutment: The abutment is a small metal connector that attaches to the implant. It serves as the base for your new tooth, ensuring a secure fit. 

Attaching the Abutment 

This procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia. Your dentist will reopen the gum to expose the implant and attach the abutment. 

Healing Period: After the abutment placement, your gums will need a few weeks to heal. This period allows the gums to adjust and form around the abutment properly. 

Post-Procedure Care: You might experience minor discomfort or swelling, manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers and by following your dentist's care instructions. 

Creating the Custom Crown 

  • Impressions: Your dentist will take impressions of your mouth to create a custom crown that matches your natural teeth' shape, size, and color. 
  • Temporary Crown: In some cases, a temporary crown may be placed on the abutment while your permanent crown is being made. Doing so helps maintain the appearance of your smile during the healing period. 
  • Adjustments: Once the permanent crown is ready, your dentist will place it on the abutment and make any necessary adjustments to ensure a perfect fit and comfortable bite. 
  • Final Check: Your dentist will check the crown's alignment, fit, and appearance to ensure it looks natural and functions well. 
  • Attaching the Permanent Crown: The final step in your dental implant journey is attaching the permanent crown. This is when your new tooth is securely in place, and your smile is restored.  

Post-Placement Care 

  • Oral Hygiene: Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily. Pay special attention to the area around the implant to keep it clean and plaque-free. 
  • Regular Check-Ups: Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings. Regular visits help ensure the implant remains in good condition and functions properly. 
  • Avoiding Hard Foods: While your implant is highly durable, avoid chewing on extremely hard items like ice or candy to prevent damage. 

Ready for your Dental Implant? 

Getting dental implants is a journey, but the results are well worth it. Each step ensures a successful and lasting outcome from the initial consultation to the final placement of your new tooth. Dental implants not only restore your smile but also improve your overall oral health and quality of life. 

If you're ready to take the next step towards a beautiful, confident smile, schedule a consultation with Dr. Tiziana Procopio today. At Dr. Tiziana Procopio's dental practice, we guide you through every step and ensure you receive the best care possible. Don't wait any longer to achieve your dream smile—contact us now to book your appointment! 

Contact your Walnut Creek Dentist, Dr. Tiziana Procopio Towle, DDS, at Procopio Towle Dental Office to learn about the dental implant procedure.

Resource:

Benefits of Dental Implants

*This media/content or any other on this website does not prescribe, recommend, or prevent any treatment or procedure. Therefore, we highly recommend that you get the advice of a qualified dentist or other medical practitioner regarding your specific dental condition.

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