Ready for your dental implant? Whether you have been living with a missing tooth for a while, just lost a tooth due to an accident or infection, or your dentist recommended an implant, there’s a good chance that you are wondering about the dental implant procedure steps. What happens first? How long will it take? How many visits will be needed? These are just a few of the many questions we hear often during the free dental implant consultation we provide.
In this article we’re going to review the three main steps of getting a dental implant. Remember, the first step in the implant process is always a free consultation. This is where you learn about your options, discuss pricing and financing options, and get to know your dental team before making a decision. If you haven’t done this step yet, then stop reading and go book your free consultation. Then come back and finish up the article.
Dental Implant Procedure Steps: What to Expect?
Assuming you have already booked or completed your consultation, let’s get started with the dental implant procedure steps.
Step 1: Implant Placement
Your tooth has been removed and you are ready to get it replaced. The first step is the placement of the implant.
The dentist will be surgically placing the implant in the upper or lower jaw. This does require some drilling as the implant must fit snuggly into the jawbone, acting like the root of your newest tooth.
The placement of the implant is where the real expertise of the dental implant specialist or oral surgeon comes in. There are many nerves in the mouth and the dentists job is to make sure the implant goes in without damaging those nerves. This requires expert knowledge of the mouth, along with the assistance of technology (3D imaging comes in handy!), and years of experience.
When the implant is placed, a “healing cap” is placed over it to protect it during step 2.
It’s important to note that bone grafting may be required either before or during the implant placement. If this will be needed the oral surgeon will discuss this with you beforehand.
Step 2: Healing and Osseointegration
Once the implant is in place it is now time to heal. This is critical during the dental implant procedure steps. You have to let the bone in your jaw grow around the implant. This takes some time but is what makes a dental implant so strong and why implants are highly recommended as the best longterm tooth replacement option.
Osseointegration is big word for the implant “fusing” to the jaw bone. The bone locks the implant in place and grows around it to reinforce it, just like your other teeth.
This process can take a few months. Don’t worry though, you will have a “healing cap” to protect the implant while it heals and a temporary crown so it doesn’t look like you have a missing tooth in the process. Once it’s healed, it’s time to move on to step 3.
Step 3: Tooth Replacement
This is the step you’ve been waiting for! The dentist will create a custom crown for you that will look, feel, and act as your new tooth. If you are replacing more than one tooth then a bridge or denture may be needed instead of a crown.
What is most important about this step is that you will leave the dentist’s office with your new tooth. No one will be able to tell that you had a missing tooth in the first place. The process and procedure is complete. Congratulations!