What Happens During a Dental Implant Procedure?
Essentially, dental implant surgery involves replacing the tooth roots with a screw-like metal post. The dental implant procedure is also considered a great alternative to bridgework or dentures. How the dental implant procedure is carried out will depend on the condition of the jawbone and the type of the implant.
Dental implant surgery can involve several procedures. One of its most enticing benefits is robust support for new teeth—a process that involves requiring the bone to heal tightly around the implant. Since bone healing can take time, the process can last for several months.
Dental Implants: Why It’s Done
Dental implants are surgically placed in the patient’s jawbone so it can serve as replacement for missing teeth. Since the titanium in the implants will fuse with the bone, the implants won’t cause bone damage, make noise, or slip. Generally, dental implants is considered ideal for:
- People with one (or more) missing teeth
- People with a jawbone that has reached full growth
- People with adequate bone to secure the implants in place
- People with healthy oral tissues
- People who don’t like wearing dentures
- People with no health conditions that affect bone healing
- People who want to improve their speech
- People who are willing to commit several months to the process
- People who don’t smoke
Dental Implant Procedure: What to Expect
Dental implant surgery is an outpatient procedure that is done in stages (with healing time in between). Placing of the dental implants can involve multiple steps, including:
- Removal of damaged tooth
- Preparation of the jaw
- Grafting (when required)
- Dental implant placement
- Bone growth and healing
- Placement of abutment
- Placement of the artificial tooth
If the jawbone is too soft or not thick enough, bone grafting may be required before the dental implant procedure can be carried out. This is because the chewing action of the mouth can exert great pressure on the bone. If it is not strong enough to support the implant, the surgery can fail. A bone graft can create a more robust base for the dental implant.
There are several materials that are used to rebuild a jawbone. Options can include a natural bone graft (taken from another location in the body) or synthetic (bone-substitute material that provides support for new bone growth). Your dentist will be able to give proper guidance as to which one is best for you.
It might take several months for the transplanted bone to grow ample bone to support a dental implant. In some cases, only minor bone grafting is required, which can be done the same time as the implant surgery itself. The condition of the jawbone will help determine how people move forward.
Once the metal implant post has been successfully placed in the bone, osseointegration begins. During this process, the jawbone is expected to grow into and unite with the dental implant’s surface. The process can take several months but it can provide a sturdy base for the new artificial teeth.
Once osseointegration is complete, additional surgery to place the abutment is done. The abutment is the piece where the crown is attached. This minor surgery is typically performed using local anaesthesia in an outpatient setting.
New Artificial Teeth
Once the gums have healed, more impressions will be made of the mouth and the remaining teeth. These impressions are used to make the realistic-looking artificial tooth known as the crown.
The crown won’t be placed until the jawbone is strong enough to support the new tooth. You and your dentist can decide whether to choose a removable artificial tooth, a fixed one, or a combination of the two.