The dental implant procedure can sound like a scary process. A periodontist drills out a hole and puts a titanium anchor directly into your jaw bone. However, the good news is this isn’t nearly as painful as it sounds. The operation is done in the office with light oral numbing agents and most patients return to work the following day. However, minor bleeding and soreness will occur after the surgery and may take up to 6 months to completely heal.
The dental implant procedure is broken down into 4 steps.
- Implant Placement
- Implant Exposing
- Tooth Placement
- Recovery and Maintenance
In the first phase, the dental anchors are placed into your jawbone.
This is a basic in-office procedure that generally does not require anesthesia beyond Novocaine. For approximately 3 to 6 months after the procedure, the anchors are submerged below the gums. During this time period, the bone is molding to the titanium anchors creating a strong foundation for the fake teeth to be attached.
After the implants have completely adhered to the jaw bone the periodontist will then perform a minor procedure to expose the implants. The periodontist attaches a small healing collar to the end of the titanium anchor to allow the gums to heal around the implant.
After the titanium anchors are exposed the doctor will prepare them for tooth attachment. Measurements will be taken to make sure the fake teeth fit properly and look aesthetically pleasing. Next, the teeth will be either cemented or screwed into the anchor posts. However, in some cases, additional attachments or bars may be used to help form a base for dentures or other implants.
Recovery and Maintenance
Finally, you are going to need to maintain your dental implants. Although they are fake teeth they still require the same upkeep as real teeth. This means brushing and flossing on a regular basis to prevent gum disease. During the healing process, you may also be instructed to eat softer foods and take specific medications. The total healing time may take up to 9 months. The first 6 months waiting for the anchors to adhere to the teeth and additional visits for the placement of the fake teeth. However, in some cases, temporary teeth may be placed the same day as the surgery or soon after.
With any surgical procedure, there is the possibility of complications. Some common complications include infection, implant rejection, and bone loss. Check out our resource on common dental implant problems.