What is Involved in Getting a Dental Implant?

There are various options for replacing missing teeth. All dentists recommend dental implants as the only option which supports facial and cheek muscles and preserves the natural bone. Below are aspects of what patients might expect when they decide to get implants.

Consultation

Before dentists begin any form of treatment, they examine the teeth, gums, and bone with X-rays and 3-D scans to evaluate the bone thickness and find an ideal location for the implants. Insurance and cost benefits are part of the initial consultation. Patients may be required to make two trips to the dental office, the first trip being for purposes of gathering scans, X-rays, and any other data and the second to enable the dentist to recommend the options and the expected costs.

Surgery

After the dentist and client decide on the dental implant option, the next appointment is for the dentist to perform the all on 4 dental implant surgery. The dentist uses local anesthesia to enable patients to remain comfortable during the procedure. The professional will then place the implants on the jawbone, do the stitches, and use special dressings to protect the area. Patients may experience soreness and mild bruising and may obtain pain medication over the counter to ease any lingering soreness or pain.

Bone Regrowth

In this process, the jawbone and the implant grow together. It may take several weeks, depending on the health of a patient’s jawbones, before the procedure. Patients can go about their everyday life while taking care to prevent damage to temporary crowns or the implant by eating mainly soft foods.

Abutment Placement

Once the implant fully grows into the jawbone, an abutment, a small knob-like connector, is positioned on top of the implant. The abutment is attached the same day the implant is placed for some patients.

Crown Placement

The dentist will make a custom-designed bridge, crown, or denture when the jawbone and gums heal. The dentist will attach them permanently to the implant abutments when the patient is ready.

Maintenance

Implant-supported bridges and crowns require regular maintenance like natural teeth. The dentist recommends checkups and routine cleaning intervals to make crowns and implants last for a lifetime. Patients are advised to do research first to determine the best choice for dental implants. Consider reviewing the dental insurance benefits to establish whether there is coverage for implants.