Before You Go
Questions to ask your doctor:
- Will drinking red wine and other tinted food and drink discolor my dental implants?
- How much time will it take to get used to the new tooth or teeth?
- If the dental implant is uncomfortable, can it be adjusted?
- Can I wear dentures if I only replace a few missing teeth with a dental implant?
Pre-procedure prep for dental implants: Dental implants typically require more than one surgical procedure. You'll be evaluated thorougly before each procedure. You will have a complete dental exam, including x-rays of your jaw. Models of your teeth are then made to determine the optimal size and shape of the implants.
What To Expect
To begin, a titanium post is drilled into the jawbone through the socket of the missing tooth by a periodontist or dental surgeon. Next, an abutment is attached to the post, allowing a crown (a fake tooth) to be attached. Each of these phases may be split into separate appointments, adding up to three or four trips back to the office over three to six months. Your mouth may be bruised, sore, or swollen after each visit.
Who should do it: Dentists are not required by law to be licensed to insert implants. However, it makes sense to go to a specialist. Prosthodontists, periodontists, and oral maxillofacial surgeons specialize in performing dental implant surgery. An oral maxillofacial specialist must have four years of training in a surgical residency program.
Duration: Dental implants can be finished after three or four appointments. The length of each appointment varies based on the doctor you see and the extent of work completed during each visit. During your consultation appointment, you'll be evaluated for your implants.
In the next phase, the dental implant will be drilled into your gums. About four months later, once the implants have become integrated into the structures of the mouth, you'll return to have abutments attached to the implants (the abutment will grip on to the final, natural-looking "crown," or tooth).
The final crowns are placed atop each abutment about six to eight weeks after this. A single crown may take under an hour, while many crowns can take more than an hour to adjust.
How Painful Is It?
The whole ordeal sounds a lot worse than it is. The procedure has been compared, discomfort-wise, to a tooth extraction, only less painful.
Options for anesthesia: You will be given anesthesia on the day you receive your dental implants. It may be given in the form of local anesthesia, a sedative, or general anesthesia.