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Steps During a Dental Implant Procedure: Everything You Need To Know

The dental implant procedure involves minor surgery to place the implant, a small post to support replacement teeth. This is recommended for patients with one or more missing teeth to help them achieve a more beautiful smile. If you are considering this treatment, it’s always a good idea to be aware of the dental implant process to ensure you are fully informed and prepared to make a decision.

Read on to learn more about dental implant placement, including how long it takes and the potential risks of this dental treatment.

Dental implants are tiny screw-like metal posts, often made of titanium materials. These titanium posts are surgically placed in the jaw bone and act as artificial tooth roots or anchors to hold replacement teeth. After placement, the implant can support dental crowns, bridges, or dentures (or artificial teeth). In most cases, dental implants have three components, which are:

  • The implant post
  • The implant post or screw is the metal surgically placed in the jawbone and acts as the root for a replacement tooth.

  • The abutment
  • The abutment is a small connector that attaches to the implant post or screw, which will hold and support the final restoration.

  • The restoration
  • This is the replacement tooth or teeth that will be placed on top of the abutment. As mentioned, this could be a dental bridge, crown, or denture.  
dental office visit, female patient talking to doctor, dentist making notes

Why Should I Get Dental Implants?

You should consider undergoing a dental implant procedure if you lost one or more of your teeth due to periodontal disease, injury, or old age. While it is more expensive than other tooth replacement options, the benefits of dental implants are vast.

These include:

  • Enhanced appearance
  • Dental implants can replace individual or multiple missing teeth, so you regain confidence, especially when smiling and talking to people.

  • Restored teeth function
  • Implants can restore the function of your teeth, allowing you to chew and speak properly. Since they look and feel like your natural teeth, you can go about your daily activities without hassle.

  • Prevent bone loss
  • Dental implants use the jawbone, which helps prevent it from shrinking due to tooth loss. This helps keep your facial structure intact and prevents further tooth loss in the future.

  • Encourage bone growth
  • As the jawbone is stimulated, it may increase in density and strength.

  • Improved oral health
  • Implants replace missing teeth, so you can continue practising good oral hygiene and maintain a healthy mouth. And because implants don’t require the enamel removal of adjacent teeth, they help maintain your natural tooth structure.

  • Long-term investment
  • Dental implants are an excellent option if you seek longevity and durability. They last longer than other tooth replacement options, such as bridges or dentures. On average, their lifespan is 10 to 15 years, but they can last up to 25 years with proper care.

What Are the Steps During a Dental Implant Procedure?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to the dental implant process:

  • Initial Consultation
    At your initial appointment, your dentist or oral surgeon will examine you to determine if you are a good candidate for implants or other tooth replacement options. During this visit, they may take X-rays and impressions of your teeth and gums to help with the treatment planning. They will also ask about your medical history, any medications you may be taking, and your oral health.

  • Creation of an Individualised Treatment Plan
    Your dentist will develop a detailed treatment plan that includes the placement of the implant post(s), the abutment(s), and the restoration(s). Once everything’s been agreed upon, the next step is scheduling a surgical procedure for implant placement.

  • Implant Osseointegration
    The implant posts need to heal and fuse with your jawbone for osseointegration. This is a process in which your body accepts the implants as part of its own structure. It involves stimulating your jawbone and encouraging it to regrow and form a strong bond with the implant. Depending on your individual recovery rate, this process can take three to six months.

  • Abutment Placement
    Once osseointegration is complete and the implants are integrated into your jawbone, your dentist will schedule another visit to attach abutments. This involves reopening the gums to expose the implant and attaching the abutment to the implant post. They may also take impressions of your teeth to create a custom restoration such as a crown, bridge, or denture.

  • Replacement Teeth Placement
    Finally, your dentist will place your customised restoration and make sure it fits properly. This is a pain-free process that doesn’t take long. You’ll notice a huge improvement in your smile immediately after placement.

  • Follow Up Appointments
    Your dentist may schedule follow-up appointments for further evaluation and adjustments, if needed. Attending these regularly is important so they can monitor how well you’re healing from the procedure. Additionally, practising good oral hygiene habits and visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups is essential to ensuring the implant stays in good condition.
dentist and client looking the teeth of the client in the mirror in a clinic

Dental Implant Placement

  • Before starting your dental implant placement, your dentist will give you local anaesthesia to numb the area. In some cases, sedatives (such as IV, oral, or inhalation) or general anaesthesia may be used if the surgery is complex or the patient has dental anxiety.

  • Your dentist will make incisions in the gums to expose the jawbone and drill pilot holes. The implant posts will be inserted into these holes and then sealed with stitches. Sometimes these sutures are absorbable and don’t need to be removed, but in some cases, you may need to return to the clinic after a week or two to have them removed. Also, your dentist may need to put temporary crowns or bridges in place while the implants heal.

  • Before you go home, your dentist will give you specific instructions to care for the surgery site to avoid infection and manage discomfort during your healing time. They will also prescribe pain medications to help manage the pain associated with the surgery.

How Long Does Dental Implant Treatment Take?

The dental implant process can take several months to complete, depending on the complexity of your case. On average, the entire treatment can take eight to nine months to complete. Your initial consultation may last an hour or two, and the actual dental implant placement surgery can also take two hours. On the other hand, the healing process may take three to six months, while the abutment placement takes one or two hours.

What Additional Procedures Are Performed in Preparation for Dental Implant Surgery?

In some cases, there are necessary procedures that you should take before you can undergo this oral surgery. These include:

  • Tooth extraction
  • Tooth removal may be necessary if the tooth you’re replacing is severely decayed or infected.

  • Sinus lift
  • This procedure is necessary if you don’t have enough bone density in the upper jaw. The dentist will add bone material to increase bone volume, making it easier for your implants to be placed and fuse with the jawbone.

  • Dental bone graft
  • This is necessary if you don’t have sufficient bone density in the lower jaw. This procedure adds additional bone material to the area to create a stronger and more stable foundation for your implant posts. Sometimes, these procedures can be done separately or together during one surgery. Each of these adds several weeks or even months to your overall treatment timeline. Your dentist will decide which option is needed for your individual situation.

What Are Same-Day Dental Implants?

Same-day implants are a faster and more convenient alternative to traditional dental implants. This option involves placing the implant post, abutment, and restoration in one day. Same-day dental implants can be performed if you have enough bone density for immediate placement and healthy gum tissue to support the procedure.

The same-day implant process usually starts with your dentist taking impressions of your teeth to create a customised restoration. After this is done, they will place the implant posts into your jawbone during a surgical procedure that usually takes an hour or two. After the posts are placed, your customised restoration will be placed on top and secured with a special adhesive.

Overall, the entire procedure can be completed in one day, and you’ll leave the office with a beautiful smile. However, same-day implants may not be suitable for everyone and must be approved by your dentist beforehand. Also, they are not as long-lasting as traditional dental implants. That’s why discussing the pros and cons with your dentist before proceeding with this option is important.

What Are the Risks of Dental Implant Surgery?

Just like with any other medical procedure, there are risks associated with dental implant surgery. Some of the most common complications include:

  • Nerve or tissue damage
  • This is a condition wherein the implant posts cause damage to the nearby nerves, leading to numbness and tingling in the area. This may be due to the implant being placed too close to a nerve.

  • Infection
  • An infection around the implants is called peri-implantitis. It occurs due to smoking, poor oral hygiene, bruxism, diabetes, a compromised immune system, or an allergic reaction to the implants. It can also be due to bacteria that enter the jawbone through the implant.

  • Sinus problems
  • This can result when the implant posts are placed too close to the sinus cavities, leading to pain and difficulty breathing.

  • Implant failure
  • The success rate for dental implant surgery is high, but in rare cases, implants fail due to an infection or other reasons, including implant rejection, insufficient bone density, smoking, poor oral hygiene, or certain medical conditions like diabetes.

How Are These Risks Minimised?

While the risks of tooth implants are rare, it’s essential to follow certain steps to reduce the risks. These include:

  • Follow your dentist’s advice
  • Your dentist can provide a comprehensive plan for preparing for the surgery and caring for your implant after it’s placed properly.

  • Quit smoking
  • Smoking can increase your risk of dental implant failure, so you should consider quitting if you want successful results.

  • Maintain good oral hygiene
  • A consistent, good oral care routine is essential before and after the procedure, as poor oral hygiene can lead to an increased risk of infection and complications. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day to remove any food debris or plaque.

  • Avoid crunchy and hard foods
  • Avoid these types of foods, as they can put too much pressure on the implant posts.

Final Thoughts

Dental implants are an excellent option for replacing missing teeth and restoring your smile. The entire process is done in stages, resulting in a secure and natural-looking restoration. It’s important to visit your dentist for regular check-ups and follow their instructions to ensure the success of the dental implant treatment. Additionally, ask about any potential risks associated with the procedure so you can make an informed decision before committing to it.

If you have more questions about this dental procedure, contact South Perth Dental Surgery today. We will sit down with you to discuss every procedure we do during a dental implant treatment and answer any questions you may have. Our clinic is equipped with modern technology and dentists with years of experience to provide you with quality care.

Frequently Asked Questions

This depends on how complex your case is. For instance, if you need multiple implants or your mouth is too small for the implant posts, your dentist may suggest general anaesthesia or sedation to make you more comfortable during the procedure. This may also be the case if you have a fear of needles or dental anxiety.

This varies from person to person since some implant patients recover faster than others. In general, you can go to work the day after your surgery. But if you received more than one implant, you may need to take at least two days off to allow swelling, discomfort, and bruising to subside.

You can return to your regular diet for about a week after surgery. On the first two days, you may need to consume only soft foods or liquids to avoid irritating the implant area, and then start introducing semi-solid foods, such as mashed potatoes or oatmeal. After a week, you can start eating your regular diet, but avoid hard and crunchy foods that may damage the implant or cause discomfort.

The cost of a dental implant procedure differs depending on the complexity of your case, the type of implant, the type of replacement teeth you need, how many implants you need, your location and dentist, whether or not you have dental insurance, and whether or not you need additional procedures, such as bone grafting, dental extraction, or a sinus lift. But on average, the cost of a dental implant starts at \$5,000 to \$7,000 per tooth.

Call Us Today to Schedule Your Dental Appointment

South Perth Dental Surgery has been providing high-quality dental care to families for over 30 years. Our team of experienced dentists offer extensive world-class services and stays current with the latest dental technology so we can help keep your smile looking great.
Make an appointment with us today and see what we have to offer!