With a success rate of 98% the dental implant procedure is much sought-after as a tooth replacement option for many people around the world. Dental implants are especially popular with patients who have had uncomfortable dentures or inconvenient bridgework done but because the procedure requires surgery, most patients have lots of questions. Let’s have a look at the ins and outs of dental implant surgery.
What Is A Dental Implant?
Unlike dentures or a dental bridge which both site above your gum line, a dental implant needs to be embedded into your jaw in order to work. The implant performs the role of artificial tooth roots and therefore needs to be surgically embedded into your jaw.
Dental implants are typically made out of titanium, a metal that is well tolerated by the human body because of its bio-compatibility. While it is possible to have a metal allergy, these cases are very rare and most implant candidates do well with titanium implants.
What Is Involved In Dental Implant Surgery?
Before you can move forward with implant surgery you will need a very comprehensive dental exam to be carried out. No two cases are ever the same and this exam is what will determine which processes must be followed for your personal implant procedure.Some considerations that affect dental implant surgery and timelines include:
How healthy are your teeth and what condition is your jaw in?
If your tooth has only been recently lost you are unlikely to have significant bone loss and should be able to move forward without a bone graft. If you have experienced bone loss you may need a bone graft to stimulate new bone growth in your jaw so that it is strong enough to support your dental implant.
How healthy is your body?
A large percentage of the dental implant process will be spent healing. The healthier you are, the faster your jaw will heal and the quicker the dental implant surgery can be completed.
How Long Does A Dental Implant Procedure Take?
On average dental implants take between 6 and 12 months to complete. The exact period of time depends on you.
Following your dentist’s hygiene instructions and attending all of your follow up appointments can help you to stay on track and complete the process in line with your treatment plan.
How Does A Dental Implant Procedure Work?
Once you have agreed to your treatment plan the first step is to get you ready for surgery. For some patients this means the damaged tooth must first be removed. If the tooth has already been extracted an incision will be made to open your gum up so your dentist can get to the bone underneath.
The implant will be surgically embedded into your jaw and then closed up. You will need to wait for a few months for the site of the surgery to heal completely before your dentist can place the abutment. You may have a temporary crown placed over the implant while this happens.
How Long Will You Take To Heal From Dental Implant Surgery?
The healing period is so that your body can integrate these new tooth roots into your jaw. Think about the force that you bite your food with – your new tooth needs to be able to perform in the same way as the rest of the teeth in your mouth. This process is called osseointegration and if it is not completed properly or fully, your dental implant will fail. This part of the dental implant process can take up to three months to be completed.
Once your dentist is happy with your progress after the dental implant surgery he or she will call you back to have the abutment placed. The abutment is an extension that connects the implant to the crown and in some cases, might be placed at the same time as the implant.
Your gum needs to be opened up again for this to take place, and again, a healing period will apply before your final crown can be placed.
Your dentist will cast a crown to match the other teeth in your mouth and place it once you are fully healed.
Do you have questions about the dental implant procedure and what you can expect from dental implant surgery? We’d love to hear from you. Contact our practice today to speak to a professional: 02 9476 1211