Dental Implants 101 – What to Expect When Getting a Dental Implant
As a kid, when you lost a tooth, you probably got a visit from the Tooth Fairy. Now as an adult, it’s not exactly an exciting occasion when you lose a tooth. People of all ages lose teeth for various reasons. Whether a tooth is knocked out by a sudden impact, or falls out due to poor dental hygiene, there are always options for tooth replacement. Read on to learn more about the dental implant procedure and what to expect during dental implant surgery.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a screw-like piece of titanium that is surgically inserted into the jaw bone to simulate a tooth root. Once an implant is placed, it can be covered with a crown so that it looks, feels, and functions just like a real, natural tooth. Dental implant surgery has become a very popular tooth replacement procedure as the implants are long-lasting and successful in more than 99% of patients.
How long does the procedure take?
The procedure will vary depending on your specific needs. If you are just having a single tooth replaced, only one implant is needed. This procedure typically takes 1-2 hours from start to finish. If you are getting several or all of your teeth replaced, your dental surgeon may insert implant-supported bridges or a full denture. In this case, the procedure would be spread out over several appointments and can take up to several months to complete. If you need to have a damaged tooth removed before an implant is placed, this will add time to the procedure. Additionally, the length of the procedure depends on your overall oral health and which teeth are replaced.
Will it hurt?
Like any dental surgery, there may be some discomfort. Your dentist will likely provide you will a local anesthesia, I.V., or oral sedation to make the procedure more comfortable. After the surgery, your dentist will prescribe necessary medications to ease the recovery process.
What can I expect during the recovery process?
Immediately following surgery, you can expect your mouth to swell, bruise, and bleed at the site of implantation. You may find it more comfortable to eat only soft foods for a few days. Once the titanium implant is placed in your jaw, the bone begins to grow and merge with the implant. This process can take up to six months and during this time you can expect to experience some general discomfort. When the implant is successfully integrated with the bone and your gums are completely healed, you can then have molds made for a crown to be placed on the implant.
When the dental implantation process is complete, you will have a beautiful, natural-looking smile. Just like with real teeth, it’s important to take care of your implants by regularly brushing and flossing. If you have removable crowns or dentures, be sure to clean them often to avoid complications in the future.