Dental Implant Surgery Step By Step

Dental implants offer a second chance following tooth loss. This innovative treatment plan allows us to create an artificial tooth root using a small titanium screw. As the jaw bone heals around the implant and bonds with the material, we can then place a crown, bridge or denture on top of the implant to complete the restoration.

As you can probably imagine, this is not a simple dental procedure. It takes place in multiple steps with times of healing between each stage. This is why it can be so difficult to predict how long the procedure will take.

In this guide, we’re exploring the process of placing dental implants step by step. By the end of this article, you should have a much clearer idea of how this treatment works so you’ll be able to decide if it is right for you.

What is the general process of getting an implant?

Every patient is different, so the process might not look exactly the same for you. However, there are a few distinct stages of the implant surgery process that you should be aware of.

  1. Placing the dental implant. To do this, your dentist will make a small cut in the gum and then drill into the jaw bone to create a pocket. The implant is placed inside and then the gum is stitched closed to hold it in place. The implant bonds with the jawbone in a process known as osseointegration. This stage in the process can take varying lengths of time, depending on how quickly you heal.

  2. Placing a healing abutment. This part of the implant sits above the gum line, so to attach the two your dentist will need to make a small incision in your gum again. The abutment is attached to the top of the implant and then the gum is contoured around the abutment to create a natural-looking finish.

  3. Placing the final restoration. When the gum has healed, you can then be measured for your final restoration. We’ll use digital scans and impressions to create a crown, bridge or denture that is perfect for your mouth. There may be another wait while the dental lab prepares your final restoration.

In general, the entire process could take anywhere from 6 months to over a year. There are additional steps that might be required that will extend the treatment time. This includes tooth extractions and bone grafting.

Other treatment plans for dental implants – such as the All-On-4 treatment plan – will be completed much more quickly. With this treatment, longer implants are placed at an angle and this allows us to place a load-bearing denture on the same day.

What are the steps in an implant procedure?

Let’s explore the steps in the process in more detail. The first step will always be a consultation. You cannot start dental implant treatment without an in-depth consultation with your implant surgeon and often the implant treatment coordinator.

The consultation

The consultation is a chance to ask questions about the treatment and ensure that you are fully clued up on the treatment plan before you get started. It’s also a chance for your dentist to examine your teeth and jaw to determine if you are a suitable candidate. They might take X-rays and carry out a CT scan to get a better picture of your oral health.

Planning your treatment

If you choose to go ahead with treatment, you will work with the treatment coordinator to choose a start date for your plan. Your treatment coordinator will also help you to understand the financing options available to you. You’ll now have your treatment start date.

Note: If you require extractions of broken teeth or a bone graft, these treatments will be carried out before you start your dental implant treatment. Your dentist will then scan your teeth and jaw again after this treatment to ensure you are ready to begin.

Placing the implant

The next step in the treatment plan is to place your dental implant. This is a surgical procedure that takes place in the dentist’s chair. You will have local anaesthetic, not general anaesthetic, so you’ll be awake for the process. You should not experience any pain when your dentist places your implant, and the recovery should be no more uncomfortable than a routine extraction.

Osseointegration

The next stage in the process requires waiting until the implant has bonded with the bone and completely healed. It’s difficult to predict how long this will take as everyone is different. It’s vital that you take care of your teeth and gums during this time to minimise the risk that the implant could fail.

Placing the abutment

Once your implant has healed, you will return to the practice for the next stage in the treatment plan. This involves placing the abutment. Your dentist will make a small cut in your gum to expose the top of the implant. They will then attach the abutment and contour the gum around the abutment collar.

Creating your dental apparatus

You will then need to wait a few more weeks for your gum to heal entirely. Once the gum is healed, we can then start the process of creating your crown, bridge or denture. This step is completed once the implant is healed, as your teeth could have shifted in the meantime.

Placing the restoration

Once your crown, bridge or denture is ready, you’ll return for your fitting. At this stage, the implant process is complete. You will need to schedule regular checkups following the procedure to minimise the risk of rejection.

Final thoughts on the dental implant procedure

Every stage in the implant journey is subject to change, depending on how the healing process is going. You might need to wait longer, or your dentist might be able to move forward more quickly than anticipated.

This is why it’s vital to work closely with your treatment coordinator to ensure a smooth process. If you’re prepared for delays along the way, you will be much less likely to be disappointed by the progress.

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