A dental implant is used to replace missing or broken teeth. Dental implants require a surgical procedure; you may need to visit your dentist several times to complete the installation. Dental implants are permanent additions that look and feel almost identical to normal teeth. This procedure is a great choice for both small dental problems and complete oral restorations.

Why Did the Dentist Recommend a Dental Implant?

Dental implants are often the best way to permanently replace missing teeth. Bridges, dentures, and other replacements are meant to be temporary solutions. If used in the long term, they can potentially damage the surrounding bone and tissue.

A dental implant surgery fuses a titanium plate to your jawbone. This plate acts as the “roots” for your new teeth. Dental implants won’t move or decay like normal teeth; even if you lose the attached crown, the implant will remain in place and can be used for other replacements.

If your dentist recommended a dental implant, it means that you have missing or severely damaged teeth, normal oral health, and a strong supporting jawbone. Some dental implants can support multiple replacement teeth, so you may only need four or six implants to replace the teeth on an entire arch.

How Long Will the Dental Implant Surgery Take?

Some dental implant surgeries can be performed in a single day; others require multiple visits. Your dentist will inform you of the extent of your procedure. A standard dental implant surgery requires five separate visits.

  1. Your first visit will include a full dental examination and the presentation of a treatment plan. You will likely book an appointment for the first stage of your surgery during this visit.
  2. The base of your implant is installed during your initial surgery. Once the implant has been successfully attached, you will need to wait several weeks for your jawbone to integrate with and support the implant.
  3. Your dentist will check on your surgery and attach the abutment during your third visit. The abutment is a small post to which your new tooth will be affixed. Some abutments are attached during the first part of the surgery, so this visit may not be necessary. Either way, the dentist will check on the health of your implant and send you out the door with a temporary tooth.
  4. The fourth visit will be used to take an impression of your mouth and select a permanent crown. The dentist may present you with several material options. They will also perform a checkup to make sure that your surgery has completely healed.
  5. Your permanent tooth will be installed on your fifth visit. This replica has been manufactured to fit perfectly in your mouth; it can sometimes take several weeks to order and receive the final tooth.

Depending on the condition of your mouth, the dentist may recommend additional visits. These visits might include removing the damaged tooth, checking on the success of your surgery, and confirming the fit of your crown before ordering the permanent version.

Some patients may need a bone graft or other treatment to be able to support an implant. Bone grafts are recommended for thin, weak, or damaged jawbones; both natural and synthetic bone graft options are available. Your dentist will inform you if a graft or another additional procedure is necessary for your implant.

The entire implant process is typically completed over a few months. Ask your dentist for an exact timeframe that considers your personal needs.

How to Prepare for Your Surgery

All patients need to undertake a comprehensive exam before they can be considered for dental implant surgery. Your dentist will take X-rays, review any existing medical conditions, and make a recommendation that fits within your budget.

Your dentist may present you with pre-surgery instructions. Follow their recommendations to make your appointment as successful as possible.

  • Your dentist may recommend that you take antibiotics or rinse your mouth with an anti-bacterial mouthwash a few days before the surgery. Otherwise, you should follow your normal oral care routine.
  • Get a full night’s sleep and eat a healthy breakfast before your surgery. Any medical procedure will be more successful if you are in good health.
  • If you will be sedated, you may be asked to avoid eating for 12 or more hours. Ask y