If your doctor has told you that you are a good candidate for dental implants, you may wonder what the process can be like. It isn't a quick process, but in the end, you are going to end up with a replacement tooth that no one should be able to tell isn't your own tooth. The following details the three main steps of the process.
Getting a Bone Graft
Depending on how long the tooth has been missing, you may have to have a bone graft to strengthen the bone where the implant will go. If you need to have one, the dentist will take a donor bone and implant it in the area. It will take a few weeks for that graft to heal and fuse with your jawbone.
Installing the Implant
If you don't need to have a bone graft or your bone graft has healed, then it's time to get the implant. Your dentist should have taken impressions and x-rays so that they can tell what size the implant you are going to need is. In order to put the implant in, your dentist is going to have to separate the soft tissue from the bone. The dentist is going to need to see what they are doing so that the implant will be placed correctly. You will have at least a local anesthetic for this, but your doctor may suggest that you are fully anesthetized for the procedure, just to make it easier for you. The dentist will then place the implant in the socket, making sure to avoid getting any soft tissue in it. Then they will take an x-ray to make sure that the implant is placed correctly. It's better to check at this stage than it is to check later and find out that the implant wasn't placed correctly and have to redo it. Then the dentist will close up all the soft tissue and suture it around the implant so it can heal. At this point, you are going to be waiting for a couple of months for everything to heal before the next step.
Getting a Crown
Once everything has healed, your dentist will have you give x-rays again. This to check and make sure that the implant has fully integrated into the bone. If it hasn't, you may have to wait a little longer. If the implant post has integrated fully, then it's time to put the crown on. The crown will look just like your other teeth and will be hard to detect as not your own.
If you have more questions about the dental implant process, talk to a dentist like those at Tijeras Dental Service.