Den­tal Implant Process Step By Step

Den­tal implants are an inno­v­a­tive treat­ment plan that can trans­form the lives of patients. This treat­ment is the only per­ma­nent replace­ment for miss­ing teeth that actu­al­ly mim­ics the role of a nat­ur­al tooth root. It is not only a restora­tive treat­ment, but it also helps to pre­vent fur­ther dete­ri­o­ra­tion of the jawbone.

If you are missing one or more teeth, dental implants could offer a way to close the gap in your smile and restore complete functionality to your jaw. The best way to determine if this treatment plan is right for you is to visit our practice for a dental implants consultation.

In this guide, we’re exploring the dental implant process, step by step, so you can determine if this treatment plan is right for you.

Initial consultation

Your initial consultation is a chance for your dentist to learn more about you and for you to learn more about the treatment. You will have a full examination, X-rays and CT scans. This information will be paired with your patient history and questions about your lifestyle to give your dentist a complete picture of your suitability for treatment.

If you are a good candidate for this treatment, your dentist will explain the plan and then work with you to create a schedule that works for you.

It’s important to remember that you need to remain a little bit flexible with the dental implant treatment plan, as everyone heals at different rates. This means you might wait longer between procedures than another patient.

It’s a good idea to write down any questions you have about the treatment so that you don’t forget. Common questions include:

  • How long do you expect the treatment will take?

  • Is there a risk the treatment could fail?

  • How much does it cost?

  • Will the treatment hurt?

  • What can I eat after the treatment

  • Can I remove the implant at a later date?

Placing the implant

The first step in the treatment plan is to place the implant in your jaw. To do this, your dentist will first need to extract teeth if they have not already been removed. If there is a gap, the process is simpler. Your dentist makes a small cut in the gum to expose the jaw bone.

They then use a tool to create a small pocket in the jaw bone and place the implant inside. They then suture the gum closed to hold the implant in place. Your body then takes over the process and begins to bond with the implant.

The jaw bone will heal around the implant, creating a strong bond that allows the implant to become an anchor for the tooth restoration.

Placing the abutment

Once the jaw bone has healed around the implant, we can then move to the next stage in the process. The next step involves placing an abutment on top of the implant. To do this, your dentist needs to make a small cut in the gum to expose the top of the implant. The abutment is attached and this sits exposed above the gum line.

Your dentist may contour the gums around the abutment, as this will help to create the most natural finish possible. Your gum is then left to heal around the abutment, which is a much faster process than waiting for the jaw bone to heal. You may need to wear a temporary denture or bridge over the abutment to protect it.

Top with a crown

When the gum is healed, we can then place the crown on top of the abutment. This is the final stage in the restoration. After this point, you will be able to smile, speak and chew again as you did before.

You will also need to care for your dental implant crown as you would a natural tooth to ensure bacteria isn’t able to build up. While the dental implant part is designed to last a lifetime, the crown may need to be replaced or repaired over the years. Most implant crowns will last for around 10-15 years with good care.

Follow up appointments

After your treatment is complete, we recommend you visit the dentist every 6 months for a checkup. You should also commit to regular dental hygienist cleanings. This will offer the best possible line of defence against bacteria build up that could cause issues with your implant.

Regular checkups will also enable your dentist to spot signs of deterioration of your crown which could indicate that it needs to be replaced or repaired. And finally, you will also have the peace of mind knowing that you can always ask questions if you are unsure about anything.

Ongoing care and support

While dental implants offer many benefits over alternatives such as dentures of bridges, they are not a completely care-free option. You’ll need to make sure you are brushing your teeth well to help prevent gum disease. Gum disease can lead to a painful condition called peri-implantitis. This can cause inflammation around the implant which causes it to come loose.

If this happens, the only option would be to remove the implant and allow the area to heal. After this has healed, it isn’t always possible to place another implant. This is why it is vital that you commit to taking good care of your teeth.

You’ll also need to avoid certain habits such as smoking, as this could create the ideal conditions for peri-implantitis to develop. By working closely with your dentist, you can avoid many of these risks and keep your dental implants healthy for a lifetime.

Final thoughts

If you still have questions about the dental implant process and how it could help you, we encourage you to get in touch with our team. During your initial consultation, you can learn more about how the treatment works and if you are a suitable candidate.

If dental implants aren’t right for you, we may be able to offer alternative treatment options such as a bridge or denture.