In the 21st century, a tooth extraction has stopped being a tragedy. Modern technologies allow patients to enjoy new teeth at any age. Opting for an implant is an excellent way to acquire a new tooth without damaging the ones nearby with dental bridges.
Even though dental implants is a common procedure, dentists are yet to discover how to make the implanting process shorter. It takes from 6 to 18 months for patients to finally get a new tooth. Thankfully, once the procedure is done, they can forget about tooth problems for many years.
Patients who are planning to get a dental implant often worry about the complexity of the procedure. We asked San Diego dental implants experts from Bajars and Bajars to bring the implanting process into focus and alleviate general concerns.
1. Consulting The Dentist
Many factors affect the patient’s readiness for the procedure and the steps the dentist takes to get the job done. During the initial doctor’s visit, patients talk about overall medical history, describe their concerns and wishes.
Then the doctor does an x-ray of the teeth, takes the impressions, goes over the previous teeth treatment records, and discusses the next steps.
Before going for an initial consultation, it’s important to do at least a little research about the procedure and jot down the question you would want the doctor to answer. More often than not, patients get nervous during the visit and forget to discuss important matters.
2. Bone Grafting
This is not a compulsory step for every patient. However, if the jaw is damaged or diseased, it can’t handle an implant. That’s why it needs help. Grafting is a surgical procedure, which involves bone transplantation to reinforce the jawbone.
For the procedure, a surgeon takes a bone from any area of your body or, which is more likely today, special grafting material, and grafts it to the jawbone. After the procedure, you have to wait four to twelve months for the bone to become strong enough to handle the implant.
Sometimes, patients need only a minor bone grafting procedure, which can be done during the implantation. The nature of the grafting surgery needs to be discussed with your dentist.
Once your jaw is ready, you go for an implanting surgery. The surgery is major so it requires anesthesia. You discuss the type of anesthesia with your surgeon:
- Local anesthesia – used in most cases, can be coupled with sedation
- General anesthesia – recommended for some patients, usually when the surgery is expected to last long
Sometimes, patients choose general anesthesia over local one if they believe they can’t handle a long surgery psychologically. The implanting procedure usually takes about one to two hours.
Once the implant is screwed into the jawbone, you have to wait for about half a year for the jaw to heal and the implant to become an integral part of it. The upper jaw usually heals longer than the lower jaw.
4. Placing a Healing Cap
Once five months have passed, a dentist does an x-ray to ensure that the implant is fused to the bone properly. Then a surgeon makes a small incision to expose the top of the implant. After that, a healing cap (also called a collar) is placed on top of the implant in order to ensure the correct gum location.
The collar stays in place for about 10 to 14 days. Once the gums heal, the dentist removes the cap, and you are ready for the next step.
5. Installing An Abutment
An abutment looks like a screw, which is installed into the implant to create a support for the future crown. This procedure is not a surgery and doesn’t require anesthesia. Once the abutment is in place, the dentist makes an impression of the abutment in order to create a crown.
While the dentist is making the permanent crown, you’ll get a temporary one installed. It may take up to six weeks for the crown to be manufactured.
6. Placing a Crown
Manufacturing a crown can be a lengthy process, which may require several doctor’s visits for fittings. Once the crown fits perfectly, it’s cemented to the abutment, and your new tooth is ready.
Your doctor may recommend going easy on hard foods for a while. But pretty soon, you can start using the new tooth as you do the rest of them. An implant doesn’t require any special care. You need to clean and floss it as usual. With proper maintenance, the implant can last as long as 30 years.
Overall, the dental implant procedure is long and sometimes uncomfortable. However, it gives you a chance to enjoy a new and healthy tooth for decades. Each dental procedure is tailored to the patient. So it’s important to discuss all the details with your dentist before deciding on the implant.