Dental implant surgery is typically an outpatient procedure that is performed in various stages, the first of which is the removal of the damaged tooth. The jawbone is then prepared for oral surgery, which may involve bone grafting.
Once the jawbone heals, the oral surgeon next implants the metal post into the jawbone. A healing period that usually lasts for several months follows. Finally, the abutment (an implant metal post extension) is put in place, followed by the crown or the new artificial tooth.
From beginning to end, the whole procedure may take anywhere from three to 9 months, or even longer, depending on the amount of time required for healing, as well as, waiting for the new bone to grow in the jaw.
When Bone Grafting Is Necessary
Bone grafting may be required before you can undergo a dental implant procedure, particularly if your jawbone is too soft or not thick enough. This is because the oral surgery will be useless if your bone cannot support the implant in withstanding the great pressure from the mouth’s powerful chewing action. A bone graft provides the implant with a more solid base.
Placing the Dental Implant
The oral surgeon cuts your gum to expose the bone during the surgery. Holes are then drilled on the spot intended for the implant metal post. Because of the gap temporarily created by the missing tooth, a temporary denture may be placed.
Waiting for Bone Growth
Osseointegration starts after the metal post is implanted in the jawbone. It is characterized by the jawbone growing and uniting with the dental implant surface. This can take as much as six months.
Placing the Abutment
The next stage involves placing the abutment where the crown will be attached. This involves the following steps: opening the gum to expose the dental implant, attachment of the abutment to the implant, and closing the gum tissue around (not over) the abutment.
Closing the New Artificial Teeth
The gums are allowed to heal for a week or two before the oral surgeon attaches the artificial tooth. More impressions of your mouth, as well as, remaining teeth will be taken. The crown cannot be put in place unless the jawbone becomes strong enough to support the new tooth.
After the Surgery
You may experience the following after undergoing dental implant surgery, whether done in a single or multiple stages: gum and face swelling, bruising in the gums and skin, pain at the site of the implant, and some minor bleeding. Painkillers or antibiotics may be prescribed if the discomfort, surgery, or other problems you experience get worse a few days after the procedure. It is best that you immediately contact the oral surgeon.
While a dental implant surgery may be tedious, not to mention expensive, the benefits you will enjoy are worth it. For one, you will have new teeth that not only look natural, but function like natural teeth as well.