When you’ve made the decision to get a dental implant, you may experience some fear about what is next. Relax. The dental implant procedure is easier than you may think. While the dental implant procedure is not simple, just understanding what to expect from it will make you feel more comfortable and confident.

Are You a Good Candidate For Dental Implant Surgery?

The best candidate for implant surgery is a person who has the following characteristics:

  • Missing one or more teeth
  • Damaged tooth
  • Good oral hygiene
  • Sufficient bone in the jaw to support implants
  • Overall decent physical health

These are things you may discuss with your dentist to determine whether implant surgery is a good option for you.

The Main Steps of a Dental Implant

1. X-rays

To evaluate the prognostic expectations x-rays are needed. The different types of x-rays may be used to determine gum and bone condition or any other warnings. X-rays can help find problems that cannot be seen in a common oral exam. Finding and treating problems before the dental implant is an essential part of the procedure. X-rays are also important to understand whether you have enough bone tissue for implant installation.

2. Impressions

The next stage of the dental implant procedure is an impression. It will provide a model of your gums, teeth, and surrounding tissues. The doctor will fill a plastic or metal impression with a soft liquid, such as alginate or polyvinyl siloxane, which will set after a few minutes and become a solid rubber mass. The mold will then be removed from your mouth and sent to a lab for processing.

The impression process is absolutely comfortable except those who experience panic over not being able to open their mouth or have an intense gag reflex. Don’t be afraid to describe all these concerns with your dentist.

Many dentists use techniques that can help prevent you from gagging or panicking. Breathe deeply and don’t focus yourself on the procedure process. You may ask the doctor to turn on the music, listen to the beat, and relax. Your dentist should also try to distract you by asking general questions and assuring that the procedure is almost done. 

An impression doesn’t take much time. Remember that your mind is your own worst enemy. The dentist is on your side so if you need a little bit more time to calm down, just ask your doctor for it.

3. Tooth extraction

If the tooth still exists, it needs to be extracted. Both implant insertion and tooth extraction can be done at the same visit. The doctor will explain what type of anesthesia will be used. The procedure of tooth extraction doesn’t take much time. After anesthesia, while the doctor wiggles the tooth out, you may feel some pressure and tugging.

It will be forbidden to smoke, spit excessively, drink through a straw, or blow your nose during the 24h after the procedure as it may cause a dry socket and pain.

4. Implant

Next to the tooth extraction,, the dentist will drill a hole in your jawbone. The fillings will be similar to having a cavity drilled. Now you are ready for the implant. This is the metal screw that goes into your bone and serves as the support for the whole prosthesis. This procedure takes about 1-2 hours.

A bone graft may be necessary depending on the condition of your jawbone. This can be done with artificial bone materials during the implant process so you won’t even feel it. After the procedure is done you can safely drive home and perform your daily tasks. It is likely that a soft-food diet for up to a week will be recommended.

5. Abutment

After the implant is inserted the doctor will put an abutment on it. The abutment is screwed into the implant and will support the crown. After placing the abutment, the dentist will take one more impression for each replacement tooth.

Then a temporary crown is installed while the tissues will heal and form around the artificial tooth. While a permanent crown will be made, you will wear a  temporary one. This process can last up to 6 weeks.

6. Crown

The final stage of the procedure is the crown placing. The dentist will remove the temporary crown, put a permanent one, and voila! The dental implant procedure is done!

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