So, you’re considering dental implants as a tooth replacement option but can’t quite get your head around the tooth implant procedure.
Maybe you have visions of living on liquidised dinners as part of your dental implant recovery diet, or maybe you just don’t know what to expect after dental implant surgery. Whatever your thoughts, don’t worry because we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about undergoing the dental implant process – Hint…it’s not as daunting as you might think. So without further ado, let’s get underway.
Dental implant procedure timeline
Stage 1 – The dental consultation
All tooth implant procedures start with a consultation. Many dentists including ours will have promotional offers on consultations from time to time. This means that anyone considering dental implants as a tooth replacement option can visit a dental implants dentist and get all their questions and concerns answered. In our case and currently, this service is free!
During the dental consultation our dentist will also quickly assess your overall health as patients need to be in reasonably good condition. Problems such as
- Heart conditions
- Certain cancers (particularly around the face and neck area) and
- Uncontrolled diabetes
These mean that surgery may be compromised and therefore may be deemed too much of a risk.
In addition, our dentist will also ask you questions about your lifestyle. In particular if you’re a smoker, as this can contribute to dental implant failure.
Our dental implant dentist will also be happy to discuss your specific situation and take some diagnostic X-rays.
From these results, our dentist will let you know whether you’re a good candidate for the procedure.
Stage 2 – Dental Diagnostic testing
If you decide to proceed, then you’re going to be returning to our dental practice to undergo what’s known as a diagnostic testing. In reality, it gives our dentist the chance to see what type of dental implants are best suited for your needs. We’ll take some further X rays using our state-of-the-art 3D cone-beamed scanners which provide our dentist with an insider’s view of your teeth, mouth, and jaw. From these images, precise measurements are taken, and, in our case, virtual mock-up’s are made.
Stage 3 – It’s all in the planning
As a digital dentist, the planning stage is where most of the work is carried out. The good news for you is that you don’t even have to be present!
Instead, using your 3D image, our dental team will perform what is known as virtual implant surgery. By planning out your surgery beforehand, they can be sure of avoiding any problematic nerves or sinus cavities located in the upper or lower parts of the mouth They can also gauge the exact depth and trajectory of the implant, thus hugely limiting the risk of any issues when physically attaching the dental implant itself.
So that’s the tooth implant procedure up till now! The next stage of the procedure however does involve your full participation.
Stage 4 – The dental surgery itself
Dental implants surgery is naturally the part that most people dread, but what if we told you that it will be over within 10-20 minutes and that the dental implant procedure is almost painless? It’s true!
You see, under a local anaesthetic we utilise an oral flapless surgical technique. During the planning stage, computer generated surgical guides are made and then used to insert the dental implant through the gum and directly into the jawbone at the exact position.
In order to do this a tiny keyhole incision is made just large enough for the implant to fit into. This means that there is very little blood (if any) and therefore, no need for sutures. In addition there is very little swelling.
In fact, most people tell us that they’re surprised at how quick and easy the digital dental implants process is.
As far as the dental implant procedure timeline goes, the time taken up until this point is usually a few weeks or less. But now, the next stage can take a little more time, and you know what they say…you can’t rush nature!
Stage 5 – Osseointegration – Letting nature take its course!
Sounds like a daunting word, but what it actually means is the process by which the remaining bone tissue merges and fuses with your titanium dental implant. This is a vital part of the dental implants procedure and is what creates a strong foundation upon which to place a crown or bridge or to support a denture. Full osseointegration can take anywhere between 2-6 months depending upon each individual. But don’t worry, you’ll be fitted with a temporary crown during this time so you can continue any normal activities.
Stage 6 – Reassessment and abutment fitting
At some point during the 2-6 month point after initial surgery, you’ll be called back to us to assess whether full integration has taken place and that the implant root is strong enough to take an abutment. If so, the abutment (a small socket that extends above the gum and connects the crown to the implant) is cemented in place. Then an impression is taken. This will be used to create your permanent crown.
Stage 7 – Final dental fitting
Somewhere between the 4 and 9 month point you’ll be called back for one last time to have your temporary crown removed and your permanent teeth/crowns fitted. Teeth are then checked for bite and comfort before being cemented into position.
Oh, and one last thing…
What about post-surgery recovery?
Many people are rightly concerned about post-surgery recovery and how long it will take. The short answer is that everyone is different. Typically however, it takes anywhere between 2 days to 2 weeks depending upon the number of implants placed.
After the dental implant procedure patients may find that they feel a little sore. So as well as a course of over-the-counter-antibiotics, patients may (for the first few days at least) consider changing their diet in order to avoid direct contact with the implant.
A good dental implant recovery diet includes:
- Healthy smoothies or juices
On the flip side you may want to avoid hard foods such as
- Chewy meat
- Crunchy vegetables
- Crisp apples etc…
If before reading this you were asking the question “What is a tooth implant procedure?” Hopefully now you know. More importantly, it isn’t as bad as you might have first thought!
If you have any further questions about the digital tooth implant procedure, or the tooth implant surgery, then why not take advantage of our time sensitive, free initial consultation! Book a dental appointment today by contacting us on 02 8074 3849.