For some, the idea of having a tooth implant can be scary and intimidating. However, it does not have to be. To minimise your fears and apprehensions, here are some tooth implant basics you need to know and what you can expect from the process.
How long will the process take?
Several factors will determine the length of time needed for the procedure. Some of the key factors include:
- The patient’s dental health
- The total number of teeth involved
- The teeth that are to be replaced
- If there is a tooth extracted prior to the procedure
What is the process like?
Tooth implant is accomplished in two phases and the entire process can take from 6 to 9 months. The surgical phase is performed in the dental office using a local anaesthesia. It can also be done using IV sedation administered by an oral surgeon.
- Prior to placing the implant in the mouth surgically, the mouth will be numbed using local anaesthesia.
- An incision in the gums will be made. It is where the implant will go.
- A space in the bone for the implant will be created using a specialised drill.
- The implant will then be screwed in place.
- Once the implant is in place, a second component is screwed into the implant and will stay in place during the healing process.
- The gums will be closed over the implant and a stitch (or two) might be done.
- Over the next few months, the implant will become attached to the bone securely.
- The second phase will start with the re-exposure of the implant. Another small incision will be made in the gums to expose the implant.
- A small extension will be placed on the implant to take an impression. The component will be used by the lab to fit in the new crown.
- The dentist will start a series of appointments for the creation of the new implant crown. Creation of the impression of the teeth will be done during this phase. The impression will be used to create working models for the mouth. The working models are also carefully mounted so there is proper alignment. The crown will be fabricated based on these models.
- The last step will involve the final placement of the new crown. In some instances (depending on which tooth is restored), the dentist might fit in the new crown before it is finished to assess its fit and shape in the mouth.
Swelling and small bruises in the gums and soft tissues are considered normal after the procedure. The good thing is any discomfort can be easily treated using ordinary painkiller medications. In most cases, patients are able to get back to their usual routines and activities the very next day.
Just like the natural teeth, the tooth implant has to be cared for and checked regularly. Brushing and flossing will be recommended. Seeing the dentist every 6 months is also considered ideal. Seeing the dentist more frequently should also be done if recommended.