7 Simple Steps to a Successful Dental Implant 

 

The best possible treatment option to replace a missing tooth is a dental implant. Implants can provide patients who are missing one or more teeth with a beautiful and long-lasting solution. Move through the entire dental implant experience with confidence and ease by knowing exactly what to expect ahead of time.

 

Initial X-Rays

The very first step towards having a successful dental implant is meeting with your dental implant specialist for an initial consultation. During this appointment, they will do a comprehensive dental exam, X-rays of your mouth, and impressions. During this appointment, your dentist will discuss with you their recommendations for a treatment plan. At this time, the steps of the entire procedure will be reviewed with you, including what you can do to promote healing during your recovery. The first stage of the process will then be scheduled after your consultation.

 

Tooth Extraction

If your dental implant is replacing an existing tooth that is unable to be saved, the tooth will need to be extracted to make room for the implant. During the extraction, your dentist’s goal will be to preserve as much of the buccal plate and surrounding bone as possible. Following careful removal of the tooth, the condition of the extraction site will be assessed by exploring the socket with an endodontic or periodontal probe to search for any bone defects. As long as the buccal plate and other bone surrounding the socket is intact, the process of placing the implant can then move forward.

 

Graft The Socket

The process of bone grafting involves removing a piece of bone from another part of the jaw and transplanting it into the jawbone. Alternative options today include obtaining bone from a cadaver source or an animal source to replace the missing bone. These options provide less morbidity to the patient while preventing a second surgical site. It may take several months for the transplanted bone to grow enough new bone to support the placement of a dental implant. Once there has been an appropriate amount of time allowed for the grafted extraction site to heal properly, the implant process can move forward. This stage typically takes up to several months to heal.

 

Implant Placement

Once the jawbone can successfully support the new dental implant after months of healing, the dental implant process will resume. The dental implant will replace the tooth root, and also requires proper healing time. During this healing period, the integration of the bone with the implant itself (osseointegration) occurs. The bone cells attach to the implant rod, filling in any spaces to secure the implant in place permanently. Implant placement typically takes between three to six months to heal completely.

 

Abutment Placement

The abutment is a post that connects the implant to the prosthetic tooth. Essentially, the abutment is a bridge that spans through the gum line so that the implant can remain buried and undetectable. Just as with all of the other previous steps, the abutment has a healing period of its own. The gum around the abutment must heal and form a cuff, or collar, around it before the crown can be permanently placed.

 

Final Impressions

Roughly three months after abutment placement, the final impression can be taken, and the healing abutment can be removed if necessary. The removal process will reveal a healthy and esthetic soft-tissue collar around the implant site, which has been guided by the healing abutment during implant placement. An impression coping is then connected to the implant, and a closed-tray impression can be taken for the fabrication of the final restoration.

 

Permanent Crown

Once the implant site and abutment have successfully integrated, the prosthetic tooth that was fabricated from the final impressions can be placed. Crowns, which are the tooth-looking part of a dental implant, can either be screwed into the abutment or cemented into place. Having a permanent crown installed will be the final stage of the dental implant process.

 

Implants Aren’t a Single-Day Procedure

It is always our goal to establish realistic expectations of dental procedures during consultation appointments. While dental implants aren’t a single-day procedure, your new implant will last you a lifetime with proper care. We strive to help our patients recover from a dental implant procedure as quickly as possible, so be sure to follow the specific instructions provided to you after surgery to promote healing. Contact Cherrywood Dental Associates today if you have additional questions regarding the dental implant process.

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