What is Involved in a Dental Implant Procedure?
When teeth are missing or must be removed, patients have a number of different options to restore the look of the smile and the function of the teeth. Dental implants are one option that is gaining in popularity, as dental implants are closer to the look and feel of real teeth than most other options. Dental implants can be a lasting solution for tooth repair, but patients should be aware of what is involved in a dental implant procedure before choosing this option.
How Long Does Dental Implant Placement Take?
A number of factors impact how long dental implant placement will take. If teeth need to be removed prior to placement or if dental health is poor, placement may take longer. If multiple teeth are involved as opposed to one tooth, the placement may also take longer. Each implant surgery takes about one to two hours total, but many visits may be required based on the factors stated. Since patients must be given time to heal, it may take up to nine months for all implants and crowns to be placed.
Three Step Dental Implant Placement Process
In most cases, a three-step staged surgery process is most effective for placing dental implants. In the first stage, the implant is placed flush with the bone where the tooth root used to be. After allowing several weeks for the implant to heal and fuse with the bone, the surgeon or dentist performs another procedure to connect an abutment to the implant. After allowing time for the gums to heal around the abutment, the prosthetic tooth can be placed in a final procedure.
One or Two Stage Surgery
In some cases, it is possible to use a one-piece implant that has a metal collar which protrudes through the gum. If this is used, only two stages are required, as the abutment and crown can be placed at the same time. It may also be possible to immediately attach an abutment to a two-piece implant, allowing the dental implant to be performed in one stage. A dentist can assess whether one or two stage surgery is right for a particular case.
Preparing for Dental Implant Surgery
Dentists will provide a list of pre-operative instructions that may include taking antibiotics for a few days before the surgery, rinsing with a special mouthwash, eating or not eating before surgery depending on the type of anesthesia, and arranging for a ride after the procedure. Depending on the details of the case, a local anesthetic or I.V. anesthesia may be given. Dental implant surgery may be performed in a dentist’s office or in a hospital setting.