What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a titanium post (like a tooth root) this is surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath the gum line that allows your dentist to mount replacement teeth or a bridge into the area.
How do dental implants work?
Because implants fuse to your jawbone, they provide stable support for artificial teeth. Dentures and bridges mounted to implants won’t slip or shift in your mouth — an especially important benefit when eating and speaking. This secure fit helps the dentures and bridges — as well as individual crowns placed over implants — feel more natural than conventional bridges or dentures.
What to Expect
Dental implant surgery is usually an outpatient surgery performed in stages:
- Your damaged tooth is removed.
- Your jawbone is prepared for surgery, a process that may involve bone grafting.
- After your jawbone heals, your oral surgeon places the dental implant metal post in your jawbone.
- You go through a healing period that may last several months.
- Your oral surgeon places the abutment — an extension of the implant metal post — followed by your new artificial tooth (crown).
The entire process can take many months from start to finish — three to nine months and sometimes longer. Much of that time is devoted to healing and waiting for the growth of new bone in your jaw.
Ideal Dental Implant Candidates:
- Have healthy teeth and gums
- Have sufficient bone density to support the dental implant
- Non-smokers or are willing to stop smoking during the dental implant process
After the bone material is placed, it can take a full six months to heal. The implant is placed after the bone grafting site has healed. After the implant is placed it can take an additional six months to heal before the crown can be placed.
Whether you have dental implant surgery in one stage or multiple stages, you may experience some of the typical discomforts associated with any type of dental surgery, such as:
- Swelling of your gums and face
- Bruising of your skin and gums
- Pain at the implant site
- Minor bleeding
If swelling, discomfort or any other problem gets worse in the days after surgery, please contact us. You may need pain medications or antibiotics.
After each stage of surgery, you may need to eat soft foods while the surgical site heals — as long as 10 to 14 days. Typically, our surgeon will use stitches that dissolve on their own. If your stitches aren’t self-dissolving, your doctor removes them in about 10 days.