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Dental Implant Surgery: What to Know

Considering a dental implant? Learn more about the procedure.

Why Choose Dental Implants?

Missing teeth can be frustrating, often causing issues with speaking or eating/digestion, and can even have a psychological impact if they affect a person's self-esteem. Many people choose to replace missing teeth with partials, bridges, or dentures. However, they may not work for everyone.

Dental implants may be suggested for individuals when they:

  • Are unable to wear dentures or partials
  • Have one or more missing teeth
  • Have adequate and fully grown jaw bone structure to support the implant(s)
  • Have healthy gum tissue
  • Don't use tobacco or have any medical conditions that would affect the healing process

What Can I Expect When Getting an Implant?

Depending on your unique needs, you may need to visit several types of dental specialists to prepare for the procedure, like:

  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeon
  • Periodontist (gum and bone specialist)
  • Prosthodontist (artificial teeth specialist)

The process of getting a dental implant generally takes several months and is completed in stages. This allows for healing time between each step of the process. In preparation for the implant, you may need to have a bone graft to build and strengthen the jaw bone at the implant site.

After any damaged teeth are removed, screw-like posts are surgically placed directly into the jawbone. These mimic the function of tooth roots and provide a solid base for the false tooth/teeth.

Once the post has been placed and the surrounding bone has fully healed around the post, the dentist can surgically uncover the implant and install a healing cap or an abutment onto it. A healing cap attaches to the implant post and helps to shape the gum so that it is ready for the final implant step. An abutment is what will hold the new crown or false tooth onto the post.

After gum tissue has healed and the dentist has confirmed that the jawbone is strong enough to support the implant, a crown or removable implant-ready denture/partial can be placed in the mouth to complete the process.

What Can I Expect Post-Procedure?

All surgical procedures come with some level of risk of infection or other damage to the area around the surgical site. It is common for those who have had an implant to experience discomfort including:

  • Swelling of the face and gums
  • Pain at the surgical site
  • Some bleeding
  • Bruising of the surgical site

Note: The information in this document is not meant to replace the advice of your dentist or another licensed healthcare professional. Talk to your dentist for any specific dental advice.