Before anything else, your dentist has to evaluate your gums, teeth, and jawbone. By doing so, they will establish whether or not you have enough healthy bone to support the implant. The evaluation also helps your dentist examine you for periodontal disease. If you have a very soft or thin jawbone, a bone graft will be necessary before the implant process begins. During the procedure, the dentist puts you under general anesthesia, IV sedation, or local anesthesia, depending on the option that best suits you.
In the case of an endosteal implant, the dentist cuts your gum to expose the jawbone lying beneath. They then proceed to drill holes into the bone to create room for the implant post. On the other hand, subperiosteal implants will not require any drilling of the jawbone. The implant post will simply be placed above or on the bone. No matter your choice of implant, one thing is certain–you will experience some swelling and discomfort during and after the procedure. This could go on for a few days, but you can still go back to your routine.
After placement of the dental implant, it may take up to 6 months for new bone to grow near the screw. The process is referred to as osseointegration and loosely translated to “combining with the bone.” Osseointegration allows your jawbone to strengthen and surround the implant. This keeps the implant in place and helps it perform its duties as artificial roots.
An abutment is a metal extender that your dentist adds to the implant. They may do this during the first or second procedure. Abutments serve to establish a connection between the replacement tooth and implant. After this step, it may be a while before your gums heal.
With the healing complete, it is time for the dentist to take your teeth impressions and make you a permanent replacement tooth. Your new tooth will have a natural feel and look. You will have to take good care of it, so it lasts you for a lifetime.