Completing the process of dental implants usually takes months. At least three months is needed and might prolong to nine months at most. In between these months, your main goal is for your gums to heal while waiting for new bone to grow in your jaw. This whole process is done as an outpatient surgery, and is performed in the following stages:
Stage 1 – if your damaged tooth is still attached, it will be removed. If not, the empty space will be cleaned and prepared for surgery. It will be opened, so the bone can be easily accessed.
Stage 2 – when the bone is exposed, your dentist will let you know if there is enough structure to attach an implant. If not, a bone graft will be done. If bone density is sufficient enough, a special drill will be used to create a hole inside. The implant will be inserted, and your gums will be sutured.
Stage 3 – You will wait for at least three months for the implant to heal, and integrate itself with your bone. This is called osseointegration. After it has healed, a post will be attached over the implant.
Stage 4 – The artificial crown can now be affixed and cemented.
When Bone Grafting Is Necessary
Bone grafting may be necessary if your jawbone is not thick or strong enough. Your new tooth should have strong support so it can work properly when you chew. Without the right quality of bone structure, your implant has a high risk of failure. At the same time, a bone graft can provide a solid base for your implant.
When the Dental Implant Is Inserted
After the dental implant is inserted, your missing tooth will still leave a gap. A temporary, removable partial denture will be attached so your set of teeth will still look complete. It can be removed while you sleep or for cleaning.
While Waiting for Jawbone to Grow
While osseointegration is happening, your jawbone gradually bonds with your dental implant. To make sure that your implant is well-integrated, your dentist may wait up to six months for this to happen. After this, your new artificial crown will have a solid root.
When the Post Is Affixed
After osseointegration, another minor, outpatient surgery is to be performed. The post needs to be attached, so your gums may be slightly opened to expose the implant. When exposed, the post will be attached to it.
How to Choose Your New Artificial Tooth
It will take one to two weeks for your gums to heal again after your post has been attached. Your dentist will take impressions of your mouth after the post has healed. These impressions will be used to create your new artificial crown. You can choose from either a fixed or removable implant prosthesis.
You may experience swelling and bruising in your gums and face. You may also feel pain and see minor bleeding. These are all normal. Ask your dentist for medications that can relieve these symptoms.