If you’re considering dental implants, you may already know about the financial investment involved, but dental implants also require an investment in time. While there are some options that can be completed in a day (known as immediate-load dental implants), traditional dental implants typically take several months from start to finish. This may seem daunting, but it’s important to keep in mind that once your dental implants are placed, they are meant to be a lifelong replacement for your missing teeth.
Here’s what you can expect during the process of getting traditional dental implants.
The first step in the process is a consultation with one of our doctors. We will examine your teeth and gums, go over your medical and dental history, and discuss your treatment goals. If you decide you want to move forward with dental implants, you will visit with our specialized implant treatment coordinator to discuss and plan the details of your procedure.
During your consultation, we will determine whether any supplemental oral surgery procedures are needed. Patients often need to have one or more teeth extracted prior to dental implant surgery. If, on the other hand, your teeth have been missing for some time, you may need bone grafting or a sinus lift due to bone loss in the jaw. Adequate bone mass is essential for long-term success with dental implants, so while this step can take time, it’s critical to the process.
Dental Implant Placement
After you have healed from any preliminary procedures, we can begin with your dental implant placement. If needed, we offer sedation for you to help you relax during your procedure. Then, we use local anesthetic injections to numb the area where we’ll be working. The dental implants are surgically placed into the jawbone through a very small incision in the gum tissue, then sutures are used to close the incision.
Next we wait for osseointegration to occur. This is the process in which your jawbone and your dental implants fuse together to create a stable base of support for a restoration. Osseointegration usually takes around 3 months.
With osseointegration complete, the next step is to attach your abutments. These are pieces that connect your dental implants to your restorations. Your dentist will then take impressions in order to begin the work of creating a dental crown, bridge, or denture; if needed, they can also provide you with a temporary restoration to close the gap in your smile while you wait for your permanent restoration.
When the restoration is ready, your dentist will affix it to your dental implants and the process is complete. You’ll enjoy a beautiful new smile and a restoration that looks, feels, and functions just like your natural teeth.
Learn More About Dental Implants
If you’d like to find out the dental implant process, contact us today to schedule a consultation at one of our four convenient Oklahoma City area locations.