There are many options available to replace a missing tooth. These options include no treatment, a removable partial denture, a fixed bridge, or a dental implant. Your dentist will discuss the risks and benefits of each option with you. This form is designed to help you better understand the dental implant process.
There are multiple steps and procedures that go into replacing a natural tooth with a dental implant. Each person is slightly different, but this information serves as an outline as to what you can expect throughout the process.
Please feel free to ask your dentist any questions you may have. We look forward to getting you back to chewing and smiling with confidence!
When your natural tooth has had extensive damage (due to decay, fracture, cracks, etc) and can no longer be repaired with dental treatment, extraction (removal) is indicated. After careful removal of your natural tooth, a bone graft and covering is placed at the time of surgery to help build a good foundation for your dental implant. Your dentist will discuss what type of graft is used for your particular case. Stitches (sutures) are placed at this time and you will avoid chewing in this area for 7-10 days.
Suture removal is a short visit, where the surgical area will be evaluated for proper healing and the stitches will be removed.
It takes two months for the bone graft to properly mature and become strong enough to support a dental implant. This visit is scheduled at the halfway point in the healing process. A clinical evaluation to make sure your gums and bone have healed appropriately. Additionally, an x-ray will also be taken so that your doctor can select the custom implant size that will be used for you, and can discuss with you if any additional procedures may be necessary either before or during your implant surgery (including additional bone grafting, sinus lift, etc). An impression will be taken for your implant guide. The implant guide is used by the dentist to guide the implant into the optimal position.
On the day of your implant surgery, the implant (titanium root) will be placed under your gums and NO TOOTH will be on the implant at this time. The implant needs time to heal (3 months) and become sufficiently anchored to your jaw bone before it can support a tooth.
Suture removal is a quick visit, where the surgical area will be evaluated for proper healing and the stitches will be removed. Most patients do not require local anesthesia for this visit. If you think you will, please inform your dentist.
The typical healing time for an implant to become fused with your bone is 3 months. If you received additional bone or sinus grafting at the time of your surgery, it will take 4-6 months. Your doctor will let you know how long you need to heal. At this visit, you will need local anesthesia (“novocaine”) so that we can expose the implant head. A component called a “healing abutment” will be placed on your implant to help form the gum in preparation for the new tooth. This will protrude slightly from your gums and you will be able to feel this with your tongue.
At this visit, your gums will have healed enough to take the final impression(s) for your permanent crown. An x-ray will also be taken at this visit. The impression will be taken and sent to the dental laboratory to custom design your new tooth!
The time has come to meet your new tooth! At this visit, your healing abutment will be removed, and your new tooth will be placed. We will check that you are happy with the look and bite of your new tooth. Your dentist will also show you how to clean around your implant.
Your implant requires routine maintenance, just as your teeth would. Implants cannot get decay, but they can get gum disease. Good home care and regular cleanings and checkups can lengthen the lifespan of your implant. Be sure to remind your hygienist at your regular cleanings where your implant(s) is located, so that she may take special care around your new tooth. We may recommend being fitted for a night guard after your get your implant, to protect your new dental work.