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What to Expect During a Dental Implant Procedure

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Updated May 16, 2014

So you're thinking about getting a dental implant or perhaps you've already made the decision to have one placed. What happens now? To some, just the thought of having an implant surgically placed in their mouth can be very intimidating and scary. It doesn't have to be.

What is a Dental Implant?

There are now more options to replace missing teeth and one that is gaining in popularity and use is the dental implant. The implant is usually made of titanium and is surgically placed by a dentist or dental specialist such as an oral surgeon. These screw-like parts are placed into the jaw bone and are meant to imitate the root of the tooth.

How Much Time is Required for an Implant Placement?

There are several factors that will determine the length of time needed for an implant procedure.

  • Your dental health
  • The number of teeth involved
  • Which teeth are replaced
  • If there will be a tooth extracted prior to implant placement
These factors will also determine the total number of visits to the dentist throughout the treatment period. For instance, a single tooth implant surgery can typically take 1-2 hours from start to finish. This includes time for anesthesia as well as dressing the patient for a sterile surgical environment.

Is the Treatment Painful?

Just as with any surgery, there can be some discomfort. Local anesthesia and/or I.V. or oral sedation are used to eliminate any discomfort at the time of the procedure. Most patients report that they were much more comfortable following the procedure than they had anticipated. Your doctor will prescribe medications to ease any discomfort that may occur.

Will I Be Given Any Special Instructions to Prepare for Surgery?

Your dentist may provide you with some pre-operative instructions to follow. These may include:

  • Having you rinse with a special anti-bacterial mouthwash, such as chlorahexadine.
  • Prescribing you antibiotics to take for a few days prior to surgery as a preventative measure.
  • Asking you to eat a good breakfast on the day of surgery, unless you are planning on having the procedure done under I.V. sedation. In that case, you would not be eating anything after midnight the night before surgery.
  • Having someone available to bring you to the appointment and drive you home if you elected to take an oral sedative or have I.V. sedation.
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