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What to Expect During a Dental Implant Procedure

During and After Surgery

By

Updated May 16, 2014

How Will I Feel After the Treatment?

It is normal to have some small bruises and swelling in the gum and soft tissues. But usually the discomfort, if any, is treated with an ordinary painkiller, such as ibuprofen, hydrocodone, or codeine. You should expect to be able to work the next day.

What Happens On the Day of the Surgery?

Restoring your mouth with a dental implant is accomplished in two phases and the whole process can take 6 to 9 months. The surgical phase is done in the dental office with local anesthesia but can also be done with I.V. sedation if performed by an oral surgeon.

The First Phase

  1. For the surgical placement of the implant, your mouth will be thoroughly numbed with local anesthesia.
  2. An incision is made in your gums where the implant will go to expose the bone underneath.
  3. A specialized (but quiet) drill will then be used to create a space for the implant in the bone.
  4. The implant itself is then screwed in place with either a hand tool or the same implant drill used to create the initial space.
  5. After the implant is snugly in place, a second component will be screwed into the implant itself and will remain in place during the healing process.
  6. The gums are closed over the implant and a stitch or two may be placed.
  7. Over the course of the next few months, the implant becomes securely attached to the bone.

The Second Phase

  1. The second phase starts with the re-exposure of the implant. Another small incision is made in your gums to expose the implant unless there was a separate component placed on the implant that sits above the gums.
  2. A small extension is placed on the implant for any impression taken. This component is what the lab will use to fit your new crown.
  3. Your dentist will then start a series of appointments to make your new implant crown. Though some of the steps might be different in your case, they usually include making impressions of your teeth. From these impressions, they will make precise working models of your mouth, which are carefully mounted for proper alignment. Your crown is fabricated on these models.
  4. The last step is the final placement of your new crown. In some cases, depending on which tooth is being restored, the dentist may want to try in the new crown before it is completely finished to check the shape and fit of it in your mouth.

How Will I Care for My Implant?

Your new implant tooth must be cared for and checked regularly, just like your natural teeth. Brush and floss your implant tooth as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist. See your dentist every six months, or more frequently if so advised.

What Are the Potential Complications?

  • Infection around the surrounding bone and gums
  • Your body's rejection of the dental implant
  • Bone loss around the dental implant
  • Your dental implant may fail to adhere to the bone
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