Are you considering dental implants to replace a missing tooth or teeth? If yes, you probably have many questions you need to answer, including ‘how are dental implants done?’ Be sure to read our quick guide, so you know the steps involved in the dental implant procedure and what to expect.
What are dental implants? – an overview
When you undergo dental implant surgery, you are replacing missing tooth roots with titanium tooth posts. These form a close bond with the bone in the jaw to support artificial teeth. They differ from dental bridges and dentures because they feel, function and look remarkably like natural teeth.
How your dentist performs the dental implant procedure depends on the type of dental implant you get and the condition of your jawbone. Depending on your situation, you may have to undergo several dental treatments to prepare your mouth for dental implant surgery.
So, how are dental implants done?
The dental implant procedure involves multiple stages and can take between 3 to 9 months or even longer, depending on the type of implants you get and how quickly your body heals.
As with any cosmetic dentistry procedure, the first step of your implant journey is a consultation. Here, you will find out exactly how dental implants are done at Infinity Dental Care.
Stage 1 – consultation
During this appointment, patients can air any concerns or worries about their oral health and discuss their smile goals. The dental team will also take various photos, x-rays and CT scans to assess the condition of your jawbone and determine if dental implants are a suitable treatment for you.
To be an immediate candidate for dental implant surgery, patients must
- have dense, healthy bone in the jaw to support the implant
- no signs of gum disease or tooth decay
- be medically fit to undergo surgery
- have a fully developed jaw
Patients aren’t automatically exempt from having dental implants if they have insufficient bone in their jaw. Instead, a bone graft procedure performed by the dentist will increase the volume of bone so that a patient can have implants at a later date.
In addition, smokers need to quit the habit before and after dental implant surgery to lower the risk of failure. Smoking is one of the leading causes of tooth loss and may be the reason you now need a dental implant. Moreover, smoking restricts healing and impacts the long term health of gums and bone, making them more likely to fail over time.
Patients with uncontrollable diabetes or that suffer from osteoarthritis may be better suited to another form of missing tooth replacement. However, each case is considered on its merits.
Stage 2 – dental implant surgery
Once planning is complete, the next stage of the procedure is surgery. Most patients dread the thought of dental implant surgery, but with the digital implants we provide, surgery can take a little as 15 to 20 minutes for a straightforward implant to replace a single missing tooth.
A patient will be given a local anaesthetic to numb their mouth to ease any discomfort, and the dentist may offer dental sedation to help them relax.
Digital dental implants utilise the tiniest incision so that usually no sutures are required. A surgical computer guide placed over the patient’s teeth also helps protect neighbouring teeth and nerves from injury. Prior planning ensures accurate placement of the dental implants at the correct depth and trajectory.
When having digital dental implants, patients benefit from a shorter, more comfortable, and more accurate surgery. In addition, recovery and healing are considerably faster than with traditional implants.
Stage 3 – Healing
Healing typically takes 6 to 12 weeks and involves a natural process known as osseointegration. The jawbone grows around the biocompatible implant post to become a permanent fixture in the mouth, like a natural tooth root.
Like natural teeth, dental implants rely on the jawbone to support them. Once osseointegration has successfully taken place, the implant is strong enough to support a dental crown. There is no need to replace every missing tooth with a dental implant. Instead, as few as 4 implants can support a denture that replaces all the teeth in either arch. Alternatively, 2 dental implants can support either end of a dental bridge to replace several missing adjacent teeth and restore the smile.
Sometimes, the dentist may place the abutment at the same time as the dental implant as this protrudes above the gum line.
It’s critical during the healing stage to follow your dentist’s post-op instructions and to practice good oral hygiene at all times to prevent infection that could disrupt the dental implant procedure.
You will have to visit the dental clinic regularly to monitor your progress and ensure that healing is going according to plan.
How are implants done – Stage 4 – Fitting the dental crown
Once the dentist is satisfied that osseointegration has taken place and your dental implant has stabilised, the final part of the dental implant procedure is to fit the dental crown.
Our dentists use a digital scanner to take an impression of your teeth to create a 3D virtual model of the mouth, from which a bespoke crown is designed and crafted in our on-site dental lab.
Because the crown perfectly fits the gap left by a missing tooth and is coloured to match the neighbouring teeth, the result is a beautiful, natural-looking smile. No one will ever know the difference.
So there you have it. The answer to your earlier question ‘how are dental implants done?’
Are you ready to replace your missing teeth and restore your smile with dental implants?
Dental implants can be genuinely life-changing, restoring both smile aesthetics and bite functionality.
If you want more information about the dental implant procedure at our Winston Hills clinic or want to know if implants are a suitable treatment for you, why not schedule a dental implant consultation with the friendly, experienced team at Infinity Dental Care and call us on (02) 9159 6237. We’ll soon put the smile back on your face.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.