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What to expect when getting a dental implant?

Dental implant surgery has a very high success rate. Most patients experience little to no complications during and after the procedure. Modern implants mimic the look, feel, and function of natural teeth and can last for a lifetime when taken care of well.

If you’re scheduled for dental implant treatment, you may be wondering what to expect. While your dentist can provide all of the information you need, it helps to read up on dental implant surgery from reliable sources to help you prepare as much as possible.

What to expect before dental implant surgery

The process involves multiple steps, which we’ll detail in this article. Before the surgery takes place, you can expect:

  • A full exam of your mouth and jaw to determine if you are a candidate for the surgery
  • An examination of your gums, jawbone, and other structural support
  • In some cases, an ear, nose, and throat specialist will conduct an evaluation
  • Removal of damaged teeth if you are a candidate for surgery
  • Jawbone preparation (grafting), when required

Unlike a filling or other dental treatments, dental implants require quite a bit of planning to execute well. In fact, the planning process is one of the most time-consuming stages. This allows dental professionals, oral surgeons, and other specialists to make sure your treatment goes as smoothly as possible.

What to expect during dental implant surgery

The surgery involves three stages:

  1. Dental implant placement
  2. Abutment placement
  3. Artificial tooth placement

During dental implant placement, your surgeon will numb your mouth with local anesthesia. If you are particularly nervous, talk to your dentist about sedation or other options available. Your dentist is there to ensure that you’re as comfortable as possible.

Once you’re numb, an incision will be made to expose the bone. A drill is used to create space in the bone for the implant to go into place. You can expect very little discomfort during this phase and the drill is very quiet.

You’ll then have a few weeks before the next stage to allow for bone growth and healing. Once healed, the second phase of the procedure begins. Your dentist will again administer local anesthesia, make another incision, place the abutment on the implant, and take the impression needed to fit the crown.

Creating the crowns involves several appointments, which differ depending on each individual case and your dentist’s preference. The final step is the placement of the artificial tooth. In this stage, you can expect the crown to look and function like your natural teeth. Thanks to modern technology, artificial teeth are durable and can handle daily eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing.

What to expect after dental implant surgery

After the first phase (dental implant placement), you may experience some discomfort, swelling, bruising, and pain around the incision site. Most patients report that the second day tends to be the worst, with symptoms declining after the third day. Be sure to let your dentist know if your symptoms persist. They can prescribe over-the-counter pain medication and antibiotics for infections.

While dental implant surgery has a high success rate, failing to maintain proper oral hygiene and smoking can increase the risk of complications. With dental implant treatments, it’s important to mentally prepare yourself for a long procedure. Once it’s complete and everything has healed, you’re left with a restored smile and an improved quality of life.

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