Dental implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth, but the process can seem daunting if you don’t know what to expect. Understanding the timeline of the implant process can help you feel more confident and prepared for the journey ahead. In this article, we’ll take you through the different stages of the dental implant process, starting with the initial consultation.
Step 1: The Dental Implant Consultation
Before any implant dentist recommends a treatment plan, the first step is the initial consultation. During this appointment, your dentist will evaluate your oral health, discuss how many teeth need to be replaced, plan around other teeth (regarding preservation, extractions, etc.), and discuss all of the options when it comes to restoring your smile.
Choosing the Right Implant Plan for You
Some people may want to adjust their care plan around affordability, while others around comfort and sedation. In addition, you might have concerns about surgical needs, overall time frame, or costs involved. Your initial consultation is the perfect time to ask all the questions you want about dental implants and how they affect your smile and health.
Developing a Customized Treatment Plan
If your dentist feels you’re a good candidate, they will work up an itemized treatment plan that reviews the entire process and the associated fees.
Taking Your Time to Make the Right Decision
Between the initial consultation and the next step, you can wait a long time to “think about it” or plan the first procedure before you leave. Deciding about getting implants may be a same-day choice, whereas someone else prefers to consult with their family and friends. Most importantly, everyone on your dental team is here to help you make the best decision for your unique situation and will be with you every step.
Step 1b: Any Preparation Procedures
In some cases, extra preparation procedures may be required before proceeding with dental implant surgery. These procedures include extracting teeth, performing a bone graft, or a sinus lift. During the initial consultation, Dr. McOmie will assess your oral health and inform you if any of these steps are needed.
If you need a bone graft or tooth extraction, you may require additional healing time before the implant installation. However, in some cases, we can combine these procedures with the implant installation at the same appointment, depending on your specific case.
Rest assured, as long as you’re a good candidate for implant therapy, we will discuss your case-by-case plan with you beforehand. Our team will make sure you are fully informed and prepared for each step of the dental implant process.
Step 2: Your Dental Implant Placement
When it’s time for your dental implant placement, you’ll be in the capable hands of a dental implant specialist. These professionals are highly skilled and experienced in placing and restoring dental implants.
The implant placement process typically takes an hour or more, depending on the number of implants needed and the number of teeth being replaced.
At McOmie Family Dentistry, our team of implant specialists has performed thousands of successful implant surgeries, and we use the latest implant technologies and techniques to ensure the best possible outcome for our patients.
During your implant placement procedure, you can expect our specialists to work efficiently and gently, placing each implant precisely at the pre-selected location.
We also offer a range of sedation options to help you feel relaxed and comfortable during the procedure. With the expertise and care of our implant specialists, you can be confident that you’re receiving the highest standard of care for your dental implant placement.
Local Anesthetic and Sedation Options for Implant Placement
While most people undergo dental implant placement using just local anesthetic, some people may prefer additional sedation to help them feel more comfortable and relaxed during the procedure. Depending on your needs and preferences, our team at McOmie Family Dentistry can offer several sedation options to ensure that you feel at ease during the dental implant process.
One option is oral sedation, which involves taking a prescribed medication before the procedure to help you relax. This type of sedation is often a good choice for patients who experience anxiety or fear of dental procedures, and it can be taken in the form of a pill or liquid medication. With oral sedation, you’ll need someone to accompany you to your appointment, as you’ll be too drowsy to drive.
Another option is nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas.” This sedation option is inhaled through a mask that fits over your nose, and it can help you feel relaxed and calm during the procedure. Nitrous oxide can be a good choice for patients who experience mild to moderate anxiety during dental procedures, and it is generally safe and well-tolerated.
We may recommend IV sedation for patients who require more profound sedation during the dental implant process. This type of sedation is administered through a vein in your arm, and it can help you achieve a deeper level of relaxation and comfort during the procedure. With IV sedation, you’ll be monitored closely throughout the procedure to ensure your safety and well-being.
Regardless of which sedation option you choose, our team at McOmie Family Dentistry will work with you to determine the best approach to help you feel comfortable and relaxed during your dental implant placement.
Depending on how many missing teeth you have, you might not need implants at each location of every missing tooth. It’s common for Dr. McOmie to pair implants together to anchor multi-tooth restorations like bridges or hybrid All-on-4 appliances.
This means you might not need an implant at every location where you have a missing tooth. Instead, one implant can support multiple replacement teeth, which can help to minimize the overall number of implants that you need. Before the procedure, Dr. McOmie will discuss this option with you and determine the best treatment plan for your specific situation.
Step 3: Integration and Healing Process
Once your dental implants are placed, the next step is allowing the bone structure to fuse (integrate) with the implants before they are strong enough to support biting pressure. This is a critical stage in the dental implant process, and patients must be patient.
Although the initial healing process will only take a few days for your gums, the jaw bone will need at least 3-6 months to fully fuse and integrate with the surface of your new dental implants. This portion of dental implant treatment is the most time-consuming, but it’s an essential part of the entire process; without this healing period, the implants are not able to support the visible tooth restoration that you’ll use for eating and smiling.
Temporary Tooth Option
Although this time frame may seem long, we can fit you with a temporary tooth option as your mouth heals. This temporary tooth option will allow you to eat, drink, speak, and smile without any concerns. Fortunately, this brief healing time will be over before you know it!
Importance of Patience
It’s important to understand that the integration and healing process is critical to the long-term success of your dental implants. Rushing the healing process can set you up for complications, which can compromise the investment you’ve already made.
Therefore, it’s important to be patient and follow the recommended post-surgery instructions provided by your dentist. This will help to ensure that you heal properly and that your dental implants are well-positioned and ready to support your new teeth.
Step 4: Uncovering Your Dental Implants and Taking Impressions
After the healing process is complete, we can move on to the next step: uncovering your dental implants. This step usually occurs between 3 and 6 months after implant surgery.
During this visit, we will gently numb the implant site to uncover the top of the titanium implant. At that point, a special “abutment” or post is attached to the top of the implant. This device serves as the connection between the dental implant and the dental crown or other restoration that’s going to be installed.
Once the abutment is installed, we will take a set of digital impressions to send to our lab. The impressions will help our team create a custom dental crown, bridge, or other handcrafted restoration to fit your unique mouth shape and bite pattern.
We take the impressions very seriously as they ensure that your final restoration fits correctly, feels comfortable, and looks natural. That’s why we use a state-of-the-art digital impression scanner to take the most precise measurements and create the best-fitting prosthetics.
It’s worth noting that it can take a few weeks for the lab to complete the creation of your custom restoration, so you’ll need to be patient and continue to take good care of your oral health in the meantime.
Step 5: Attaching Your Permanent Dental Implant Restoration
Congratulations, you’ve made it to the final step! Finally, after several months of healing and preparation, it’s time to attach your beautiful permanent dental implant restoration made by our world-class dental lab and master ceramicists who craft incredible natural-looking teeth to ensure your final restoration looks amazing!
During this visit, Dr. McOmie will first check the fit and color of your custom-made dental crown, bridge, or other restoration to ensure that it matches the rest of your teeth perfectly. Once everything is ready, we’ll securely attach your restoration to the implant post/abutment. This process takes only a short time and is typically painless.
After your restoration is attached, you’ll be able to eat, speak, and smile with confidence, just like with your natural teeth. While dental implants are a durable, long-term solution, it’s still important to take good care of them to ensure they last as long as possible. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups are necessary to keep your implants and natural teeth healthy.
Investing in Your Smile: A Long-Lasting Solution to Missing Teeth
In summary, dental implants are an investment in your smile and long-term oral health. While the process may require several months, the result is a beautiful and fully functional smile with proper maintenance and care that can last many years, if not a lifetime. and provide a long-lasting solution to missing teeth.
If you’re considering dental implants, schedule a consultation with Dr. McOmie, an experienced implant specialist who has successfully placed numerous dental implants and transformed countless smiles. Contact our office today to learn more about the implant process, ask any questions you may have, and receive personalized treatment options to help you achieve your dental goals.