07 Feb What to Expect When You Get Dental Implants
Making the decision to get dental implants for a missing tooth or to improve your overall dental health is one thing. Actually going through the procedure is another. After you’ve figure out the cost of your implants and set the appointment, you probably have one question on your mind.
What happens now?
Here’s what you can expect during and after your dental implant procedure.
During the Dental Implant Procedure
Getting dental implants is a multiple step process. Some steps will be done at the same time, and some must wait until you’ve healed.
Stage 1: X-rays and impressions are taken. The X-rays help determine your current bone and gum condition to catch any potential problems. Impressions of your mouth are taken to help provide a replica of your teeth and gums. You’ll bite down on a plastic or metal tray filled with a soft liquid. After letting it sit a minute or two until the soft mixture firms up, you’ll release it.
Stage 2: Tooth extraction occurs if necessary. If you have a tooth in place, this is when it will come out. Typically patients receive a shot of lidocaine to numb the area and all you’ll feel is a tug and pull as the tooth comes out.
Stage 3: The implant is inserted by drilling a hole in your jawbone. Sometimes a bone graft is needed but this is often done quickly and easily.
Stage 4: Now it’s time for abutment placement. As the jawbone heals from the implant insertion, it fuses with the implant. This can take weeks or months. Once the implant is stable enough, the abutment is placed on top. It’s tightened with a dental torque wrench to keep it in place so you can chew.
Stage 5: The permanent crown is attached!
There are multiple appointments in between and for each stage. The length of time you have to wait until the abutment is placed depends on how you heal and how many implants you needed. Everyone is different.
What You Can Expect About the Dental Implant Procedure
Now you know how the dental implant procedure will be carried out, but that probably doesn’t answer all your questions. Here are a few other things you might be curious about.
You shouldn’t feel any pain during the procedure. You’ll receive anesthesia to numb your mouth so all you should feel is pulling, tugging, and possibly vibrations from some of the tools. After you go home and the numbness wears off, you may feel discomfort.
You won’t leave the office with a new tooth at first. Your implant has to heal before the abutment can be placed. Without the abutment, your crown can’t connect. You will, however, leave with a temporary filler/crown to camouflage the empty space in your smile.
The length of the procedure varies from person to person. It’s determined by your current dental health, the number of teeth being replaced, and whether any teeth need to be removed first. Your dentist should be able to give you a rough estimate based on your specific situation.
After the Dental Implant Procedure
In the hours and day after the procedure, you’ll need to take extra care with your mouth to help foster healing.
- Gently bite down on the gauze packs in your mouth. Keep them in for an hour. If bleeding persists, change the gauze every 30 minutes.
- Keep your mouth clean. You can still brush but be gentle and avoid the surgical site.
- Rest and take it easy. Any strenuous activity like lifting, bending, and other movements can cause further bleeding.
- A slight oozing of blood is normal in the first 24 to 48 hours, but if you’re bleeding profusely, call your local dentist.
- Swelling is also normal but you can reduce this with ice packs.
- Antibiotics will be prescribed to reduce the chance of infections. Pain medication will be prescribed in case you need it.
- For the next few days, you’ll need to eat soft foods and avoid extremely hot food. Don’t drink from a straw or smoke or you might get dry socket and feel even more pain. Also, avoid nuts, rice, and seeds which can get stuck in the surgical site.
It’s normal to be a little nervous before a dental procedure. For most patients, not knowing what to expect can cause the most anxiety. Dental implants aren’t necessarily a quick procedure but they can usually be pain and hassle-free.