A dental implant is a permanent new root for a missing tooth. No additional teeth need to be altered to place the new tooth. The entire implant process is performed over the course of a few months:
- The first part of the process is to install the implant itself. A titanium screw is placed into the jaw bone. An incision is made in the gum so that the implant can be inserted. Multiple implants can be placed at once if necessary. After the implants are placed, the gums are sutured.
- The implant must be allowed approximately 3-6 months to heal. During this time, the jaw bone will form around the implant in a process called osseo-integration. While healing, you can have temporary crowns installed so that you can eat and speak normally, and maintain a natural smile.
- After the implant has healed, it is time to place an abutment on the implant. The abutment serves as the base for your new tooth. Once this is placed, an impression of the abutment is taken and is used to create your permanent restoration. As a final step for the restoration, the permanent implant is attached to the abutment completing the entire restoration.
Your smile will look just like it used to, and the implants will feel like your own teeth!
After dental implant surgery, it is recommended that you take it easy for 48-72 hours. Resting assists the healing process and limits after surgery bleeding. Drink plenty of fluids, but nothing too cold. You may need to apply an ice pack to your face at twenty-minute intervals for the 2 days following surgery. If you received upper implants, do not blow your nose for two weeks. It is common to experience slight bleeding for about two days after surgery. You will feel slightly uncomfortable the first two days following surgery, but the third day is generally better. An increase in temperature of about 1 to 2 degrees is to be expected and is not a cause for concern. Finally, while you can eat when you are hungry, do not chew directly onto the bone graft.