The Process for Having a Dental Implant – What to Expect
Booking an Initial Assessment
The first step in having a dental implant is to book an initial consultation and check-up at Sparkle Dental. You need to be in good general health and in good oral health in order to have a dental implant. This is also excellent chance for you to discuss the surgery with Dr. Devellerez and to ask any questions you may have. If you wish to take the process further then you'll be referred for imaging to help plan the implant surgery.
Planning Implant Surgery
It is essential that you have sufficient healthy bone in your jaw. The dental implant needs to be surrounded by a certain amount of bone, usually several millimetres, in order for it to have sufficient support. The best way to see and assess the quality of your bone is through having a CT scan and dental x-rays. A CT scan is extremely helpful as it shows your jawbone in much greater detail than can be achieved through a simple x-ray, including the location of important structures such as sinus cavities and nerves. This CT scan will be used in planning the placement of your dental implants.
Prior to surgery we may need to construct a surgical guide. A surgical guide is a type of template that shows exactly where the implant will be placed in the jaw to give optimum results. The use of a surgical guide helps to give the best aesthetic outcome, and ensure your final restorations look as natural as possible. Dr. Devellerez may also want to study models of your mouth to assess whether you have any problems with your bite that may affect the outcome of surgery. The planning stage is extremely important, and is essential in making sure your implant surgery is safe and successful.
The next step is to have the actual surgery. It doesn't take very long to place a single implant, and this is generally done under local anaesthetic, but we can offer you extra sedation if you feel at all anxious. The implant is placed through making a small incision in the gum tissue before very carefully making a hole for the implant post by slowly drilling into the bone, something that is called an osteotomy. Afterwards the site will be closed using stitches. Most people find the process of having an implant much easier to deal with than they imagined, and much less eventful.
We know patients often worry about being left without teeth following this type of surgery, but we can assure you that doesn't have to happen. You may opt to wear a provisional crown or prosthesis to wear until your implant has healed and the definitive restoration can be placed.
What to Expect after Implant Surgery
We'll give you lots of advice on how to look after the implant site following the surgery as it is important to keep it very clean. Sometimes we may prescribe antibiotics or an anti-bacterial mouthwash containing chlorhexidine to aid healing. You may feel some discomfort following surgery, and this can vary depending on the number of implants you have placed. Having a single implant placed is likely to cause very little discomfort, and this is normally easily controlled by using over-the-counter painkillers. You should be able to return to work the next day, but you may experience some bruising and swelling to the gum tissues. You may feel some soreness if you have several implants placed at the same time.
Most dental implants need between three and six months to completely heal, and the reason for this is that the implant needs to osseointegrate with the jaw. The surface of the titanium post is specially treated to help make it easier for new bone cells to grow on, and around it, so the post becomes integrated into the bone. This creates a strong and stable artificial tooth root that is able to support the replacement crown, bridge or denture.
Receiving the Final Restoration
Once your implant has fully integrated with the jawbone you’ll be able to have your definitive restoration. This is a short procedure that simply involves you returning to Sparkle Dental so Dr.Devellerez can take an impression of the implant site. This is sent to our dental laboratory so the permanent restoration can be fabricated, something that usually takes approximately two weeks, after which time you’ll be able to return to Sparkle Dental to have it fitted.