If you’ve lost one or more teeth, [link id=’242′ text=’dental implants’ esc_html=’false’] can make a big difference in your quality of life. Implants are the best tooth replacement option available. They look and function more like your natural teeth than any other tooth replacement. Dental implants are a relatively new procedure, though, and many people don’t understand how they work. 

At Rochester Advanced Dentistry, your implant dentists want you to understand the procedure fully before starting. In addition to providing this quick guide, we’ll explain exactly how things will work when you schedule your consultation at our Rochester, MI dental office. 

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Dental Implant Surgery Steps

Depending on the condition of your jawbone, the dental implant procedure can take months. Here are the steps in order as you might expect them:

  • Consultation and planning
  • Tooth extraction and/or gum disease treatment (optional)
  • Bone graft (optional)
  • Dental implant placement
  • Placement of temporary crown (optional)
  • Healing
  • Abutment placement (optional)
  • Final restoration

As you will note, there are several optional steps included in the procedure. In some cases, we will be able to tell you what optional steps will be included in your procedure during your consultation. Other times, we will have to decide on the optional steps at the time of your surgery. 

Step 1: Consultation and Planning

First, we will talk to you about your procedure. We will discuss your medical history and your expectations for your dental implants. If we have concerns about your health or other medical conditions, we might refer you to your doctor or other medical specialists for their opinions on your condition and any special health considerations. 

We will take dental x-rays, including cone beam computed tomography (CBCT), which uses a series of low-dose x-rays to construct a 3D image of your jawbone. The exam and CBCT inform our computerized 3D implant planning. They will help us determine whether you need additional treatment such as gum disease treatment or bone graft before the implant procedure, or if we can do it all at the same time.

Step 2: Tooth Extraction and/or Gum Disease Treatment

If you still have a natural tooth where your implant will go, we might choose to extract it in a separate procedure rather than as part of the dental implant surgery. This is more often true if you are losing the tooth to gum disease. Gum disease can attack the bones around the tooth. Since these are the same bones that will eventually support your dental implant, we want to resolve any infection before we place the dental implant. Otherwise, it might lead to implant failure. 

If you have serious gum disease, it might require weeks or months to resolve it before we can move on to the next step. 

Step 3: Bone Graft

Dental implants depend on your jawbone for support. If you don’t have enough jawbone to support a dental implant, we might have to perform a separate bone grafting step. You might not have enough jawbone because of gum disease, a jaw injury, or perhaps you lost your tooth years ago and your body utilized the resources from what it considered to be unnecessary bone. 

For minor cases, we can perform bone grafting during the dental implant surgery. For more major cases, we might recommend a separate bone grafting procedure. If we perform a separate procedure, we might wait as much as six months before performing your dental implant surgery.

Step 5: Placement of Temporary Crown or Bridge 

Once we place your dental implant, we will evaluate its stability. This is called the primary or mechanical stability: a measure of how tightly it’s screwed into your jawbone. At first, your implant is secure the same way a screw is secure in wood. If your implant is secure enough, we will place a temporary crown or bridge on the implant or implants immediately. This is what we describe as teeth in a day: you’ll get full replacement teeth on the day of your implant surgery.

However, if your implants aren’t fully stable, we might place healing caps–also called healing abutments–to hold the place for your crown or bridge as the jawbone heals. 

If your implants are very unstable, we might cover them up completely with your gums and let them heal while fully protected.

Step 6: Healing

During the healing process, your body will grow new bone around the dental implant. It will remove the bone that is stressed (compacted) by the implant. At first, this will make your implant less strong than when we placed it. However, at the same time, your body will build new bone around the implant. This bone won’t be compacted like wood around a screw. Instead, it will be bonded to the dental implant–a process called osseointegration because your body is integrating the implant into the bone. Eventually, the implant will be even more secure than it was at first as the bone becomes fully attached. 

This process may take from 3-6 months. 

Step 7: Abutment Placement

If we covered your implant over with your gums, we will have to uncover it and place an abutment or healing cap to prepare for final restoration placement. 

Once we place the abutment, we will let your gums heal. This is a relatively short process–it takes just one or two weeks. 

Step 8: Final Restoration

Whether you have a temporary restoration, healing caps, or abutments, once your dental implant is fully integrated into the bone it’s time to get your final restoration placed. This restoration will be made of quality materials that look beautiful and can function for decades when properly placed and cared for.

Ready for Dental Implants in Rochester?

If you are looking for one or more dental implants to replace lost teeth, let the implant dentists at Rochester Advanced Dentistry help. 

Please call (248) 656-2020 or use our online form to request an appointment at our office in central Rochester, near the Rochester Municipal Park.