Steps of dental implant surgery
Let us start with conventional implants as opposed to immediate or one-day implants. Before the process begins, your doctor or dentist examines you and takes an X-ray of your mouth to ensure that your jawbones and gums are strong and healthy enough to hold an implant.
The first big step is to place the implants into the bone. You may have the surgical procedure to place the implants into the bone in a dental office or a hospital, depending on your individual needs, the complexity of the procedure, and the type of anesthesia you need. For the procedure, you may only need a local anesthetic to numb the area before the surgery, or the surgeon may sedate you so that you’re less aware of what’s going on.
During the procedure, the doctor makes an incision in your gum tissue to create openings over the bone, then drills holes into the bone where each implant needs inserting. The doctor then inserts the small titanium implants — that look like threaded metal cylinders — into the holes. When done, he or she places a cover screw over the implants and stitches the gum tissue back over the bone and implants.
Your gums may be swollen and tender for a short time after the procedure. Your doctor may prescribe painkillers to reduce discomfort and antibiotics to decrease the risk of infection. And you may need to eat soft foods for five to seven days.
Resorbable stitches, which dissolve over time, are typically used. But if not, your doctor removes your stitches from your gums after about 10 days. Your dentist may provide you with a temporary false tooth to fill the gap or fit any existing dentures with a soft lining that’s gentler on underlying gums — which you can wear after your gums have healed for a few days.
Before your doctor can attach the permanent teeth (crowns), you need to wait to allow the bone to grow around the implants and anchor them securely. This takes around three months in the lower jaw, and about five months in the upper jaw.
After you’re fully recovered from the first surgery, you’re ready for the next step — attaching the metal post (abutment) that eventually holds your new tooth. During this procedure, the doctor gives you local anesthesia, reopens the gum over the implant and screws a small, threaded post into the implant. This procedure causes less discomfort than the previous one, but you need to eat soft food for a few days afterward.
When your gum tissue has recovered, your dentist or prosthodontist makes dental impressions of your mouth by placing a soft substance into your mouth that hardens into an impression of your teeth. Your doctor then makes models of your jaw and any remaining teeth based on these impressions. He or she can then create new artificial teeth based on the models.
Immediate or one-day implants
In the case of immediate or one-day implants the implant is placed and the temporary or even the permanent crown component is also loaded on the same day or only a few days later. Obviously this greatly simplifies and shortens the treatment process. It is important to keep in mind though that this state-of-the-art technique has strict selection criteria, and as such might not be an option for you.
If you meet the selection criteria for one-day implants they appear to be a great option. As you can read in the section about success rates for dental implants, they showed sometimes even better results in clinical studies than the conventional implants.