Dental implants are an ideal way to replace missing teeth as they are the closest you can get to your natural teeth, aesthetically and functionally. The dental implant process can take several months or longer, so it’s important to know what it entails.
The dental implant process begins with a thorough consultation, where your dentist will examine and do imaging of your mouth, listen to your goals and concerns and provide a treatment plan based on your needs and wants. If you have healthy gums, are in generally good health and have enough bone structure in your jaw to support an implant, you are a good candidate for implants.
Before an implant is placed into your jawbone, the damaged tooth will need to be removed. Then the jawbone is prepared for surgery. If bone grafting is necessary, it will take some time for the jawbone to heal before the implant post can be positioned within it.
Once the jawbone is healed, the implant post is placed in the jawbone to replace the missing tooth. The dental implant is designed to perform like the natural root of the tooth. Sedation is used to keep you comfortable. After this procedure, you may experience swelling, bruising and minor pain that will subside. You should be able to return to normal activities in 1-2 days.
When the implant is inserted into your jawbone, the bone will grow around the post to secure it in place and provide a strong foundation for the replacement tooth. This is the process of osseointegration, and it can take several months to heal. For aesthetics, a temporary tooth may be placed to fill the gap in your teeth.
After osseointegration is complete, the abutment is attached to the implanted post at the gum line. Gum tissue is closed around the abutment, which will eventually connect the implant to the crown or other prosthetic device.
Once the abutment is placed and your gums healed, your artificial tooth or prosthetic designed to mimic the tooth it’s replacing will be custom made and attached to the abutment. Often an abutment can be attached when the implant is placed, and these steps can be combined.
Once your dental implant surgery is complete, you will care for your new tooth the same as you would your natural teeth by brushing and flossing daily. With proper care, regular cleanings and check-ups, dental implants can last for decades.
Contact our Northern Virginia Dentists
Please call 703-214-3182 to schedule an appointment at Arlington Dental Aesthetics or 703-214-3186 for an appointment at South Riding Smiles. We serve patients in Arlington, South Riding and throughout Northern Virginia.