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Dental Implant Procedure

What happens when you get dental implants?


Step 1 – Talk to Your Dentist

The first step in your journey to get a tooth replacement through dental implants is to meet with your dentist for a comprehensive dental exam, where they will go through your medical history and see if you’re a good candidate for permanent tooth replacement. 

Once your dentist has decided you’re a good candidate, the procedure will begin.  Now, some patients are able to get the entire process done in one day, others will have to go through a multi-stage process that takes months to complete.  It all depends on what the best option is for the patient.  Not all patients require all steps, and your experience can differ depending on your unique needs. We’ve broken down the most common steps.

Step 2 – Tooth Extraction

If your problematic tooth is still intact, it will be extracted.  This can take some time to heal before the next stage of the process can begin.

Step 3 – Bone Graft

Oftentimes patients aren’t able to get a dental implant immediately after the loss of a tooth, for reasons as there currently isn’t enough bone in the jaw for the implant to adhere to.  If that’s the case, your dentist may perform a bone graft, to ensure there is enough structure for a successful dental implant.  Depending on your current bone condition, a minor graft could be done the same day as the implant insertion, or you may have to wait several months for the graft to be ready.

Step 4 – Implant Insertion

You will be placed under local anesthesia, and your dentist will make an incision in your gum to expose the jawbone.  A drill is used to make space for the titanium implant post, which is then placed deep into the jawbone.  A temporary tooth can be used for aesthetic purposes, but your implant is not ready for a permanent crown.

Step 5 – Bone Growth

This process differs for everyone, but this is the stage where your implant integrates with your jawbone via the process of osseointegration. Your bones and the titanium fuse together to create a secure and stable platform for your new tooth replacement.  This process can take several months, but shouldn’t be rushed. A secure integration is essential for a successful implant.

Step 6 – Abutment

Sometimes the abutment that connects the implant to the crown is already attached to the post, but sometimes it’s a separate piece that needs it’s own outpatient procedure.  For the abutment surgery, the dentist opens up the gum to expose the implant, then attaches the abutment, exposing a small post.  This takes around two weeks to heal before your permanent crown can be connected.

Step 7 – Permanent Crown

The final stage of the dental implant process is where the crown that looks like your own natural tooth is placed on the implant.  The skills and technology of your dentist really comes into play here, as they make all the difference between a beautiful natural looking tooth replacement and one that sticks out as a noticeable fake that detracts from your whole smile.

How painful is it to get dental implants?
Do dental implants hurt afterwards?

Pain is subjective. Some people report no pain, while others can have soreness and aches for up to 10 days after surgery.  After effects of most surgeries still apply here. There can be swelling and bruising of the gums, slight bleeding and pain, but these are not long term, and should clear up in a week or so.  Once the healing process is complete, properly installed dental implants don’t hurt and should feel as unnoticeable as your natural teeth.


Can I eat normally after dental implants?

Depending on what stage you’re at in the process means a different answer.  Any sort of surgery is trauma to the area, and you should stick to soft foods until the healing process is complete.  Your dentist will give you detailed instructions to help with healing.  Make sure to follow these instructions to avoid causing more pain, swelling, bleeding and prolonging the healing process.


What is the failure rate of dental implants?

While dental implants are highly successful, long term solutions, there is a failure rate of 5-10%.  Usually, a patient can take steps to help prevent dental implant failure.


Why are dental implants rejected?

Dental implants can fail for any number of reasons:

  • Smoking – Restricts blood flow to gums, leading to smokers having an implant failure rate of up to 20%.
  • Poor dental hygiene – Inability to care for your teeth properly can lead to gum disease and infections that ultimately end in a failed dental implant.
  • Not enough bone support – If the bone support is ignored or rushed, and there isn’t a good foundation for your tooth replacement implant, it can fail.
  • Allergic reaction – While this is extremely rare, some people are physically allergic to titanium, and their body will not integrate with the implant, making it impossible to have a successful procedure.
  • Impact trauma – An impact, trauma or injury to the area can lead to the implant loosening, which can lead to failure
  • Not following doctor instructions.
  • Inexperienced dentist – There are plenty of nightmare stories online of dentists who caused permanent nerve and tissue damage with dental implants, and even more untold stories of implants that failed due to poor planning.  That’s why it’s so vitally important that you go with an experienced, highly trained dentist with access to the best tools, like the staff at Better Smile, when you decide to invest in permanent dental implants.