The Dental Implant Process: Step-by-Step Guide and FAQ

 

The dental implant process can seem quite intimidating at first. Learn about the steps of this common dental procedure, so you know what to expect.

We’ll answer all of your most pressing questions about getting a dental implant in this post.

Stay tuned!

Two Types of Dental Implants

There are two different types of dental implants out there. The dental implant process differs a bit depending on which one of these two you get:

  • Endosteal (in the jawbone): Implants that fuse with the jawbone are the most common types of dental implants. They look like screws, and they’re made of body-friendly materials, such as titanium or zirconia. This type of implant is extremely secure, like the natural root of a tooth.
  • Subperiosteal (on the jawbone): If there isn’t enough healthy jawbone to support an implant, a subperiosteal implant is the best choice. The dentist places this on top of the jawbone, underneath your gum tissue. While it doesn’t require drilling into the bone, it’s also the less stable option.

The Dental Implant Process in 6 Steps

Knowing the steps of the dental implant process can help you prepare mentally for the surgery.

While there may be some variation depending on special circumstances, a general dental implant procedure happens like this:

Evaluation

First, your dentist will evaluate the condition of your teeth and mouth. They’ll determine which type of dental implant will be most suitable for you and discuss your options with you.

Usually, your dentist will examine your teeth and refer you to an oral surgeon to complete the rest of the dental implant process. Oral surgeons are specifically trained medical professionals who have the skills and knowledge to complete surgery inside your mouth. 

Tooth Extraction

If you’re getting an implant to replace an infected or decayed tooth, your dentist will first need to remove the tooth.

Placing the Implant

Next, the dentist will place the implant. How that happens depends on whether you’re getting an endosteal or a subperiosteal implant.

To place an endosteal implant, the oral surgeon first cuts your gums to reveal the jawbone. Next, they’ll drill into it to create space for the deepest part of the implant called the post. Once the post is in place, they’ll close your gums and sew the wound to help it heal.

If you’re getting a subperiosteal implant, the dentist will cut your gums and place the implant on your jawbone.

After this step in the dental process, the dentist will place a temporary denture while your wound heals for aesthetic purposes.

Fusing The Jawbone And The Implant

After surgery, you need several months to heal. During this time, your jawbone will fuse to the implant’s post, which will give it a secure and permanent holding in your mouth.

This is called osseointegration.

You may feel discomfort, especially in the first couple of days after your surgery. But as your gums heal, the jawbone underneath does as well.

This step is the reason the dental implant process lasts so long. Recovery time amounts to longer than the procedure itself. Osteointegration can take anywhere between 2 to 6 months.

Placing the Abutment

The abutment is the extension of the post of the dental implant. While the post is mostly in the jawbone, the abutment reaches the surface of your gums.

Sometimes, the abutment’s placed at the same time as the post. Alternatively, it can be added later as a separate surgery. This is a minor surgery that takes place under local anesthetics.

Placing the Tooth

After months of healing, it’s time to replace the temporary denture with the permanent tooth. This is the last step of the dental implant process.

The dentist places an artificial tooth that’s custom-made to fit your other teeth. This will easily integrate with the abutment, and the implanted tooth will look completely natural.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Dental Implant Process

While knowing the specific steps of the dental implant process can help you prepare mentally, you may still have other questions. These are some of the most common questions asked by dental patients considering implants. 

Why Do I Need a Dental Implant?

Dental implants are great to replace individual teeth permanently. If you’re missing teeth, implants can provide the look and function you need to eat and speak normally.

Not to mention the aesthetic reasons behind getting an implant. Having all your teeth is the ticket to a great smile.

What Are Dental Implants Made Of?

Dental implants are made from bio-friendly materials. The most common material for dental implants is titanium.

Titanium is especially useful for the post and the abutment, as these aren’t visible once the artificial tooth is placed.

Zirconia, or porcelain, is also a common type of implant. While you’ll usually find the tooth made out of this white and naturally tough material, sometimes even the post and the abutment are made of zirconia. Zirconia implants usually cost more than their titanium counterparts.

What Do Dental Implants Look Like?

Dental implants look very similar to a real tooth. But, instead of the root of the tooth, you have a screw.

A dental implant consists of three different components:

  • Post: This is the screw-like device that gets drilled into your jawbone. It’s not visible once it’s placed in your mouth.
  • Abutment: This is a tiny piece of metal that forms the middle of the implant. It connects the screw to the surface of your gum line.
  • Artificial tooth: This is the only visible part of the dental implant. It’s made to look and feel like a real tooth.

Are Dental Implants Better Than Dentures?

Whether you need dentures or dental implants depends on how many teeth you’re missing and where.

If you’re missing one or two teeth in different parts of your mouth, two separate implants may be more useful than dentures.

On the other hand, if you’re missing more teeth in a row, a full or a partial denture is the right choice for you. The health and state of your other teeth also play a big part in this decision.

Generally speaking, dental implants are the most sophisticated option for an artificial tooth. If the dentist recommends an implant, it means that most of your teeth are healthy, and only a select few need replacement.

It’s always best to listen to your dentist’s advice. They’re the most qualified to make a decision. If they recommend the implant, that means that that’s the best option for you.

Do Dental Implants Look Like Teeth?

Yes, dental implants are custom-made to fit the color and shape of your other teeth. Ideally, even you would have a hard time telling your implant apart.

That’s why dental implants are a great option to complete your smile.

How Many Teeth Can Be Implanted?

Several teeth can be implanted at the same time. Sometimes, one post (aka one drill into your jaw bone) can support two abutments.

However, if you’re missing the majority of your teeth, dentures may be the better option for you.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

Dental implants last forever. You’ll only need to replace them if you damage your tooth or a complication happens during osteointegration.

You can avoid damaging your implanted tooth by taking care of it along with the rest of your teeth. Brush and floss twice a day, avoid bad teeth habits, and wear a mouthguard while playing contact sports.

Implanted teeth can break or chip just like natural teeth. So, be careful. You don’t want to go through the dental implant process again.

How Much Does the Dental Implant Process Cost?

The cost of the dental implant process is one of the most common questions we get asked. Every dental practice prices its services and products differently.

Generally, zirconia implants cost a little bit more than titanium implants. And the more procedures you need (tooth extraction, abutment, adjustments), the higher the price will be.

A ballpark price for the whole dental implant process could be anywhere between $1400-2000.

However, you can significantly reduce this cost with the Carefree Dental Card.

Save on Your Dental Implant Surgery

The dental implant process isn’t just intimidating. It’s also expensive. And if you don’t have insurance, the price of dental implant matters.

With Carefree Dental, getting your dental implant at a participating dentist means that you’re eligible for a 15-50%* discount per visit in most instances. And since the Carefree Dental Card only costs $15.95/month for individuals and $19.95/month for families.

That means you can get HUGE savings for your whole household at an affordable rate.

Ready to save BIG on your dental implant process? Sign up the Carefree Dental Card today!

 

* Actual costs and savings vary by provider, service and geographical area. 

The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed dentist or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

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