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A dental implant procedure is when an oral surgeon inserts artificial tooth roots into your jawbone. These implants bond with the bone, allowing the provider to place replacement teeth called crowns. Dental implants can be an option if you have one or more missing permanent teeth. They’re made to look, feel, and function like your natural teeth.

This article discusses what a dental implant procedure is and how to prepare for it. It also covers what to expect during the procedure and recovery.

What Is a Dental Implant Procedure?

A dental implant procedure is an outpatient surgery. The implant is made of titanium and other materials that fuse with your jawbone and imitate the root of a tooth.2

 This artificial root allows the dentist to secure your replacement teeth so they feel stable and blend in with your surrounding teeth.

Getting dental implants requires several appointments. This includes a consultation, an appointment to place the implant, and another to attach the new teeth.

Contraindications

Growing children may not be able to get a dental implant until their jaw growth and development is complete.3 People with chronic diseases such as diabetes or leukemia may not be good candidates for dental implants either. That’s because those conditions can interfere with healing after surgery.

If you smoke, your dentist may not recommend surgery since smoking can slow healing.2 Talk with your dentist about your medical history and lifestyle habits to ensure that you’re a good candidate for the procedure.

What Is the Purpose of a Dental Implant Procedure?

A dental implant can replace one or more permanent teeth lost to an injury, gum disease, tooth decay, or infection.3 When you talk with your dentist at the initial consultation, they may discuss other options for replacing the teeth as well. These may include dentures and bridges.

They’ll discuss with you whether you have enough space and bone in the area of the missing tooth for the procedure.

If your tooth has been missing for a while, you may have bone loss. This requires a bone graft before you will be able to proceed with dental implant surgery.1

How to Prepare for a Dental Implant Procedure

Before the procedure, you’ll see your dentist for an initial consultation. Your dentist will give you a comprehensive examination. They’ll take X-rays and discuss with you the options to develop a plan for the implant surgery.

Once you’ve developed a plan and they’ve established that you’re in good health, they’ll schedule the surgery appointment. If your dentist recommends IV sedation for the procedure, you’ll need to arrange for someone to bring you home afterwards.

 

Location

A dental implant procedure is typically done at a dental office. It’s performed by a team of professionals trained in oral surgery and restorative dentistry.

Food and Drink

If you are having local anesthesia, you can eat a light meal a couple of hours before the procedure. If you’re having IV sedation, you’ll be advised not to eat anything after midnight the night before the surgery. This helps ensure your stomach is empty.

Medications

Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to take for a few days before surgery to prevent early implant failures.5 They may also have you rinse with a special anti-bacterial mouthwash, such as chlorhexidine

Pre-Op Lifestyle Changes

Smoking may lower the success of dental implants because it can slow healing.3 If you smoke, talk with your dentist about whether you should get dental implants.

What to Expect During a Dental Implant Procedure

Your dentist will advise you on the best method to place the dental implants. In certain cases, it is possible to have the implant placed and the tooth (crown) inserted on the same day. However, it is common for the implant procedure to happen in multiple appointments that are usually several months apart.4

In the first phase, the surgical placement of the implant, you’ll be given local anesthesia to numb your mouth, or you’ll receive IV sedation. That way you won’t feel any pain or discomfort.4

The dentist makes a cut in your gums to place the implant into the jawbone in the location of your missing tooth. Once it’s placed, the dentist closes the gums over the implant so that it remains covered.7

You’ll recover at home and will probably come back for the second phase of the procedure in a few months. That gives enough time for the bone to grow around the implant, making it strong enough to stay in place. This process is called osseointegration, meaning the titanium combines with the bone.

Each patient heals differently, so it can take up to six months before the replacement teeth can be placed. In some cases, a patient can have everything placed in one appointment.2

The dentist will examine you to make sure that the implant is secure. Then, they’ll place a connecting piece called an abutment over the post portion of the implant. This is the part that will hold the new tooth.

When your gums heal, the dentist will make impressions of your teeth. They’ll create a custom replacement tooth, also called a crown.4 The crown is then attached to the abutment.

How Long Is the Recovery After a Dental Implant Procedure?

If your dentist uses IV sedation, you’ll feel a little groggy for several hours.

After the implants are placed, you may experience some bruising, swelling, minor bleeding, and pain. You may be advised to eat soft foods, cold foods, and warm soup while you’re healing.2 To help with any pain, your dentist will probably suggest over-the-counter medications, including Advil (ibuprofen).

Long-term Care

Dental implants typically require the same dental hygiene as your regular teeth. To keep them healthy, brush your teeth twice a day, floss, and see your dentist for regular follow-up appointments. Dental implants don’t get tooth decay, but they can be impacted by periodontal disease, so it’s important to practice good dental care.

Summary

In a dental implant procedure, the oral surgeon places artificial tooth roots in your jaw. These implants fuse with your jawbone to hold replacement teeth.

You’ll need a few appointments to get dental implants. The first is a consultation with the surgeon. Then you’ll have the procedure to place the implant. In a few months, you’ll have an appointment to have the replacement teeth placed. This gives enough time for your bone to grow around the implant so it stays in place.

During the procedure, you may have local anesthesia or IV sedation. Your dentist will also give you instructions on when to stop eating before the procedure. If you’re having IV sedation, make sure you have someone to drive you home after the procedure.

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Zhao Christina

Manhattan

Very happy with my recent visit. They helped reschedule my appointment quickly, along with being able to resolve my attachment on one of my teeth.

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Lauren Wilt

Manhattan

I have been a patient of Dr. Huang's for 12 years and he has always been wonderful. Very attentive service and flexible appointment times. I've referred numerous friends to him and will keep doing so for years to come! He is a great dentist!

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Lauren Wilt

Manhattan

I have been a patient of Dr. Huang's for 12 years and he has always been wonderful. Very attentive service and flexible appointment times. I've referred numerous friends to him and will keep doing so for years to come! He is a great dentist!

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Samantha Christina

Manhattan

Very happy with my recent visit. They helped reschedule my appointment quickly, along with being able to resolve my attachment on one of my teeth.

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Jess Peng
Upper East Side
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Dr Huang and his staff are super nice and professional. The place is sparkling clean. The surgeon who works with them is also great! If you need dental implants, I recommend NY Dental Studio
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李欣烨
Manhattan
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Lauren Wilt
Manhattan
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I have been a patient of Dr. Huang's for 12 years and he has always been wonderful. Very attentive service and flexible appointment times. I've referred numerous friends to him and will keep doing so for years to come! He is a great dentist!
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James Lin
Manhattan
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Had a toothache on Tuesday, called on Wednesday, got my root canal done on Friday No pain, no wait, didn't broke the bank (I didn't have dental insurance) Good location, easy to get to Definitely beyond my expectation
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John B
Brooklyn, NY
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I loathe in-plan dentists and came to Brandon 15 years ago for help when my girlfriend had a cosmetic dental emergency! Failure was not an option and Brandon proved to be the perfectionist. Since then I have have kept coming back for cleanings, and we have watched our families grow.
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