If your teeth are badly decayed, damaged, or even missing, dental implants can give you the power to once again enjoy a picture perfect smile. However, the process of placing these implants can take several months to complete. Consequently, if you are like many people, you may find yourself a bit overwhelmed by the idea of undergoing such a complex and lengthy process. In many cases, developing an understanding of what will happen during each step of this process can help to eliminate this anxiety.
The First Stage
When you first visit your dentist to start the dental implant process, you can expect that they will take a full mold of your existing teeth and gums. This mold is then sent to a lab where it is used to fabricate the dental crowns that will replace your natural teeth once your implants are in place.
During this first visit, your dentist will also perform any tooth extractions that are necessary. If you are simply replacing a missing tooth, this part of the process will not be necessary. However, if you are using dental implants to replace all of your remaining teeth, the process of extracting all of your teeth could take several hours.
The Second Stage
After allowing ample time for your gums to heal from any extractions that were performed, your dentist will schedule a date for your implants to be surgically placed. In most cases, this surgery will take place on an outpatient basis at a local hospital or surgical center. During this surgery, your dentist will make small incisions in your gums through which your implants can be inserted. Next, a dental drill will be used to make small openings in your jawbone where the implants will be placed. Finally, your dentist will close your gums.
In the months that follow this procedure, your jawbone will heal around your implants giving them the strength they need to support your dental crowns. During this time, you may be provided with a pair of temporary dentures so that you can continue to chew food and speak clearly until you are ready to move on to the final stage of the process. This is especially common in situations where multiple teeth are being replaced by the implants.
The Third (And Final) Stage
After you have healed completely from your surgery, it will be time for your dentist to attach your crowns to the implant. This is done by first making a small incision in the gums above each implant and attaching a small metal post which extends the implant above the gum level. The dental crown is then attached to the metal post using a durable dental cement.
After completing this stage, you will have successfully made the transition from the smile you have now, to a smile that makes you say wow.