Dental Implants: What to Expect and How to Prepare
by Dr. Scott Bolding | Oct. 26 2021
Now that you may be considering the dental implant option, you may be wondering: What exactly should I expect from the whole process, and how can I prepare for it? We are here to help answer that very question. You already know what dental implants are and the pros and cons of receiving them, but what should you expect from the appointments leading up to the smile of your dreams?
What to Expect
Several visits are involved in the process of receiving dental implants.
When you first contact PRECiDENT, we will schedule a consultation, where one of our specialists will discuss all of your options and answer any questions you may have. They will also examine your mouth and jaw to make sure they are ready for the implants to be placed. In addition, they will take X-rays to evaluate your teeth and jawbone. Then, they will use it to design the smile you’ve always wanted using Digital Smile Design software. Through this digital analysis, we take a 3-dimensional scan of your current alignment and examine how your teeth, gums, jaw, and face fit together to determine the best solution for you. This digital scan will also pair up with our robotic technology to assist with the dental implant procedure.
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From this point, if there are any issues with the density or structure of your jaw bone, we will discuss bone grafting or other options. If bone grafting is necessary, this process will entail the removal of bone from another part of your mouth or body to the surgical site(s) on the jawbone. Or, if preferred, this bone can be sourced from someone else or an animal–both of which are just as successful as the transplant from your own body. Then, the bone will take several months to mend and heal. During this time, your diet should consist only of soft foods. After it fully mends, you are ready to begin the implant process.
The implant itself will be surgically placed with the help of anesthesia or numbing medicine. In some cases, the abutment, or piece that binds the implant to the crown, is screwed in at the same time, but this will depend on your specific situation. Typically, just a cap is attached, and the abutment piece is placed in a separate appointment along with the crown months later. These few months allow for healing while the replacement tooth is sized, colored, and created.
Immediately following the procedure, you should expect to experience some discomfort, minor bleeding, bruising, swelling, and/or pain. While over-the-counter drugs typically help relieve pain, please reach out to a specialist for a stronger prescription if you are experiencing sharp pains. Additionally, if you experience any other symptoms, please speak to a specialist ASAP, as other issues such as infection can occur and should not be left untreated. You will also need to follow a soft-food diet during a portion of this time. Once the mouth has fully healed, the crown can finally be attached.
At PRECiDENT, the implant, abutment piece, and tooth can all be placed within just one appointment, thanks to the Yomi robotic assistant and Digital Smile Design. The robot makes a smaller incision, which means a shorter recovery time. Even so, you should still avoid biting into sharp, sticky, and hard foods afterward, especially at the implant site, to avoid complications. For the most part, however, your diet can return to normal soon after. For specific time periods and food restrictions, reach out to your specialist.
Expectations For Mini Dental Implants
In terms of mini dental implants, this option requires much less preparation, time, and surgery than traditional dental implants. Although a consultation is still necessary, there is no need for jaw preparation since the implant is smaller and does not go in as deep. In addition, all parts of the implant can typically be inserted in one sitting–even without a robot.
In the case that same-day tooth placement is not an option, however, the healing process does not last nearly as long as traditional implants, so the tooth or teeth can be placed just weeks rather than months after. You may feel a bit of discomfort for the following few days, but medication will help ease the pain. Swelling or bruising may also occur but will typically disappear within 48 hours. Again, if you experience any other symptoms, please speak to a specialist ASAP, as to avoid other issues down the road.
At this point of the process, you would still need to stick to the soft-food diet during the healing period, but you can return to your normal routine fairly quickly. You should also pay close attention to foods that might come in contact with the implant site; while mini dental implants are sturdy, they are not as sturdy as traditional implants or real teeth.
How to Prepare and What to Think About
There are a few aspects to think about before getting started on your dental implant–most of which involve attention to appearance, health, or cost.
#1 – Do You Want to Whiten Your Teeth Beforehand?
If so, this will affect the overall timeline but allow you to whiten your teeth to the extent of your choosing. Since artificial teeth cannot get whiter (although, they do not stain, either), it is important to keep in mind how white you want your teeth to be; if you decide later on that you want whiter teeth but have already received an implant, that tooth (or teeth) would only stay the same shade while the rest get whiter. This may not be a concern for you if your implant is not visible when smiling, but if the implants are at the front of your mouth, this should be something to consider.
#2 – Gum Trimming and Grafting
Another cosmetic aspect to think about is gum trimming or grafting. These options will further perfect your smile and leave you even more confident than before. Sometimes, people either have too much gum covering parts of their teeth or their gum line has receded, revealing excess bone than desired. Both options may affect the timeline of the process, but if incorporated into the implant surgery, it should not; it all depends on your situation.
#3 – Anesthesia or No Anesthesia
If you decide to take the anesthesia route rather than the numbing one, you will need to think about who will go with you to the surgical appointment. You will be pretty out of it afterward, so you cannot drive yourself home.
#4 – Pricing Options
There are several options available to assist with any concerns you may have about pricing. Your options include the following:
- Financing/payment plans
- Cash discount options
- Cheaper options such as mini dental implants
Helping You Get Back to Normal
Our goal is for you to fully understand your financial options and how those fit into your situation, so we will be sure to discuss those after your consultation. If you would like more information or want to speak with one of our specialists, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call one of our locations.