Choosing to replace your teeth with dental implants is exciting. The end result is a custom set of new teeth that will look, feel and function like real teeth. However, the process may seem overwhelming to some. There is a lot of planning and many steps are involved in the process. Dr. Trinkner and Dr. Keefer are dental implant dentists in Columbia, SC that provide dental implants. Below, they break down the entire process.
Step by Step Dental Implant Process
The dental implant process will take several months and several trips to our Columbia, SC dental office to complete. For some patients, it can even take over a year before they get their new teeth. Every patient who receives an implant supported restoration will first undergo a dental exam. Their dentist will also review their medical history and take x-rays. Before the dental implant treatment will even start, your dentist will have a well-planned treatment plan mapped out.
The first step is to remove any damaged or diseased teeth. Years of neglect can leave your teeth damaged beyond repair. If you have any of these, we will need to remove them first to prepare your mouth for the next steps.
Dental implants require a healthy amount of bone to support them. Some patients may have bone that is too soft or that is not thick enough. The surgery will likely fail if there is not enough bone to support the implants. However, a bone grafting procedure can build up the bone in the jaw where it is lacking. There are several different materials your dentist can use including natural or synthetic. For some, it may take several months for the transplanted bone to grow new bone. It will simply depend on each patient’s unique case.
Placement of Implant Fixtures
Placing implant fixtures requires a surgical procedure. Your dentist will need to make an incision on the gums to access the bone. Then they will drill small holes in the bone where the implant fixtures will go. The implant will go deep into the bone. When all the implants are in place, the dentist will close up the gums. You may receive a temporary restoration depending on where your teeth are missing.
Healing and Bone/Implant Fusing
For the next several months, your surgical site will be left alone to heal. At this time, the surrounding jaw bone will fuse to the dental implants. Once the implants are fully fused to the bone, they will serve as the missing teeth roots and provide a sturdy a base for the new dental restoration.
Placement of the Abutment
The next step is to place an abutment on the implants. The type you need will depend on the type of dental restoration you are attaching to the implants. Your dentist will uncover the implants and secure the abutments. You will need several more weeks of recovery time.
Attaching the Final Dental Restoration
The last step in the implant process is to secure the final dental restoration. Your last appointment will consist of your dentist trying on your new teeth to ensure fit, look, and function. When everything looks good, they will permanently secure the restoration to the implants. You will leave our Columbia, SC dentist office with a new smile.
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