The dental implant process is carried out in three stages in three separate appointments that span across months. Before the actual procedure takes place, you will receive an oral exam and x-rays will be taken to ensure that you have adequate oral health and jawbone structure to support your Fort Mill dental implants.
If you do not have adequate jawbone structure, bone grafting may need to be performed before an implant can be inserted into the jawbone. The first appointment consists of making an incision into the gums and drilling into the jawbone. A titanium post is implanted into the jawbone and will fuse with the jawbone over 3-6 months.
After osseointegration is complete, you will return to the dental office for another minor oral surgery. The gums will be reopened to attach an abutment to your implant. Six weeks later, at your third and final appointment, your dental crown will be ready to be attached. This crown is created from impressions of your teeth and will look very natural.
Both minor surgeries will take from a few days to two weeks to heal. The exact healing time is too variable to say for sure, as every person is different and engages in different behaviors. Smoking, consuming alcohol, eating hard foods, and not following aftercare instructions will delay the healing process.
It’s important to understand that even though your mouth will heal from the initial surgery within 2 weeks, it will still take several months for osseointegration to occur. Osseointegration is the process of your dental implant fusing with the jawbone.
When your implant is complete, it will stimulate the bone when you chew to prevent bone loss and function just like a natural tooth.
You will receive local anesthesia before the oral surgeries involved with dental implants. You must wait until the numbness has completely worn off before eating or consuming hot liquids so you do not damage your mouth.
Some minor bleeding and swelling are to be expected. You will be given fresh gauze after the implant procedure to bite down on for 30 to 60 minutes to stop the bleeding. If bleeding continues, replace it with fresh gauze or try biting down on a caffeinated tea bag that contains tannic acid. Tannic acid promotes blood clotting.
It’s important not to disturb or dislodge your blood clot so you need to refrain from eating hard or sticky foods, sucking out of a straw, spitting, consuming alcohol, caffeine, or smoking.
Your dentist will give you specific cleaning instructions but you may be advised to avoid brushing for the first day and to only rinse your mouth with a saline solution. Don’t spit this out; instead, lean over the sink and let the water fall out. Stick to soft foods and chew on the opposite side of your mouth.
Dental implants are the best method of tooth restoration. They fully restore the appearance and function of your teeth. The stimulation of the jawbone preserves jawbone density and prevents further bone loss.
Dental bridges and dentures are unable to do this so they contribute to bone loss and lead to shifting or crooked teeth and changes in the facial structure which can lead to premature aging. Other benefits of dental implants are:
Are you interested in replacing missing teeth with a permanent solution that prevents further bone loss? Dental implants are a unique tooth replacement that restores the appearance and function of teeth in a way that other tooth replacements can’t.
Contact us at to learn more about dental implants. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Leah R. Luck today to find out if dental implants could be right for you.