Placing a dental implant is a multi-step process that can require up to 18 months. It is not a procedure that can be completed in one visit. The process includes:
- Examination from Dr. Stallings: Dr. Stallings will examine the area in the mouth where the dental implants will be placed. Using X-rays and other dental imaging tools, he will assess the jawbone and determine if the tooth implant can be placed or if more bone is needed.
- Damaged teeth removal: If you have damaged teeth in or surrounding the implant site, these teeth will need to be removed first. Patients are given local anesthetic to numb the affected area.
- Bone graft: If the jawbone requires strengthening, an alveolar bone graft is placed to provide a solid foundation of bone for the implant. If bone loss is present, an onlay bone graft may be required. After the extractions and initial bone graft, the site is allowed to heal for at least three months. However, if enough bone is present at the initial visit, tooth extraction and implant placement can occur at the same appointment
- 4) Dental implant insertion: During the placement appointment, the dental implant is placed onto the bone. Healing time varies from person to person, depending on the quality of bone. However, it typically takes between two to six months. To ensure no infection occurs, Dr. Stallings will schedule follow-up appointments.
- 5) Abutment placement: Once the implant is stable, Dr. Stallings will place an abutment (a prosthetic component that holds the replacement tooth or teeth) on top of the implant. A healing cap will be placed to ensure that the tissue does not grow over the abutment.
- 6) Permanent teeth placement: Once your gums heal, Dr. Stallings will finally add your replacement teeth. These teeth will be either screwed into the abutment or glued on with cement.