Getting a Dental Implant? Here's What to Expect
Dental implants are small, biocompatible metal posts that hold a restoration securely in place, acting as artificial tooth roots. Placing dental implants requires an outpatient surgery. The procedure has a high success rate, so it’s a great choice for people who want one tooth replaced or those who want to stabilize a denture.
Dentistry at The Heights in Brooklyn, NY, has been delivering uncompromising excellence to patients in Brooklyn Heights for over 45 years. Dr. Kevin Trotter, the second generation of Heights-Dentistry doctors, can walk patients through what to expect from a dental implant procedure.
How Dental Implants Work
Made of biocompatible materials, usually titanium, dental implants are surgically implanted into the jaw. They fuse with a patient’s jawbone over the course of nine months or so, in a process known as osseointegration. Atop the implant posts, a crown, a bridge, or a denture is placed. These prosthetics are secured to the permanent implants, so they will not slip or fall out the way dentures might.
Candidates for dental implants include individuals who:
- Have one or more missing teeth
- Have strong enough jawbone structure to support implants
- Don’t have health conditions or take medications that hinder bone healing
Preparing for a Dental Implant Procedure
Because dental implants involve surgery, thorough evaluations are necessary beforehand. These include:
- Comprehensive dental exam. Patients will usually have X-rays and/or 3D images taken. Models may also be made of the patient’s mouth.
- Review of medical history. Patients should tell their doctors about existing medical conditions and all medications they are taking. Dental implants may not be ideal for those who cannot tolerate oral surgery.
Dental implant procedures are carried in out in several stages:
The First Oral Surgery
During the surgery to place the implant, the oral surgeon will make an incision in the gum tissue and expose the jawbone. A hole is made where the implant will be inserted. The implant(s) are then anchored into the jaw and the gums sutured.
Once the dental implant is placed, bone begins to fuse with the living tissue (osseointegration). This process can take several months, but it is a critical step that secures the implant to the jaw.
After the implant becomes part of the jawbone, the patient attends an appointment for abutment securement. Abutments are small attachments that we affix to implants to hold a crown, bridge, or denture. The implant head will be revealed by re-opening the gums above each implant. Once the abutment is attached and patients have healed, prosthetics can be placed.
Placing the Implant Restoration
When your gums have healed around the abutments, you’ll visit us again. During this appointment, impressions will be taken for the dental lab. Using these impressions, a lab technician will fabricate your custom crown, bridge, or denture, and send it to our office. You’ll return for another visit so we can attach your permanent prosthetic.
Caring For the New Implant
Your implant-supported restoration will require care very similar to natural teeth. Be sure to brush twice a day, floss daily, and visit our office once every six months for checkups. If you have a denture, be sure to remove it before sleep and soak it in water overnight.
World-Class Dental Implant Care
Dr. Trotter is committed to earning the trust and respect of each of his patients. Call (718) 625-2116 or schedule a free consultation online to have all of your dental implant questions answered at our Brooklyn Heights office.