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An implant is an artificial tooth that is inserted into the jaw bone. Unlike other forms of artificial teeth, implants are not removable. Implants are a permanent part of the mouth. These dental additions are inserted over the course of multiple dental procedures. As a patient, know what to expect when you go get a dental implant. 

Imaging

Before you can get a dental implant, you must first get an x-ray of your mouth. Your dentist will use information from the x-ray to determine whether or not your bones and gums are in proper condition for implant installation.

Once the x-ray is done, your dentist will also make an impression of your mouth so the dentist can design a tooth that looks like your other teeth. The impression is sent to the lab to be analyzed and processed.

Extraction and Implantation

The original tooth must be extracted before a new tooth can be installed. Extraction is done under anesthesia, usually Novocain. Pulling a tooth shouldn’t hurt, but you’ll feel some pressure on the area as the tooth is removed.

Once the tooth has been taken out, a hole must be drilled into the jaw bone to insert the implant. Under the anesthesia, you should feel no pain. You’ll feel some more pressure as the hole is drilled into the jaw. This hole must go deep in order for the implant to form a strong enough bond with the jaw bone.

Once the implant is inserted into the bone, the appointment will be over. You’ll be asked not to smoke or suck through a straw for a few days after the procedure, and you’ll have to eat soft foods for about a week following the procedure.

Your dentist will instruct you to control swelling by holding a cold pack to your face for 20 minutes at a time. Swishing with salt water every 2-3 hours for a few weeks can help control bacteria growth in the mouth. You’ll be able to brush your teeth as normal except in the area around the implant.

At this point, you won’t have a permanent tooth (known as a crown) for the implant, but you won’t be stuck with a big gap either. Your dentist will provide you with a temporary denture or retainer that will cover the implant and disguise the area. 

Abutment and Crown

The abutment is a piece of metal that connects the crown to the implant. The jaw bone must heal before the abutment can be installed. Every patient is different, so you’ll have to communicate with your dentist to find out when it’s ready for the abutment. This piece is tightened with a special torque wrench, but you’ll be under anesthesia so you won’t feel uncomfortable.  

Once the abutment is in place the crown can be attached. The crown is shaped by your original imaging session and is colored to match the rest of your teeth. When the crown is finally attached, you won’t be able to tell the difference between your natural teeth and the implant.

Implants need the same level of care that other teeth require. You’ll brush your teeth and use dental floss and mouthwash like you always did. However, you’ll have to brush your teeth with special toothpaste and use dental floss designed for use with dental implants. 

If you are expecting to get an implant soon and have more questions about the implant installation process, talk to a reputable dentist in your area. At JP Dental and Implant Center, we’re happy to answer your questions about implants and other dental appliances. Contact us today for more information.