Millions of Americans have at least one missing tooth. With rapid technological advances, there are numerous options for individuals with missing teeth to restore their smiles. Dental implants are foremost among the options available to patients. However, some people are wary of the pain that they believe an implant procedure may entail. Fortunately, an implant procedure is not nearly as uncomfortable as some may believe, for the reasons explained further below.
Chronology of an Implant Procedure
A dental implant is a small surgical component that is placed into the jaw bone or skull to support a dental prosthesis, usually a crown. The process of placing an implant is relatively straightforward. If the tooth has not already fallen out, I extract it. I may perform a bone graft, also called a ridge preservation, at the extraction site to strengthen the area where I will place the implant. Finally, I perform a procedure to place the implant into the area where the tooth previously existed.
To watch a general overview of the implant process, view the video below:
The Implant Procedure Itself
The actual procedure during which I place the implant takes only a short time to complete—usually an hour or less. I begin by using a topical anesthetic to numb the area where I will place the implant. Then I gently inject the area with a local anesthetic.
Once the region is numb, I make a small incision in the gum. From there, I use a sequence of drills ranging from a small diameter up to a diameter that matches the width of the implant. This way, I am able to prepare the area in the exact dimensions of the implant that I will place moments later. Because of the speed, high torque, and size of the instruments, there is minimal pressure placed on the jaw, helping diminish any potential discomfort. Moreover, the localized anesthetic ensures that the patient will not experience pain.
Finally, I use a very fine drill to screw the implant into place. Because the area has been precisely prepared to fit the implant, the process is quick. Then, I screw in the implant, which acts as a replacement for the tooth root. I place a healing cap over the implant and secure the gum over the area. Then the patient waits several months for osseointegration – the fusing of the implant to the surrounding bone – to occur.
A main reason that implant procedures are usually straightforward is that the procedure itself is quite precise. I choose tools specifically for each individual patient so that the procedure takes as little time as possible. I also use an atraumatic technique that prevents potential damage or trauma to the surrounding tooth-supporting structures. Finally, the implant procedure generates very little heat, which promotes quick healing and osseointegration.
The idea of undergoing an implant procedure may seem daunting to some. But in reality, it is quick, straightforward, and relatively comfortable. Have questions? Give us a call at 919-518-8222.