Dental Implant FAQs

By Aaron Strickland, D.D.S. on July 10, 2018

50717993_sSo, you’ve decided to have one or more teeth replaced with the help of a dental implant. Congratulations! Dental implants are one of the most popular methods of replacing missing teeth. Here are a few of the most common questions we hear from patients who have chosen dental implants.

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What should I do before my dental implant surgery? 

Before your dental implant surgery, your dentist will probably recommend a routine cleaning to ensure the health of the remaining teeth and gums. You may also want to consider a whitening treatment before the final crown is placed, especially if the tooth is in the front. The crown will not respond to whitening treatment like a natural tooth. If teeth whitening is something you are considering, it is recommended to do it before your permanent restoration is placed.

Can you remove a tooth and replace it with a dental implant in the same appointment?

It is possible to place implants immediately into the extraction socket and then build up a temporary tooth on top of the implant. However, whether or not this is possible in a certain circumstance depends on several factors. The surgeon will consider the health of the gum and underlying bone, the health of neighboring teeth, and mainly, the chance of infection. If there is any sign of infection, the implant has to wait. If the process is unable to be completed in one appointment, don’t worry – there are plenty of temporary solutions to replace a tooth until the site is fully healed.

How painful will the dental implant procedure be?

 Most patients opt for a normal dental local anesthetic to be used. Once the anesthetic numbs the mouth, you will not feel anything sharp or painful at all through the treatment. You may feel some pressing, pushing, or the vibration of the drill, but this will not be painful or sharp in any way. Your dentist will check to make sure you are completely numb before the surgery.

For a more complex procedure, such as multiple implants, or cases that require bone grafts, sedation may be provided. Sedation is not an anesthetic, but it helps to relax patients and put them at ease. Patients who have been sedated often do not remember much about the procedure, which is an advantage for patients who may be nervous or anxious about dental work.

Unfortunately, however, you may experience some pain in the hours and days following the procedure as the anesthetic wears off. You may be prescribed a pain medication to help manage discomfort.

Can I get a dental implant if I am a smoker?

Smoking does affect both natural teeth and dental implants. For natural teeth, smoking increases the risks of gum disease. For implants, smoking increases the risks of complications along every stage of implant treatment. The good news is that this increased risk is very slight, and we successfully treat patients who are smokers daily at White River Dental. (Although, of course, we do recommend that you stop smoking!)

How long will the dental implant process take?

The surgical procedure itself is common and fairly straightforward, and surgery usually only lasts 10-15 minutes for a typical case. Of course, this time will be longer with a more complex case or if a bone graft is needed.

 If there is no sign of infection and the implant is integrating into the bone properly, the permanent crown can usually be placed in eight to ten weeks. However, sometimes treatment and healing time can take longer, sometimes up to a year, depending on the complexity of the case. A closer approximation of completion time will be assessed at your consultation with White River Dental.

Do I need to make a separate appointment to have the crown placed?

 The implant procedure and permanent crown placement are typically performed in two separate appointments. This depends on the type of implant (mini implant or traditional implant), the number of implants, implant material, the type of restoration (dentures, bridge, crown), and the overall health of the patient. You may be presented with options for a temporary restoration while your implant is healing.

How should I take care of my dental implant after surgery?

 Immediately after surgery, you may be prescribed antibiotics to reduce the chance of infection while the surgical site is healing. You should continue to brush as normal, but exercise care around the implant while it continues to heal.

Once your implant site has healed, you do not need to do anything special to care for your implant. It will function like a natural tooth and will literally become fused with bone. You just need to continue to maintain proper oral hygiene to ensure a long lifespan of both your natural teeth and your implant.

Still have questions?

 We would love to hear from you! Connect with us on Facebook, submit the contact form at the bottom of this page, or give us a call today.

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Everyone was very professional, yet very laid back, making an unpleasant procedure much easier to have done. The follow-up​ call from the doctor showed that he cares about his patients. Stephanie C.

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