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All About Dental Implants: What to Expect Before, During, and After the Procedure

In this blog post, we’ll take an in-depth look at what dental implants are, what happens during the dental implant procedure, and what you can expect from the recovery process.
Admire Dental Butler
Dr. Karthik Lakkaraju
February 13, 2023

Do you have missing teeth that leave you feeling self-conscious? If so, dental implants may be a suitable option for you.

Dental implants are a viable choice for many patients looking for a long-lasting teeth replacement option. They offer a natural-looking solution that is durable and won’t need to be replaced regularly. They can last for many years with proper care and maintenance.

However, before making your decision, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of dental implants so you know what you’re getting yourself into. That’s why we put together this guide to help you make an informed decision about whether this is the right procedure for you.

In this blog post, we’ll take an in-depth look at what dental implants are, what happens during the dental implant procedure, and what you can expect from the recovery process. We’ll discuss the benefits of dental implants on oral health, associated risks, and how to take care of your implants.

If you want to restore your beautiful smile, dental implants provide a safe and long-lasting way to replace missing teeth. Read on to learn more!

Summary of The Content

  • A dental implant provides a secure base for replacement teeth.

  • The dental implant procedure is a multi-step process that requires careful planning, skilled execution, and patient commitment to succeed.

  • The types of dental implants are single-tooth implants, implant-supported bridges, implant-supported dentures, and All-on-4 implants.

  • A dental implant consultation is an important part of the process.

  • A qualified dentist will determine a patient’s suitability for dental implants.

  • Risks associated with implants include allergies, infection, implant failure, and more.

  • The dental implant procedure is not painful. However, minor discomfort may be expected.

  • The recovery process for dental implants can take 6-8 months.

  • The dentist may advise some form of activity and diet restrictions during the recovery period.

  • With proper care, dental implants can last for many years.

  • Ask a dentist to get an accurate cost estimate of dental implant treatment.

  • With their many benefits, dental implants are a worthwhile investment.

What Is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root surgically embedded into the jaw bone. It provides a secure base for dental restoration, offering a degree of stability that is not achievable through other methods. The dental implant acts much like a natural tooth root, helping promote healthy bone growth in the jaw.

Unlike dental bridges or dentures, which only replace the orally visible part of the tooth, dental implants completely replace the missing tooth, including the root area. It uses a strong and durable medical-grade titanium post that anchors a dental restoration, such as a dental crown, bridge, or denture, in place.

Dental implants can be used for single teeth, multiple teeth or even entire mouth restorations to bring function and aesthetics back to your smile.

What Happens During a Dental Implant Procedure?

The dental implant procedure usually involves the following steps:

  • Assessment:
    A comprehensive dental assessment is done to see if a patient is suitable for implant surgery. This may require taking X-rays, CT scans and impressions of their mouth.

  • Anaesthesia:
    Before the procedure, the patient will be given local anaesthesia for optimal comfort. This will numb the area around the implant site. In cases where multiple implants are involved or if the patient is overly anxious about the procedure, sedation may be used.

  • Implant placement:
    The dentist will make a small incision in the gum tissue to carefully expose the jawbone. Then, they will drill a hole into the bone and securely fit a dental implant post into place. Once affixed, they will close the gum tissue with sutures so that the implant can stay secure.

  • Healing:
    After the implant is placed, it will take several months for the bone and tissue around the implant to heal and for the implant to fuse with the bone. This process is called osseointegration. The patient will be given a temporary bridge or crown during this time.

  • Abutment placement:
    Once the implant and surrounding tissue have healed and the implant has fused with the bone, the dentist will place an abutment. This metal connector will securely attach the final restoration to the implant post.

  • Prosthesis placement:
    Lastly, the dentist will place a custom-made dental crown, bridge or denture onto the abutments. This completes the dental implant procedure.

Overall, the dental implant procedure is a complex and multi-step treatment process. It requires careful planning, skilled execution, and patient commitment to succeed.

Different Types of Dental Implants

There are several different types of dental implants available. Each of them has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The type of dental implant that is suited for a patient will depend on various factors, such as:

  • The number of missing teeth
  • The amount and quality of the available jawbone
  • The overall health of the patient

Here are the different types of dental implants:

  • Single-tooth implants:
    These implants are used as a replacement for a single missing tooth. The implant post is placed directly into the jawbone, and a dental crown is attached on top of it. Single-tooth implants are ideal for people who want a natural-looking, long-lasting replacement for a missing tooth.

  • Implant-supported bridges:
    An implant-supported bridge is used to replace multiple missing teeth. The bridge is attached to two or more implants surgically placed in the jawbone to act as anchors for the bridge. Implant-supported bridges are a great option for those who want to replace multiple missing teeth in one area.

  • Implant-supported dentures:
    Implant-supported dentures are used to replace an entire arch of missing teeth, either the upper or lower arch. Unlike traditional dentures, implant-supported dentures are secured to the jawbone by several implants, creating a more secure foundation. Implant-supported dentures are suited for those who want to replace all their missing teeth and want a more stable one compared to traditional dentures.

  • All-on-4 dental implants:
    All-on-4 implants are for patients with multiple missing teeth but are not good candidates for traditional implants due to bone loss. The All-on-4 utilises four strategically placed implants to hold the artificial teeth in place, providing a more secure and comfortable option than traditional dentures.

Talk to your dentist about which of these options is right for you. Your dentist will recommend a suitable type of dental implant according to your needs.

What to Expect During the Consultation

A dental implant consultation is an appointment with a dental professional to discuss the possibility of getting dental implants to replace missing teeth. During this consultation, you can expect the following:

  • Medical history review:
    Your dentist will review your medical history to determine if you are a suitable candidate for dental implants.

  • Oral examination:
    Your dentist will examine your teeth, gums, and mouth to evaluate your oral health. X-rays will also be taken to get a better view of your jawbone.

  • Preparation instructions:
    Your dentist may provide instructions to prepare for the procedure. This may include lifestyle modifications and avoiding certain medications.

  • Risks and benefits:
    Your dentist will discuss the risks and benefits of dental implants. They will also inform you of potential complications that may arise during or after the procedure.

  • Treatment options:
    Your dentist will discuss your treatment options. This includes the type of dental implant that is right for your needs and the steps involved in the procedure.

  • Treatment plan:
    Based on the results of the oral examination and discussion of treatment options, your dentist will create a personalised treatment plan that outlines the recommended course of action, expected outcomes, and associated costs.

Overall, a dental implant consultation is an opportunity to discuss your options for tooth replacement. Your dentist will answer your questions and guide you on the ideal way to restore your dental health. After reviewing your options, you can make an informed decision about the right implant for you.

What Makes a Person a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

While dental implants are a popular tooth replacement option, not everyone is an ideal candidate for the procedure. A patient is a good candidate for dental implants if they meet the following criteria:

  • Commitment to oral care:
    The patient must be committed to maintaining good oral hygiene practices. This includes regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups.

  • Good oral health:
    Good oral health is required before dental implants. This includes having healthy teeth and gums free of gum disease (periodontal disease) or tooth decay. Any existing oral health issues must be addressed first before getting dental implants.

  • No chronic medical conditions:
    Certain chronic medical conditions, like autoimmune diseases or uncontrolled diabetes, can affect the success of the dental implant procedure. A potential patient should discuss existing medical conditions with their dentist to determine whether dental implants are a viable option.

  • Non-smoker:
    Smoking can impair the healing process. This can increase the risk of implant failure. A person should be a non-smoker or willing to quit smoking before getting dental implants.

  • Sufficient bone density:
    Dental implants need a strong, healthy jawbone to succeed. Having adequate jawbone density can provide the necessary support needed by dental implants. A bone grafting procedure may be necessary if a person has insufficient bone density due to tooth loss or severe bone loss. This will help rebuild or restore the bone before the dental implant can be placed.

If you want dental implants but are unsure if you’re a good candidate, contact your dental provider for a consultation. They can evaluate your overall health and determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants.

The Benefits of Dental Implants

The benefits of dental implants on oral health are numerous compared to traditional restorative products such as bridges and dentures. Below are seven benefits of dental implants that make investing in them worth it:

  • Durability:
    If maintained properly, dental implants can last decades without needing replacement.

  • Easier eating:
    Thanks to their secure fit, dental implants can withstand the normal biting force.

  • Improved appearance:
    Dental implants give you a more natural smile because they look, feel and function like a real tooth.

  • Improved comfort:
    Unlike dentures and bridges, which can irritate the gums and need replacing every several years, dental implants provide long-lasting comfort.

  • Improved speech:
    Since dental implants don’t come loose, you won’t be dealing with moving dentures while talking or laughing.

  • Preserves facial structure:
    Dental implants prevent bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing, preventing facial sagging.

  • Preserves surrounding teeth:
    Unlike bridges or dentures, which rely on adjacent teeth for support, no other teeth need to be altered during the process.

If you’re looking into getting a new smile, consider learning more about the benefits of dental implants on oral health.

Are There Any Risks for Dental Implants?

Like any surgical procedure, dental implant surgery carries some risks, although they are generally rare and usually minor. Some potential risks of dental implants may include the following:

  1. Allergic reaction:
    On rare occasions, a person may be allergic to the material used for dental implants. Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction include swelling, itching, and redness in or around the mouth.

  2. Damage to adjacent teeth or structures:
    During the implant procedure, it is possible for other teeth, tissues, and nerves to be damaged. This happens when the dentist is not careful while placing the implants.

  3. Infection:
    Infection at the implant site is possible. This occurs when bacteria get into the implant site and causes an infection. This can usually be managed with antibiotics. If the infection is not addressed properly, it can permanently damage the implant and surrounding structures.

  4. Implant failure:
    Although dental implant failures are rare, there is a chance that they could happen if the implant does not properly integrate with the jawbone. Low bone density or other issues may contribute to unsuccessful osseointegration.

  5. Nerve damage:
    Nerve damage is a rare but possible complication of dental implant surgery. This happens when the nerve is injured during the procedure, leading to numbness, tingling, or pain in the mouth, chin, or lips.

  6. Pain or discomfort:
    Pain and discomfort are normal after dental surgery. This can be managed with medication prescribed by your dentist.

Discussing these potential risks and any concerns you may have with your dentist before dental implant surgery is important. With proper planning and a skilled dentist, the risks and complications associated with dental implant surgery can be minimised or prevented.

Is the Procedure Painful?

Dental implant surgery is typically performed under local anesthesia, which numbs the area around the implant site. Patients may experience some discomfort or soreness after the procedure, but most describe it as mild to moderate and easily managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. The level of pain can also vary depending on the patient’s pain tolerance and the complexity of the procedure. However, the dental professional performing the surgery will take steps to ensure the patient is comfortable and pain-free throughout the procedure.

How Long Is the Recovery Process?

The recovery process for dental implants can vary depending on several factors, such as:

  • The patient’s overall health
  • The number of implants
  • The location of the implants

In general, the recovery period for dental implants can take several months. It can be broken down into the following stages:

  1. Initial Healing (0-2 weeks):
    After the implant procedure, patients can expect to experience swelling, bruising, and discomfort. Pain medication may be prescribed to manage discomfort during this time. Patients should avoid eating hard or crunchy foods and stick to a soft diet to avoid irritating the surgical site.

  2. Osseointegration (2-4 months):
    This stage is critical to the success of the implant. During this time, the implant will fuse with the jawbone in a process called osseointegration. Patients will need to follow a strict oral hygiene routine to keep the surgical site clean and avoid disrupting the healing process.

  3. Abutment Placement (4-6 months):
    Once osseointegration is complete, the abutment, a small connector piece that attaches the implant to the replacement tooth, is placed. The abutment is allowed to heal for several weeks.

  4. Crown Placement (6-8 months):
    The final stage of the implant process is the placement of the crown or replacement tooth. The crown is custom-made to match the patient’s natural teeth and is attached to the abutment.

Overall, the recovery process for dental implants can take anywhere from 6-8 months. Some cases can take up to a year, especially if additional treatments like bone grafting or sinus lift are performed. However, patients can typically return to work and resume normal activities within a few days after the initial dental implant placement.

Is There Anything Not Allowed After a Dental Implant Procedure?

After a dental implant procedure, patients are advised to follow certain restrictions to ensure proper healing and reduce the likelihood of complications. These restrictions may vary depending on the specific case and the patient’s overall health. Here are some general guidelines:

Activity restrictions

  1. Avoid strenuous activities:
    Patients should avoid any strenuous activity or exercise for at least a week after the implant procedure. Activities that can increase heart rate and blood pressure should be avoided as they can lead to bleeding and swelling at the surgical site.

  2. Avoid smoking and tobacco products:
    Smoking can significantly slow down the healing process and increase the risk of implant failure. Patients should avoid smoking and using any tobacco products for at least two weeks after the procedure.

  3. Avoid contact sports:
    Patients should avoid contact sports and any other activities that can cause trauma to the implant sites for at least six weeks.

Diet restrictions

  1. Avoid hard and crunchy foods:
    Patients should avoid hard and crunchy foods for at least the first few weeks after the procedure. Chewing on hard foods can put pressure on the implant site and disrupt the healing process.

  2. Stick to soft foods:
    Patients should stick to a soft diet for the first few days after the procedure. Soft foods such as soups, mashed potatoes, and smoothies are easy to chew and will not irritate the surgical site.

  3. Avoid hot and spicy foods:
    Hot and spicy foods can cause irritation at the surgical site. It can lead to pain and discomfort.

It is important to follow the instructions provided by your dentist after a dental implant procedure. By following these guidelines, patients can help promote proper healing and improve the success rate of their dental implants.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

The longevity of dental implants is often a point of concern for many individuals considering dental implant procedures. The good news is that dental implants can easily last for fifteen years or more with proper care and maintenance. In fact, dental implants have a success rate of 90% – 95%.

Of course, other factors can influence how long your dental implants will last. These include:

  • Health and lifestyle habits:
    Smoking, poor oral hygiene, and a lack of regular dental visits can negatively impact the longevity of your dental implants.

  • Overall health:
    How your body responds to the procedure can also affect implant longevity. If you have an underlying health condition or take certain medications that affect healing, this could impact your implant success.

  • Overall care:
    As with any dental restoration, proper care is essential for long-term results. This includes brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day, attending regular professional cleanings and check-ups, avoiding damaging habits like smoking or grinding your teeth, and more.

  • Quality of the implant and procedure:
    High-quality implants, like those made from titanium, tend to last longer than lower-quality options. Similarly, a properly performed dental implant procedure can lead to better results and longer-lasting implants.

  • Type of implant:
    Different types of implants have different lifespans. Your dentist will be able to provide more information on this.

The longevity of dental implants depends on several factors. The quality of the implant material, the skill of your dentist performing the procedure, and overall care are all important for implant success. Be sure to discuss all of these factors with your dentist before deciding on having dental implants.

How Do I Care for My Dental Implants?

Caring for dental implants is no easy feat, but caring for them can help them last for many years. Here are seven care tips to help you get the most out of your dental implants:

  1. Brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time.
  2. Floss every day to remove bacteria, plaque, and food debris from around the dental implant.
  3. Use non-abrasive toothpaste.
  4. Use special cleaning tools such as interdental brushes and water flossers.
  5. Use an oral rinse that can protect your gums and fight off infections caused by bacteria.
  6. Schedule regular cleanings and check-ups with a dentist or hygienist.
  7. Avoid crunchy/hard foods that can damage your dental implant.

Following these care tips can help keep you smiling broadly, knowing that your investment in dental health is safe and secure.

How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?

When considering dental implants, it is important to understand the expected costs. Generally, the cost depends on several factors, such as:

  • The number of implants needed
  • The need for additional procedures such as bone grafts or tooth extraction
  • The dentist’s location, skill and experience
  • The type of material used
  • The type of implant

For a single-tooth implant, costs usually fall between $5,000 and $7,000, making it a more affordable option in dental care. For an implant-supported bridge, the range is usually between $7,200 and $12,500, while implant-supported dentures fall within the range of $15,000 to $18,000.

The most expensive option is the All-on-4 dental implants which generally need an investment of between $23,000 to $27,00 per arch of teeth.

Considering all these variables makes dental implant treatment a procedure that should provide years of useful service.

Are Dental Implants Worth the Investment?

For those considering dental implants, the upfront monetary investment can be a major factor in the decision-making process. The question of whether they are worth the investment is one that often arises.

Dental implants provide long-term benefits in terms of restoration of dental function, improved quality of life and improved oral health. All things considered, dental implants can prove to be a wise investment for those wishing to improve not just their dental health but their overall quality of life.

Final Thoughts

Dental implants are an effective and long-term solution for replacing missing teeth. They offer many benefits, including improved oral health, increased comfort and stability, and improved speech and chewing ability.

Like any dental work, dental implants require proper care and maintenance for longevity and success. But don’t shy away from the idea of getting dental implants- talk to a dentist about it today!

If you’re considering dental implants as an option for replacing missing teeth, we invite you to book an appointment at Admire Dental Butler. Our experienced team of dental professionals will be more than happy to assess your eligibility for the treatment, discuss all associated risks and benefits with you, and answer any questions you may have.

We’ll be with you in every step of the procedure, from start to finish, so you can get the beautiful smile you deserve!

dr lakkaraju


Dr. karthik lakkaraju

Dr. Karthik sees joy in his work to transform patients’ smiles through his comprehensive treatment plans. His years of experience have earned him a good reputation for improving oral health.