Do you miss the days when you could talk with ease, chew without care, and smile with confidence? If so, then you likely have heard about dental implants as an option to restore your smile to its former glory. Maybe you have a friend or two who’ve had them, too. But as with any surgical procedure, questions inevitably follow.
Our team at Rifkin Dental has years of experience performing dental implant surgery, so we know exactly what you’re signing up for. Here, we walk through the specifics of each phase of dental implant surgery, so you can feel completely prepared.
This first phase of your dental implant journey includes everything from your first consultation with us to the final few moments of preparation before your surgery. During phase one, you can expect the following:
Depending on whether or not you need tooth extraction or bone grafting, this initial phase can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. We may need to remove a tooth if there’s obvious severe damage and decay. Bone grafting is necessary if you’ve lost jawbone mass or the existing bone is too soft to accept an implant.
Phase one is crucial because it ensures you have enough healthy jawbone to accept the implant successfully. We also take the time to address any other lingering oral health problems at the implant site and other areas of your mouth.
Once your oral health is cleared, it’s time for surgery. Dental implant surgery involves placing an artificial root in your mouth where your missing tooth once was. We begin by making a careful incision in your gum to expose the bone. Then, we drill a small hole to make room for the artificial root and place it deep into your jawbone.
After surgery, you still have a visible gap above the gum line, but the gaps are filled where it really counts —below the gum line in your jawbone.
The surgery takes around 1-2 hours, and the recovery time takes upward of 3-6 months. During your recovery, your jawbone gradually fuses with and grows around the artificial root (osseointegration), making it a permanent part of your mouth.
Once the artificial root is firmly in place and osseointegration is complete, we place a small appliance called an abutment on top of your implanted root. This piece connects the implant to your crown, which is the part that people will see when you smile.
This step involves us creating one more small incision in your gum to expose the implant and attach the abutment. We tighten the abutment to make sure it holds onto your crown while you talk and chew. In some cases, we can place the abutment during your original surgery, eliminating an extra surgical step.
We add the permanent crown once your gums are fully healed (around two weeks later). Making and placing a crown usually takes two visits about two weeks apart because we have to take impressions of your surrounding teeth and send them off to a laboratory where they make sure your crown matches in shape, size, and color.
Talk to us about your options for crowns. You can opt for a fixed or removable crown based on your needs and preferences.
It’s been months — maybe even closer to a year — and you finally have the smile you’ve been dreaming of. You might be wondering what happens next.
The best news is that your dental implant allows you to eat, talk, and live normally with your new tooth (or teeth) securely in place. A few things can contribute to implant failure, including smoking, poor oral hygiene, and damaging habits. For that reason, we recommend you do the following:
Interested in dental implants and want to see if you’re a candidate? Have more questions about your upcoming surgery? Call or click to talk to schedule an appointment at one of our Rifkin Dental locations in either Carmel or Yorktown Heights, New York, today.