The Dental Implant Process: What to Expect

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About Dr. Peter Zwier

For over 30 years, Dr. Peter J. Zwier has been providing a broad range of general and cosmetic dental services to Grand Rapids, meeting the needs of your whole family in one convenient location. Your oral health is extremely important to your body’s wellbeing, and a beautiful smile is a wonderful asset at any age.

A dental implant procedure replaces a missing tooth with artificial tooth roots. Once the artificial roots have bonded with your jawbone, it can support a replacement tooth, which is known as a crown. Dental implants come with a lot of benefits if you’re missing one or more teeth because they are designed to function, look, and feel like your natural teeth. If you’re considering dental implants or your dentist recommends them, then here’s what to know about the process.

What’s the Procedure Like?

Dental implants can be placed during an outpatient procedure. Implants are made of materials such as titanium that fuse to the jawbone and mimic the natural root of the tooth. The prosthetic root is very stable and acts just like a natural tooth, blending with the rest of your teeth. Having dental implants placed requires a few office visits, which includes a consultation, an appointment to place the implant, and one to attach the crown. If you’ve been missing a tooth for a significant amount of time, you may have experienced bone loss so a bone graft may be necessary before the implants are placed.

After the area has been numbed, you’ll have an incision made for the artificial root to be placed into the jawbone. After the implant has been placed, it can take several months for it to fuse with your jawbone, which is known as osseointegration. Once the implant is secure, you’ll have an abutment placed over the post of the dental implant. Once your gums are healed, an impression of your teeth will be made to create the crown that will be placed on the abutment.

How to Prepare for Dental Implants

During your consultation, you’ll have a comprehensive exam to see if you’re an ideal candidate for implant placement. The procedure itself can be performed with IV sedation or local anesthesia. If you’re opting for local anesthesia, it’s okay to eat something light a few hours before your procedure. If you opt for IV sedation, you shouldn’t eat anything after midnight the night before the procedure. You’ll also need to get a ride home after surgery. You may be prescribed antibiotics before surgery to prevent infection, and an antibacterial mouthwash can also be beneficial before you have the dental implant placed. It’s also suggested to stop smoking before the surgery because it can hinder healing. You’ll receive detailed instructions to follow before your surgery to ensure your procedure goes smoothly.

Recovery After Dental Implants

After the implants are placed, it’s normal to feel minor pain, bruising, and swelling. It’s recommended to eat cold, soft foods and warm soup during the healing process. Over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, can be taken to relieve any discomfort. To ensure your dental implants last, it’s important to practice proper dental hygiene. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss, and you’ll also need to maintain routine follow-up appointments. While dental implants can’t decay like your natural teeth, periodontal disease can have a negative impact on your implants. Your dentist will give you the best idea of how to care for your implants going forward.

Schedule a Consultation

Dental implants are an excellent way to restore your smile with long-term results. To learn more and begin planning your procedure, we invite you to contact our Kentwood office by calling or filling out our online form.