Dental Implants Procedure : From Start to Finish

Dental implants are used as anchors for artificial teeth, replacing a missing tooth to restore your smile and prevent jaw bone loss. Many people who get a dental implant procedure find that the process restores their facial appearance and leaves them comfortable smiling again.


If you are considering a dental implant procedure to replace a missing tooth, the first step is a consultation with your dentist. During this time, expect a physical examination and x-rays of your mouth and teeth, along with a medical history evaluation. This process will ensure that you are a good candidate for dental implants, and help the dentist in planning your dental implant procedure.


How dental implant surgery is performed depends on the style of implant, the condition of your jawbone and teeth, and other factors. All dental implant surgeries require at least two stages, which means that the implant process takes several months. Each stage may be performed with local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia, and the procedure itself usually takes an hour or two.

Depending on the results of your consultation evaluation, you may need to undergo a bone grafting procedure to build up the jaw bone before the implant can be placed. This insertion of bone or soft tissues will ensure that the dental implants procedure provides a strong anchor for the artificial tooth. If there is not enough jaw bone available and the grafting procedure is not done, the implant is likely to fail.

The dental implant procedure requires a two-step process. During the first step, the gum is cut open, exposing the bone. A small hole is then drilled into the jaw bone, and a titanium screw is inserted into the hole.  Then, the gum tissue is secured back over the area, and the screw is allowed to heal for three to six months. This allows for osseointegration, the process by which the implant forms a strong bond with the bone. During the second procedure, this screw is uncovered, and an artificial tooth or crown is added. Depending on the design of the implant, it may require an abutment, which is a separate device that attaches to the screw, extends beyond the gumline, and is used to attach the crown.


The recovery following dental implant placement depends on a number of factors, including the number of stages required to complete your treatment. Following each surgical stage, patients can expect some discomfort, swelling, bleeding, and bruising, although these side effects should be minor and will dissipate in about a week. Your dentist may prescribe pain medication to relieve any discomfort you feel. For about a week after the procedure, your diet will be restricted to soft foods. Any stitches used for this procedure are usually self-dissolving; otherwise, you may need to visit the dentist for removal.


If cared for properly, dental implants can be a permanent solution to a missing tooth. It is important to brush and floss regularly and avoid smoking to prevent implant failure or infection. While the implant itself can last a lifetime, the crown may need to be replaced in a few years, particularly if it becomes cracked or damaged.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie May 30, 2014 at 4:26 am

Began the dental implant procedure today with the placement of the titanium screw in the jawbone. Because my jawbone is healthy and my overall health is great, I was able to avoid having the gum flap, bone graft and stitches. My dentist was able to drill directly through the gum tissue into the bone. My procedure was done at 1:00 this afternoon; it is now 9:30 p.m. and my pain level is mild to slightly moderate. I took one Vicoprophen at 4:00 p.m. and am just now feeling like it would be wise to take another so I don’t have pain during the night. In addition to the slight pain I have where the implant was placed, I have some slight swelling and tenderness right below my jaw, but I’ve had toothaches that have hurt far worse! Much less pain than I expected! I also had a molar extraction today as it was on the same side as the implant so I had a double-whammy day at the dentist. I have had NO pain from the extraction! I’m regret reading all of the “horror” stories; I got myself all worked up for nothing!! Hope everyone’s implants go as well as mine did today!


James January 11, 2015 at 4:24 am

I am quite interested by the implant procedure. May I ask where did you have your implant(s) done, how many implants? individuals or a whole arch? and how much did it cost?
Thank you.


Sharon Bretl May 28, 2017 at 5:46 pm

I paid last year for full upper dentures and six lower implants and I still haven’t had a finished product. It’s been 16 months and I have lost money and my employment since last year in February when I officially paid for the entire process. I have yet to see my final investment and was wondering if this is normal and do you think as a professional doctor do I have any legal actions to act on for such a long wait for my dental work done so far.


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