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Dental implants are a revolutionary approach to replacing one or more teeth. Dental implants are not only natural and easy to take care of, but they have a long lifespan (they can last up to twenty years with proper care and maintenance). Another plus is that dental implant procedures have a very high success rate.

It is important to note that dental implants in Waco, Texas, can take longer to place than other options like dentures or bridges. The time frame of your dental implant placement depends on your personal dental and bone health. In most cases, dental implants can take 4-12 months to place. Here is what you can expect during your treatment.

Dental Implant Treatment Process Consultation

Complimentary Consultation

Before Dr. Johnson starts your dental implant procedure, he will make sure that you are a good candidate for dental implants. A good candidate is someone who has good oral health and can maintain good oral health throughout the treatment process, has enough bone tissue, and doesn’t have active periodontal disease.

Dr. Johnson will conduct a careful examination of your teeth, gums, bone tissue, and X-rays to see if you have jaw bone tissue that is healthy and strong enough to support implants. He will also check to see if you have other issues that need to be addressed before implants can be installed. Some of these issues may include gum recession or underlying medical condition, such as cancer or diabetes, that could affect your healing.

Pre-Implant Surgery

Sometimes, a pre-implant surgery needs to be completed in order to have successful dental implant placement. People who have severely damaged teeth may need to have surgery to remove any broken or damaged teeth to make room for the implant. Bone grafts may be necessary in order to support the implant. While these procedures will require healing time, they are necessary to help ensure that your implant will be placed properly and feel comfortable.

Tooth Extractions

Besides pre-implant surgery, there might be times where Dr. Johnson will have to extract a tooth if it cannot be repaired. Dr. Johnson will perform an exam and take X-rays to look for severely damaged teeth. If a tooth is cracked down to the root or infected, the tooth may need to be extracted instead of repaired. Sometimes, dental implants can be placed into the socket where the tooth was on the same day, but other times, the area may need to heal before the implant can be placed.

Bone Grafting

Your jaw bone can start to weaken or deteriorate whenever a tooth is missing, thus causing a recessed appearance on your outer smile. The longer a tooth is missing, the more likely it is for your other teeth to shift into the hollow space. According to Science Direct, studies show that there can be 25% alveolar bone loss during the first year a tooth is missing and 40% to 60% reduction in bone width within 3 years of a tooth missing. Because of bone deterioration or shifting, bone grafting may be required to accommodate a dental implant. Bone grafting is not as scary as you think! But it does require letting the area heal for at least four months.

Post Placement

Once you are ready to start the dental implant process, you will come into our practice, and Dr. Johnson will place the dental implant base directly into the bone tissue. He will drill a small hole and place the dental implant in. Some patients who are nervous prefer to be sedated. Otherwise, a general local anesthetic will be implemented. Once the dental implant is in place, the gum tissue is closed around it.

Then it is time for the healing period. The dental implant healing process can take as long as 4-6 months, depending on the original quality of the bone tissue. After the area has healed and the post is secure, the top of the post will be uncovered, and an abutment will be attached to the post to hold the dental crown.

Final Crown Placement

After your gums are healed, it is time to place the crown. Dr. Johnson will take impressions of the abutment and surrounding area so that we can ensure a proper fit. The crown will be matched to the natural color of your existing teeth. Your impressions will be sent to the lab to create your crown. Once your crown comes in, you will come back for your final appointment. Dr. Johnson will place your crown, and you are set to go!

You Have Your Dental Implant!

We understand that the dental implant procedure can be lengthy, but Dr. Johnson and his entire team will be right by your side throughout the process. We want to offer you a complimentary consultation! Contact our office today. We are Waco’s dental implant experts!