Dental implants are a very reliable source for effective tooth replacement. Whether you have lost one tooth or many, implants can provide a permanent solution that looks and functions normally.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is an artificial root upon which a manufactured tooth can be placed. Implants are used to support the replacement of a single tooth, multiple teeth, or larger prostheses such as dentures, depending on the individual’s requirements and condition. Placement of the implant stabilizes bone levels and may prevent bone loss, resulting in greater long-term support, function, and esthetics. Implants are a superior way to replace missing teeth, as they do not require alteration of adjacent teeth. They are also an excellent way to stabilize a denture.
Dental Implant Procedure
Dental implants involve multiple steps to complete the entire procedure. Each patient’s process will vary, depending on your oral health at the time, including if tooth extraction or bone grafting is required.
- Consultation and exam. Before deciding if dental implants are right for you, we will complete a comprehensive exam. This exam will include X-rays to measure bone health, a CT scan, and a digital scan of your teeth. We will then discuss treatment options with you. We provide dental implant consultations free of charge.
- Tooth extraction. If necessary, we will remove the tooth/teeth being replaced by the implant(s). If there is bone loss around the extraction site, we will perform a dental bone graft.
- Dental bone graft / dental sinus lift. If your jaw needs additional bone mass to support an implant, we will perform a bone graft or a sinus lift. Both of these procedures involve attaching additional bone material, either to your jaw or between your sinuses and jaw. Then the newly placed bone material needs time to heal and bond to your jawbone before implant placement.
- Implant placement. The implant will be surgically placed in the bone and a healing cap is placed over the implant so the healing phase can begin. If you have an aesthetic concern, we will 3-D print a temporary restoration of your tooth.
- Implant healing. After your implant is placed, osseointegration begins. During this your jawbone heals around the dental implant, fusing with the implant. This healing period is critical as it allows your gums and bone to recover so the implant can provide a solid base for your new artificial tooth.
- Abutment/crown placement. The abutment is the piece where our artificial tooth (crown) will be placed. The abutment is attached to the implant, and then the crown is placed on the abutment.
Dental Implant Cost
Our patients are our top priority and part of the River Valley Dentistry difference is helping patients get the most out of their care. At your consultation, we will work with you to determine an individualized price depending on the specifics of your treatment plan. We also proudly accept CareCredit, which allows patients to finance any aspect of their dental treatment.View Financing Options
How Long does it Take to Get a Dental Implant?
After you have completed your consultation and decided that dental implants are the best treatment option for you, we will schedule an appointment to get the dental implant placed. This procedure normally takes 1-2 hours. After the implant has been placed, we will wait about 3 months before fitting you for the crown. This time period is very important as it is key that we give your gums and bone enough time to heal. In total, it usually takes several months to complete the process from start to finish.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
With proper dental hygiene, including brushing and flossing every day and regular dental checkups, the implant screw can last a lifetime. However, the crown will likely need to be replaced every 10-20 years due to normal wear and tear.
Do Dental Implants Hurt?
During the procedure, pain is very minimal as local anesthesia is used. Local anesthesia will numb the nerves surrounding the implant area so you won’t experience any pain. You may feel some pressure but it should not be painful.
Once the anesthesia wears off, you may experience some discomfort for a couple of days. Follow the aftercare recommendations below to ease your recovery.Learn More About Dental Sedation
Dental Implant Aftercare
Following the procedure, you may experience some of the typical discomforts associated with any oral surgery, such as swelling of the gums and face, pain near the implant site, and minor bleeding.
- Minor Bleeding. It’s common to have a small amount of blood in your saliva for a day or two after your procedure. If you are experiencing bleeding, bite on a gauze pad for 30 minutes. If bleeding persists for more than a couple days, contact our office at 423-875-0600 or 423-803-4500.
- Swelling. To minimize swelling, place an ice pack on the cheek near the surgical area for 10 minutes, then remove the ice pack for 20 minutes and repeat.
- Oral Hygiene. Properly caring for your implants will help them last a lifetime. You should treat your dental implants as you do your natural teeth. This means you should brush and floss, twice a day, and have regular dental checkups.
- Pain Management. We will prescribe you pain medication following your surgery. You will likely want to take pain medication regularly for the first couple of days following your procedure. Any pain you experience should gradually subside over the first week following the procedure.
It is important to avoid spitting, sucking on straws, or smoking for at least a week following your surgery. This can dislodge the blood clot and slow the healing process. It is also important to stay hydrated and eat plenty of nourishing food to help you heal quicker. Eating can be challenging following the surgery, so we recommend eating soft, cool foods and chewing away from the implant site to avoid disturbing the healing process.
Meet Your Dental Implant Doctor
Dr. Willie Hammontree
Dr. Willie Hammontree is our dental implant doctor. Dr. Hammontree has been practicing for 11 years and has over 800 hours of implant-specific education. He enjoys taking part in continuing education opportunities to offer his patients the best care possible.Meet Dr. Hammontree