Understanding the Dental Implant Procedure
If you need to replace one or several missing teeth, the idea of oral surgery can be somewhat intimidating. However, the dental implant procedure is very safe, involves minimal discomfort, and is widely performed. In fact, half a million dental implants are placed throughout the country each year.
Dr. Steven Ray can help put your mind at ease if you are curious about the restorative treatment or worried about an upcoming dental implant surgery. He has over 25 years of experience caring for patients in Little Rock, AR, and the surrounding areas and can give you an accurate idea of what to expect during your consultation. Because every smile is different, the procedure will vary from patient to patient, but can typically be completed in a few hours. In total, the treatment process can span several months or more.
Factors That Determine Your Treatment Timeline
There are a variety of factors that will determine how long your treatment takes from start to finish. The most important considerations are the condition of your smile, how many teeth need to be replaced, the location of the teeth, and whether you need any preparatory procedures prior to treatment. In general, the dental implant procedure is completed over several phases.
Planning Your Procedure
During your private consultation with Dr. Ray, he will assess the condition of your smile and perform digital x-ray imaging to evaluate your jawbone structure, determine how many implants you need, and decide what type of technique is best.
Because he is the only dentist at our practice, Dr. Ray will personally handle every step of your dental implant procedure from start to finish.
Based on this information, Dr. Ray will also determine whether you need to undergo any preparatory procedures prior to implant surgery. In addition to evaluating your candidacy for implants, our team can provide an accurate cost estimate during this appointment.
Preparing for Your Surgery
If you have a severely infected or decayed tooth, it will need to be extracted a few months prior to the implant surgery. Additionally, if you have insufficient jawbone tissue to support dental implants, Dr. Ray will need to perform a bone graft or sinus lift before your dental implant procedure. Healing after these procedures typically takes between three and six months.
In preparation for your implant surgery, it is important that you maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you smoke or use tobacco, you will need to quit because the habits have been linked to increased complication and failure rates.
On the Day of Your Procedure
The length of your dental implant surgery will depend on several factors including how many teeth are being replaced and what types of implants you are receiving. For a single-tooth implant, you can usually expect to have your procedure completed in one to two hours. If you are restoring a full arch of teeth, the procedure can span several hours.
Ensuring Your Comfort
On the day of your surgery, Dr. Ray will begin by numbing the treatment area with local anesthesia. If you are nervous about your procedure, we also offer oral sedation to help you relax. If you choose this option, you will need a trusted friend or loved one to drive you to and from the office.
Once you are comfortably numb, Dr. Ray will create an incision in your gums to expose the underlying jawbone. He will then create a small pilot hole, put the dental implant into place, and suture the gums back together. In some cases, a temporary restoration might also be placed. Because implant surgery is an outpatient procedure, you can go home on the same day and return to your normal activities as soon as the next day.
Restoring Your Smile
For most patients, it takes approximately three to six months for the implants to fuse with the surrounding bone tissue. After this time, you will come back to our office to receive your abutments, have impressions taken, and receive your permanent dental crown, bridge, or denture approximately two weeks later.
Call Us Today
As the only doctor at our practice, Dr. Ray can handle every step of your dental implant procedure from start to finish without handing you off to another dentist. Dr. Ray can give you a more detailed idea of what to expect during your consultation. To learn more, request an appointment online or call Ray Dental at (501) 312-1127.