Dental implant surgery is performed in several stages, with the entire process lasting anywhere from 3 to 9 months. Much of this time includes time off for healing and the growth of new jaw bone. The first surgery involves the placement of the dental implant cylinder into the jawbone. A rest period of a few months follows. The next surgery involves the placement of the abutment and the new artificial tooth. Another healing period then follows.
Some individuals will require a bone graft surgery prior to having dental implant surgery. This is common in individuals who have a jawbone that is too soft or is not thick enough to sustain the implant. During a bone graft, a piece of bone is taken from a different part of the jaw or another part of the body and is transplanted to the jawbone. Dental implant surgery is generally performed as an outpatient procedure. It is performed in a dental office or in a hospital, with no overnight stay required. The amount of surgeries required is very specific to the individual and varies accordingly. No matter how many surgeries are required, you may experience certain side effects after each one, including:
- Swelling of the gums
- Swelling of the face
- Pain at implant site
These side effects are relatively mild and often improve shortly. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or pain medications. You will be instructed to eat only soft foods for up to one week. Self-dissolving stitches are typically used.
Occasionally, dental implant surgery is not successful. If the bone does not fuse to the implant, it will have to be removed and the procedure can be repeated. Maintaining good oral hygiene after dental implant surgery can help decrease the risk of complications and problems that may arise with dental implants.