Initial Consultation by a Dentist
Before a dental implant surgery can take place you have to have a comprehensive examination performed by your dentist. The initial consultation is done by a general dentist or a specialist known as a prosthodontist. At the examination your overall medical history will be reviewed, specifically your dental history. A series of X-rays will also be performed, along with a molded impression of your teeth. Sometimes a dentist will also conduct a computerized tomography or CT scan to see if your jawbone is able to hold a dental implant.
Procedure for Dental Implants
Once your dentist has determined that your jawbone is strong enough to hold an implant, another appointment is scheduled for the actual dental implant. A Prosthodontist, your dentist, or an oral surgeon conducts the procedure as an outpatient surgery. During the surgery your dentist begins by removing the damaged tooth. A metal post will then be inserted into your jawbone. After the metal post is in place your dentist will have you go through a healing period which could last several months. During the healing process the metal post implant is fusing with your jawbone.
Second Phase of Surgery
To determine if you are ready for the second procedure your dentist will take another set of X-rays. At the second procedure a healing cap or collar is placed over the top of the metal post. The collar is strictly to help with the healing of your gum tissue around the dental implant. After 10 to 14 days the healing cap or collar is removed. Another procedure is done to insert an abutment over the dental implant. Your dentist allows your gums to heal once again for one to two weeks. At your final appointment impressions are taken to see if your jawbone is strong enough to hold a new tooth. If it is, an artificial tooth is inserted.
Recovery After Surgery
After each phase of surgery you need to eat soft foods during the healing process, typically 10 to 14 days. Eating soft foods will relieve some pain as well as not disturb the stitches that will dissolve in time. If your dentist places non dissolvable sutures, they are removed in about 10 days. While pain is felt at the implant site, you can also have minor bleeding, swelling of your gums or face, and bruising of your gums. Recovery time between the surgical procedures can take a few weeks to several months. However, every individual heals differently with the overall healing process taking three to six months.
Average Cost of a Dental Implant
While an increasing number of insurance companies do cover the cost of dental implants, it is still important for you to know the full cost of the procedure. For a single tooth implant the cost of your implant can range from $1,000 to $3,000. The average cost of your abutment can range from just $500 to $3,000. The overall cost of the dental implant usually averages around $4,000.