A Step-By-Step Guide to Dental Implants

Are you confused about the dental implant procedure? Most people are surprised to learn that there are a few steps to replacing a missing tooth or teeth with a dental implant.

Keep reading for an in-depth overview of what to expect.

How is a tooth implant performed? 

First, a dental implant has two parts: a titanium ‘root’ placed directly into the bone, and a ‘crown’ on the top of the titanium root that’s held in place with a screw. 

In this article, we cover the routine step-by-step dental implant procedure, but bear in mind that everyone is different and your individual needs may vary.  

Read on if you’re looking for answers to the most frequently asked dental implant procedure questions:

  1. How long does it take?
  2. Does it hurt? And,
  3. How much will it cost?

Step 1: Dental Implant Consult 

It all starts with an initial consultation to find out if a dental implant is the right option for you. Dr Shekher will take 3D X-rays and Digital  jaw scans to see how much jaw bone you have, and if it’s safe to place an implant (or implants if you have several missing teeth).

Image of a young woman getting a 3D panoramic scan of her jaw

Your bone width and depth is precisely measured using x-rays and 3D scans to see  where an implant could be placed. Taking this scan is the first step to deciding your suitability for a tooth implant.

In some cases, extra bone needs to be added to the jaw to make implants possible. This is done using a bone graft. It’s a good solution for patients who’ve lost bone over time, or due to infection. 

At your first consult, Dr Shekher will assess all of these factors as well as a number of others carefully before advising you on whether dental implant treatment is the best option for you. If other treatments could also work, he will advise you on those too. 

After your consultation, we will send you information outlining your unique plan including all information on treatment steps, timeframe and the expected cost.

As you can see, the right information is crucial when you are thinking about replacing a missing tooth or teeth. That’s why The Grand Arcade Dental Surgery in Bowral offers dental implant consultations completely free of charge. 

There’s no pressure to accept treatment; just come in for a no-obligation assessment and take the time you need to choose what tooth replacement option is best for you.

Yes! I'm ready for a free implant consult.

Book online now to find out if dental implants are right for you. Or get in touch if you have any questions about dental implants in Bowral.

Step 2: Your Treatment Plan

After you have reviewed and approved your treatment plan, we get started on your journey to a new tooth!

Dr Shekher uses special software and scanning technology to make a virtual map of your jaw bone and pinpoint the ideal position for your dental implant. 

This is an extra planning step that not all dentists take, but it’s well worth it.  A digitally guided procedure is much more accurate than manual implant procedures, which means your implant will be placed with very high precision. 

Image of a dentist using software to plan dental implant procedure virtually.

With a 3D scan of your jaw and implant planning software, your implant can be ‘virtually’ placed with extreme precision.

Once your ‘virtual’ implant placement looks good, Dr Shekher will make a unique template to guide your implant surgery so you can be confident you’ll get precise results. And that brings us to Step 3.

 Image of a precision milled dental implant guide ready to be used in a dental implant placement procedure

The surgical guide is precision-milled to ensure accurate dental implant placement and safety.

Step 3: Dental Implant Placement

It’s time to get excited; you’re about to take the biggest step toward your beautiful new tooth or teeth - implant placement. Dr Shekher uses the precision surgical guide created in Step 2 to carefully place a new titanium tooth ‘root’ in your.

Most patients are surprised by how quick and painless the entire process is. Thanks to local anaesthetic, you won’t feel a thing, and it usually only takes around one hour from beginning to end.

It’s natural to experience some discomfort after implant placement so we will give you good pain relief medication to take home. The good news is most patients find the discomfort easy to tolerate, and any pain usually subsides within a day or two.

Your bone will now start growing around your new titanium dental implant, creating a sturdy base for your tooth. 

Bone in the lower jaw is typically more dense and heals quickly - so lower jaw implants are usually ready for the next step in about three months. Bone in the upper jaw is softer and can take up to six months. And bone grafts can take a little longer to heal too. 

At this point, many patients want to know if they will have a gap in their smile during the healing phase. 

The answer is: probably not - there are a few options depending on your exact situation.

  • For back teeth where the gaps may not be visible, a small metal cap called a 'healing abutment' will cover your dental implant and keep it safe.
  • For a visible gap, like a front tooth, a temporary tooth is placed on the implant. This does depend on your bone type and quality. 
  • Another option is to wear a partial plate - called a ‘flipper’ - to cover the gap. It may even be possible to adhere this to teeth on either side of the gap for extra security. 

None of these options will come as a surprise when you reach Step 3. Dr Shekher will go over all of your temporary tooth choices at your initial consultation, so you can feel comfortable you know exactly what lies ahead. 

Image of a dental implant and healing abutment replacing a single missing tooth in the front of the lower jaw
During the healing phase, you may wear a ‘healing abutment’ to protect the inside of your dental implant.

Step 4: A New Tooth!

You made it! It’s time to create your beautiful replacement tooth or teeth. We take some final impressions, now that your titanium root implant is firmly knitted to your jaw bone. This allows our ceramist to create one or more perfect white crowns for you. 

Once your new crown or crowns are ready, you come in for a final visit. We secure your replacement tooth or teeth to the implants. We check that they fit perfectly and make sure you feel great when you smile and speak. 

We provide you with an implant care kit which has all the essentials including a special toothbrush and a water flosser.

You walk out of the surgery feeling like a brand new person! And if you find your lovely restored smile needs any tweaks to work perfectly in your daily life, we are always here to help. 

Image of smile showing before and after dental implants and porcelain veneers to restore a worn down and missing teeth
This patient before and after shows how dental implants combined with porcelain veneers can restore gaps and rejuvenate a worn down smile. (Note: image is for illustrative purposes only, and individual results may vary.  Not an actual patient.)

Taking care of your new smile

Now that your crowns are fitted, you will need to know how to care for them. Just like natural teeth, you can keep your dental implants in tip-top shape with twice-daily brushing and flossing.

And also just like natural teeth, your titanium implant roots can last a lifetime, especially if you keep up with your regular six-monthly checkups at the dentist.

You can expect the crown part of your implant to last 10-15 years. Some individual factors - like whether you grind your teeth, and what kind of bite you have naturally - will influence how long it will take until it needs replacing due to wear and tear. We’ll be able to tell you at your initial consultation if you’re at risk of anything like that. 

Illustration of a natural tooth and implant tooth side by side.
As the illustration shows, a dental implant replaces a tooth's top part (the crown) with a lifelike appearance.  However, it's important to remember that underneath the implant is different to a natural tooth root, so you'll need to be extra careful to ensure no damage to the implant.  Regular check-ups with your dentist will help keep your dental implant clean and ensure that any issues are detected early when they are most fixable.

Your top dental implant FAQs

How long does a dental implant procedure take?

From beginning to end, it takes 4-12 months. However, if bone grafts are needed to prepare your jaw for implants, healing will take a little longer. How much longer varies greatly, depending on the patient, but precision scanning software will allow Dr Shekher to give you a good assessment of your treatment time at your first, free consultation.  

How painful is getting a dental implant?

During the procedure, you will be given ample local anaesthetic to make you completely comfortable. You won’t feel a thing until it’s all over. Like most procedures, there is some slight discomfort after the implant is placed, but you will take home enough pain relief medication to keep you comfortable until you feel better. The good news is most patients find the medication works really well and any discomfort has completely resolved within a couple of days. 

What’s the upside of dental implants?

There are many advantages to a dental implant over other tooth replacement options like dental bridges or dentures.

  • Implants are fixed: unlike dentures, implants stay firmly put when you eat, smile, speak or exercise. They allow you to get back to enjoying life without fear of a mishap.
  • Implants prevent bone loss: using your new implant tooth has the added positive effect of keeping your jaw bone healthier than when your tooth was missing.

  • Implants save other teeth: dental bridges are a common treatment for one missing tooth, but this often means cutting back the two teeth next to the gap to secure the bridge to them. With dental implants, perfectly healthy teeth can be left as they are. So if you have just one missing tooth, a dental implant may very well be your best option.
  • Implants restore confidence:  of course one of the greatest features of dental implants is that they restore your ability to speak and eat comfortably again. But the benefit goes much deeper. You may find - as many patients do - that it’s not just your smile that’s restored, it’s your self-confidence too.

At The Grand Arcade Dental Surgery, we know that dental implants may feel like a daunting decision for many reasons. We would love to see you for a consultation, completely free of any cost or any obligation. When you come in, we can assess you thoroughly and give you a fully personalised treatment plan and tell you up-front how long it will take and how much it will cost.

Dr Shekher has restored many patients’ smiles, restoring confidence and enjoyment of life at the same time.

Click below if you would like to know more about how he can do the same for you. 

Yes! I'm ready for a free implant consult.

Book online now to find out if dental implants are right for you. Or get in touch if you have any questions about dental implants in Bowral.