Restorative |5 min read

5 Dental Implant FAQs

A model of a dental implant inside the gum

Are you concerned about your teeth but unsure how to fix the problem?

Dental implants are a popular solution for replacing damaged or missing teeth.

They are small titanium posts surgically placed in the jawbone to provide a stable foundation for replacement teeth.

Given the popularity of dental implants, the same questions are always raised.

So with this in mind, we will look at the five most frequent dental implant questions.

1. How long does it take to get dental implants?

The process of getting dental implants can take several months.

It usually involves several visits to the dentist or oral surgeon. It may include procedures such as tooth extraction, bone grafting, and dental implant placement. The time it takes to complete the process will depend on the individual patient’s specific needs and circumstances.

The process for getting dental implants

Evaluation and Preparation

This initial phase includes everything from tooth extraction to bone grafting (if needed.)

A CT scan is performed, and the doctor will evaluate the existing structure and condition as well as the bone structure at the dental implant site.

The early placement of the artificial root is critical to reducing the cost of dental implants and the amount of time the dental implant process will take.

Artificial Root Placement

The artificial root is placed in the bone and allowed to heal.

The procedure takes 1 to 2 hours, and the healing time is 3 to 6 months. During this time, the titanium alloy will heal around and merge with the surrounding bone tissue.

Placement of the Crown

An artificial tooth or crown is placed on the artificial root previously set into your jaw.

An impression is made of your mouth, and your new tooth or teeth are created to match the size, shape, and color for your mouth.

This phase generally takes two visits about two weeks apart.

2. What do dental implants look like?

Dental implants are designed to look and function like natural teeth. They consist of small titanium posts surgically placed into the jawbone, with a metal abutment (or connector) that protrudes above the gums.

A natural-looking dental crown is then placed on top of the abutment, completing the implant.

An exploded view of a dental implant in a mouth, showing all three parts.

3. How long after dental implants can I eat normally?

After dental implant surgery, it is normal to experience some discomfort and swelling for a few days. Most people can eat a soft diet immediately following the procedure.

The first 48 hours

The first 24 to 48 hours typically require a soft food diet.

Avoid hot liquids. Stick with cool to warm drinks.

Here is a list of sensible food choices for your initial period of recovery.

  • Clear soups and broths
  • Yogurt
  • Protein or meal replacement shakes and smoothies
  • Boiled or baked fish
  • Apple sauce, apple butter
  • Scrambled eggs

You can continue with the foods from the above list and some other soft foods after the first 24 hours.

Some foods to avoid after a dental implant?

  • Carbonated drinks
  • Raw fruits and vegetables
  • Sticky foods like caramel, dried fruit, or gummies
  • Spicy foods
  • Acidic foods, such as tomatoes and oranges
  • Sugary foods, like candy
  • Foods served at a hot temperature
  • Crunchy, sticky, or abrasive foods, such as seeds, chips, and berries

The desire to return to your old eating habits should be controlled.

Typically, it takes about one week to return to regular eating habits.

Any food you eat during the healing period should still be easy to chew.

4. How do dental implants work?

The implant is a small titanium post surgically placed into the jawbone, which bonds with the bone to provide a stable foundation for a replacement tooth.

The three parts of a dental implant. Screw, Abutment, and Crown

A metal abutment is then attached to the implant, and a natural-looking dental crown is placed on top.

We often refer to the screw part of the implant as the post.

We screw the post into the jawbone.

The abutment is connected to the screw and holds the crown in place.

5. How long does a dental implant last?

The lifespan of dental implants can vary depending on several factors, such as the implant’s quality and the patient’s oral hygiene.

With proper care, most dental implants can last for several decades.

It’s important to brush and floss your teeth regularly and visit your dentist for checkups and cleanings to help ensure the longevity of your implants.

The dental implant is a long-term solution for replacing missing teeth. Regular follow-ups are essential for the success of the implant treatment.

As there are three components to each implant, the life span is tricky to pin down.

This is because each component is made from different materials and has a different role. Another factor is implant placement.

The implant, or post, lasts the longest as it is inserted within the jawbone. Next comes the abutment. The crown is the last component with the most pressure from constant exposure to food and drink.

Final thoughts

Dental implants are a reliable, long-lasting option for replacing missing teeth.

The procedure is generally quick, and minimal recovery time allows patients to return to their normal diet shortly after.

Dental implants can last for several decades, provided you look after them.

Regular dental visits are required to monitor and care for your new smile.

Call us today to find out if you’re eligible for dental implants.

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Our office is based in Renton, WA, and we welcome patients from all over the Pacific Northwest, including Kent, Tukwila, Maple Valley, and Covington.

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