The Dental Implant Process
The treatment timeline for dental implants can span more than six months in some cases. This is because the implants must fully integrate with the jaw before a crown or other prosthetic can be placed. Dr. Jerry Hancock has performed hundreds of implant surgeries at his Nashville and Green Hills, TN, offices. To help his patients prepare for the dental implant process, he explains what can be expected at every stage of the journey to a fully restored smile.
What to Expect during Your Initial Consultation
Dr. Hancock offers his first dental implant consultation free of charge. During your consultation, he will determine if you are a candidate for dental implant surgery.
If dental implants are the best treatment to replace your missing tooth, Dr. Hancock will determine if you have any risk factors that could complicate surgery. These may include:
- Tobacco use
- Gum disease
- An infected tooth that needs to be extracted
- Insufficient jawbone mass
- Certain medical conditions
- Certain medications
If you have a condition or habit that can complicate surgery, you may be asked to first treat the condition or address the habit. Quitting smoking or undergoing periodontal treatments are two examples of actions that can restore candidacy.
Dr. Hancock will explain the risks and benefits of dental implant surgery. It is important to come prepared with questions. Dr. Hancock will create a custom treatment plan for your dental implant treatment and a day will be scheduled for your initial surgery.
Dr. Hancock offers his first dental implant consultation free of charge.
Possible Treatments to Prepare for Dental Implants
To prepare for your dental implant placement, Dr. Hancock may need to perform an extraction, sinus lift, or bone graft. Patients who have inadequate bone density to receive an implant may need a bone graft or sinus lift. A bone graft, which involves replacing recessed tissue with donor tissue, can be performed on either jawbone. A sinus lift is used to add bone tissue to the upper jaw in a way that will keep the implant from disturbing the sinus membranes. A sinus lift or bone graft can add a few months to your treatment timeline as the graft becomes integrated with the jaw.
What to Expect during Your Implant Surgery
Dental implant surgery can be performed using a combination of local anesthesia and sedation. If you experience dental phobia or anxiety about oral surgery, Dr. Hancock offers IV sedation to make patients feel more comfortable during treatment. Once you are comfortable, Dr. Hancock will make an incision into your gums to access your jawbone. After drilling a small hole, an implant will be placed into your jaw. Any incisions will be sutured closed, and you will be released shortly afterward.
The First Few Days after Surgery
Soreness and swelling near the surgery site are to be expected for the first several days after surgery. You may be prescribed pain medications. You should rest for the remainder of the day after returning home. Having a recovery room that is stocked with liquids, comfortable clothes, medications, gauze, and other supplies may be useful. Some patients are able to return to work the day after surgery.
The First Few Weeks after Surgery and Beyond
By the end of the first week, most of your discomfort and swelling should subside. You may be asked to return so Dr. Hancock can remove your sutures. You should avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting until Dr. Hancock advises that these activities are safe to resume. Your jaw will need three to six months to fully heal. Once you have fully recovered, a small metal device called an abutment will be attached to your implant. Afterward, you will be able to have your restoration attached.
Contact Us Today
Under our care, you can expect outstanding service and compassionate treatment every step of the way. To schedule your first appointment, please contact our office online or call (615) 383-0132.
“The staff is super friendly and efficient, and I always walk out of their office with a smile…a much brighter one!” —Kate