Welcome back to the DDS Dental Blog, where Dr. Juan Diaz and his team guide conversations on various dental topics.

This blog article explains the dental implant process.

Although we tend to associate tooth loss with old age, the reality is that by age 17, 7% of people living in the US have lost at least one permanent tooth. That percentage jumps up to 69% among adults aged 35 to 44.

Regardless of whether you’ve lost teeth due to infection, periodontal disease, or injury, you’ll begin losing bone density in your jaw roughly six months after experiencing the loss of a tooth. The loss of bone density in your jaw will only accelerate as you get older and lose more teeth (by age 50, the average American has lost 12 teeth).

While dentures can be helpful, they don’t do anything to slow jawbone loss, and over time that loss becomes visible to others. Dentures can also be uncomfortable, slipping and making it difficult to eat or speak with others. For these reasons, the best option for lost teeth is often to get a dental implant, which involves surgery, but if it’s done well, it’ll last you the rest of your life. In this dental blog, Dr. Juan Diaz, a dental implant dentist in Dallas Tx, will explain exactly what you should expect when getting dental implant surgery.

Why Dental Implants Deliver More Than Looks

 Our bones aren’t static. In fact, our bodies remove minerals from our bones and replace then with incoming minerals and nutrients through a process that breaks down and rebuilds them. But if your body senses that certain bones are no longer needed, minerals will be removed but not replaced, and this is the expected outcome once people start losing their adult teeth. Once the tooth is gone, your body starts to reabsorb the part of the jawbone previously used to support that tooth, and now more nutrients are brought in to take its place.

Over time and especially as more teeth are lost, your bone density will decrease so much that it will be visible to others. The only way to avoid that, as well as address other challenges that come with missing teeth, is to get permanent dental implants placed in your mouth, which will fuse to your jawbone over time and preserve its bone density.

For this reason, dental implants are much more than a cosmetic procedure like dental veneers. They’re also the most expensive option for tooth restorations, since they involve surgical placement and reconstruction of every part of your tooth from the root to the visible exterior.

The Three Types of Dental Professionals Qualified to Place and Restore Dental Implants

This goes without saying, but the final outcome of getting dental implants will weigh heavily on the skillset of your dentist (prosthodontist), periodontist, or oral surgeon.

It’s important to explain the differences of each of these dental implant specialists:

  • Oral Surgeon. As you can imagine, replacing missing teeth, especially once a significant amount of jawbone is lost, requires more involved surgical procedures. Oral surgeons are the most qualified for complex or difficult dental implant placements, and their services are priced accordingly. For that reason, oral surgeons are the best and only option for difficult cases.
  • This specialist underwent several more years of advanced training than general dentists in diagnosing and treating diseases of the gums and jawbone. They are also highly trained in dental implants and can place implants for patients with cases that are more challenging but not so challenging that they require an oral surgeon.
  • Prosthodontists are general dentists who go through advanced training on periodontal health and dental implants, but not as much as a periodontist. They have the skills to replace and restore teeth, especially through the use of dentures, dental implants, and other treatments. If you have a fairly straightforward dental implant case, then seeking out a prosthodontist will deliver the same results as an oral surgeon or periodontist, but for a fraction of the price.

The 6 Steps of a Dental Implant Procedure

Since dental implants are a permanent fix (unless you get them done by someone who isn’t qualified and then need dental implant restorations), they take a number of steps before they are fully placed. Depending on the types of implants you get, the state of your oral health, and your financial resources, going through the following six steps of the dental implant procedure can take a few months to over a year:

1. Scheduling An Initial Consultation                                           

            If you’re the type of case that requires a periodontist or oral surgeon, you usually already know it, either because of your oral health history or comments from your general dentist. If you’re not sure or your dental history has been fairly uneventful prior to losing a tooth, then it’s best to start with a prosthodontist, since they’ll refer you to a more qualified dental implant specialist if the believe your case is likely to involve complications outside their skillset.

During an initial consultation, your dental implant specialist will determine your eligibility for dental implants and then figure out if they are the best specialist to place those dental implants. Your overall health will be one of the biggest factors considered. Be sure to bring your dental health documents, as well as a list of your health diagnoses, prescription medications, and prior surgeries.

            During the consultation, your selected dental implant dentist will also determine if you need x-rays of your teeth in order to assess the strength of your jawbone, which can deteriorate over time as a result of missing teeth (read this article about the bone resorption process). If you are a qualifying candidate, you can move onto the next step in the process. Your dental implant dentist will either create a treatment plan or refer you to a more qualified dental implant professional.

2. Dental Implant Preparation

Dental implants are replacements for missing teeth, but sometimes the problem tooth is still rooted in the gums, requiring a tooth extraction.

Other preparations for dental implants can include jawbone grafting, a process that creates a solid base for dental implants if your gums are soft or weak due to severe wear and tear.

3. Dental Implant Placement

The placement process involved placing an screw-like artificial root into the jawbone. This screw, along with the abutment and restoration, comprise a full dental implant.

4. Dental Implant Healing Process

After the dental implant screw is placed, you must allow your jawbone and gums time to heal and fuse to the artificial root. During this time, its imperative to take excellent care of your teeth and avoid developing any infections.

5. Attaching the Abutment

The abutment connects the artificial root to whatever restoration you select (a single implant or dental implant bridge). Once you’re completely healed, your dental implant dentist will schedule a procedure to create a small incision in your gums and place the abutment. Afterwards, you will be able to see the abutment, but must give the gums time to heal before placing the restoration.

6. Placement of the Restoration

Once your jawbone and gums are fully healed after placement of the abutment, your dental implant specialist will schedule the final step: placing the restoration.

What You Can Expect During the Dental Implant Healing Process

In total throughout these six steps, you can expect the healing process can take several months, and you are likely to experience a few side effects, including mild bleeding, swollen gums, bruising, and pain in the implant area. But any discomfort you feel should be overcome with the use of pain medications directly after the dental implant procedures.

The dentist may use dissolvable stitches or you may need to come back in after a period of time to get the stitches removed. Regardless, you’ll want to avoid crunchy foods or items that are likely to strain and potentially open your stitches.

Excessive bleeding or pain should not be expected, and if you experience either, you should contact your dental implant dentist immediately.

            During this time, you’ll likely be prescribed both antibiotics and pain medication. While the minimum healing time is about three months, that timeline can increase depending on numerous factors including the number of dental implants placed.

Avoid Dental Implant Complications with Dr. Diaz (Implant Dentist, Dallas Tx)

Although well placed dental implants have an amazing success rate, there are instances where your jawbone fails to fuse to the artificial root or the implant fails after a few months or years.

            If this happens, your dental implant will need to be removed or replaced. Dr. Juan Diaz, a Dallas dentist specializing in dental implant placements and dental implant restorations for failed implants, has extensive training in placing implants. We also has specializations in geriatric dentistry and special needs dentistry, and for that reason he offers a number of specialized equipment that offers a quieter, smoother treatment process.

To schedule a consultation or ask for dental implant financing options, visit our website or give us a call today!



Filandrianos, Ted. “Did You Know that by Age 50 Americans have lost an Average of 12 Teeth?” Boston Magazine. https://www.bostonmagazine.com/sponsor-content/did-you-know-that-by-age-50-americans-have-lost-an-average-of-12-teeth/.

Niko. “What Type of Dentist Should I See for Dental Implants.” Marquis Centers. https://marquiscenters.com/what-type-of-dentist-should-i-see-for-dental-implants/

“3 Steps to Prepare for Your Dental Implant Consultation.” New Teeth Chicago Dental Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry Center. https://newteethchicagodentalimplants.com/3-steps-to-prepare-for-your-dental-implant-consultation/.

“Dental Implant Surgery.” Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/dental-implant-surgery/about/pac-20384622.

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