What to Expect During a Dental Implant Procedure (2023)

A dental implant procedure is performed by inserting artificial tooth roots. These implants bond with your jawbone, allowing the dentist or oral surgeon to place replacement teeth called crowns. Dental implants can be an option if you have one or more missing permanent teeth. They’re made to look, feel, and function like your natural teeth.

This article discusses what a dental implant procedure is and how to prepare for it. It also covers what to expect during the procedure and recovery.

What to Expect During a Dental Implant Procedure (1)

What Is a Dental Implant Procedure?

A dental implant procedure is an outpatient surgery. The implant is made of titanium and other materials that fuse with your jawbone and imitate the root of a tooth. This artificial root allows the dentist to secure your replacement teeth so they feel stable and blend in with your surrounding teeth.

Getting dental implants requires several appointments. This includes a consultation, an appointment to place the implant, and another to attach the new teeth.


Growing children may not be able to get a dental implant until their jaw growth and development is complete. People with chronic diseases such as diabetes or leukemia may not be good candidates for dental implants either. That's because those conditions can interfere with healing after surgery.

If you smoke, your dentist may not recommend surgery since smoking can slow healing. Talk with your dentist about your medical history and lifestyle habits to ensure that you’re a good candidate for the procedure.

(Video) What To Expect After Dental Implant Surgery?


In a dental implant procedure, the oral surgeon places an implant to secure replacement teeth. Children, people with chronic diseases, and those who smoke may not be good candidates for the procedure.

Purpose of a Dental Implant

A dental implant can replace one or more permanent teeth lost to an injury, gum disease, tooth decay, or infection. When you talk with your dentist at the initial consultation, they may discuss other options for replacing the teeth as well. These may include dentures and bridges.

They’ll discuss with you whether you have enough space and bone in the area of the missing tooth for the procedure.

If your tooth has been missing for a while, you may have bone loss. This requires a bone graft before you are able to proceed with dental implant surgery.

How to Prepare

Before the procedure, you’ll see your dentist for an initial consultation. Your dentist will give you a comprehensive examination. They’ll take X-rays and discuss with you the options to develop a plan for the implant surgery.

Once you’ve developed a plan and they’ve established that you’re in good health, they’ll schedule the surgery appointment. If your dentist recommends IV sedation for the procedure, you’ll need to arrange for someone to bring you home that day.


A dental implant procedure is typically done at a dental office. It's performed by a team of professionals trained in oral surgery and restorative dentistry.

(Video) Dental Implants | The Dental Implant procedure and what to expect

Food and Drink

If you are having local anesthesia, you can eat a light meal a couple of hours before the procedure. If you're having IV sedation, you'll be advised not to eat anything after midnight the night before the surgery. This helps ensure your stomach is empty.


Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to take for a few days before surgery to prevent early implant failures. They may also have you rinse with a special anti-bacterial mouthwash, such as chlorhexidine.

Pre-Op Lifestyle Changes

Smoking may lower the success of dental implants because it can slow healing. If you smoke, talk with your dentist about whether you should get dental implants.


Your dentist will give you an exam before scheduling the surgery appointment, including X-rays. If you're having IV sedation, stop eating after midnight the night before the surgery. Your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics to take before the surgery.

What to Expect During the Procedure

Your dentist will advise you on the best method to place the dental implants. In certain cases, it is possible to have the implant placed and the tooth (crown) inserted on the same day. However, it is common for the implant procedure to happen in multiple appointments that are usually several months apart.

In the first phase, the surgical placement of the implant, you'll be given local anesthesia to numb your mouth, or you'll receive IV sedation. That way you won’t feel any pain or discomfort.

The dentist makes a cut in your gums to place the implant into the jawbone in the location of your missing tooth. Once it's placed, the dentist closes the gums over the implant so that it remains covered.

(Video) Dental Implants Procedure Step by Step || How Dental Implants are Put In || Dental Implant Surgery

You’ll recover at home and will probably come back for the second phase of the procedure in a few months. That gives enough time for the bone to grow around the implant, making it strong enough to stay in place. This process is called osseointegration, meaning the titanium combines with the bone.

Each patient heals differently, so it can take up to six months before the replacement teeth can be placed. In some cases, a patient can have everything placed in one appointment.

The dentist will examine you to make sure that the implant is secure. Then, they'll place a connecting piece called an abutment over the post portion of the implant. This is the part that will hold the new tooth.

When your gums heal, the dentist will make impressions of your teeth. They'll create a custom replacement tooth, also called a crown. The crown is then attached to the abutment.


If your dentist uses IV sedation, you’ll feel a little groggy for several hours. Be sure you arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure.

After the implants are placed, you may experience some bruising, swelling, minor bleeding, and pain. You may be advised to eat soft foods, cold foods, and warm soup while you're healing. To help with any pain, your dentist will probably suggest over-the-counter medications, including Advil (ibuprofen).

Long-term Care

Dental implants typically require the same dental hygiene as your regular teeth. To keep them healthy, brush your teeth twice a day, floss, and see your dentist for regular follow-up appointments. Dental implants don’t get tooth decay, but they can be impacted by periodontal disease, so it’s important to practice good dental care.

(Video) Dental Implant Procedure Options


After surgery, you may have some swelling, bruising, minor bleeding, and pain. Your dentist may suggest eating soft foods and using over-the-counter pain medication. For long-term care, brush and floss your teeth regularly, including your dental implants.


In a dental implant procedure, the oral surgeon places artificial tooth roots in your jaw. These implants fuse with your jawbone to hold replacement teeth.

You'll need a few appointments to get dental implants. The first is a consultation with the surgeon. Then you'll have the procedure to place the implant. In a few months, you'll have an appointment to have the replacement teeth placed. This gives enough time for your bone to grow around the implant so it stays in place.

During the procedure, you may have local anesthesia or IV sedation. If you're having IV sedation, make sure you have someone to drive you home after the procedure. Your dentist will also give you instructions on when to stop eating before the procedure.

A Word From Verywell

If you’re interested in getting a dental implant, talk to your dentist. The time involved for the procedure can vary depending on the structure of your mouth and your health. Your dentist can advise you if you’re a good candidate and help determine a plan of care that’s right for you.

Recovery After Oral Surgery

(Video) Step by Step Guide to Your Dental Implant Procedure


What is the step by step process for getting dental implants? ›

The process of placing a dental implant involves multiple steps, including:
  • Damaged tooth removal.
  • Jawbone preparation (grafting), when needed.
  • Dental implant placement.
  • Bone growth and healing.
  • Abutment placement.
  • Artificial tooth placement.
Jan 29, 2019

What they don t tell you about dental implants? ›

Implants Fuse Together with Bone

However, many people don't realize that the reason why dental implants prevent bone loss is that they fuse together with the bone. When the implant gets placed, it stimulates bone growth. The bone then grows around the implant and fuses together.

How long does a dental implant take from start to finish? ›

The Dental Implant process is basically a three phase process, which can be different for each person. Typically the entire process takes from 5 to 8 months. As you will see, this is a little different for people getting full mouth dentures. The process can be faster for those getting a whole new set of teeth!

How many steps are in a dental implant? ›

In general, there are three steps involved in the dental implant procedures. First, the implant itself is placed into the jawbone. Next, the abutment is added to the implant, which is where the artificial tooth will be connected. Finally, the prosthetic tooth, or crown, is placed onto the abutment.

How painful is dental implant? ›

A straightforward dental implant, for a patient with good bones and who does not need a lot of soft tissue surgery, has a pain level between two and three in the first 24 to 48 hours, which means over-the-counter medication like Tylenol or Advil will take care of any discomfort they are feeling.

What are the most common problems with dental implants? ›

Watch out for these 7 most common dental implant complications.
  • Loose implant. Probably the most common complication is an implant that has come loose. ...
  • Infection. Another common complication of oral implants is infection. ...
  • Bleeding. ...
  • Micro-movement. ...
  • Allergic reaction. ...
  • Nerve damage. ...
  • Protrusion into the sinus cavity.

Can your body reject dental implants? ›

According to the International Congress of Oral Implantologists it is rare that your body will reject your dental implants. However, this does not mean that your dental implant will not fail. A successful dental implant is one that is placed in healthy bone and is properly cared for after the surgery takes place.

Can you tell if someone has dental implants? ›

No one will ever be able to tell that you have a dental implant rather than your natural tooth. Implants are also the most reliable treatment for tooth replacement, boasting a 95% success rate. They are made from high quality, durable, and long lasting materials.

How long does gums take to heal after implants? ›

Most patients begin to experience significant improvements in their gums within a week of surgery, and their gums will be completely healed within 2 weeks of their treatment. You'll usually schedule a follow-up with Dr.

How do they do dental implants in one day? ›

During the All-on-4 procedure, a dentist can place implants and attach a temporary denture to them in a single day. A permanent denture is attached a few months later. For other implant procedures, there is usually a healing period of a few months after the placement surgery before any restorations are attached.

Can you get a temporary tooth while waiting for an implant? ›

There are many options for temporary tooth replacement while you wait for your implant post to heal and your bone to integrate with it. If you have any questions about how dental implants work, or if you are a viable candidate for the procedure, speak to our expert dentist.

How many trips to the dentist for an implant? ›

The dental implant procedure usually involves two visits to the dentist, but some implants only require one visit. During the first visit, you will be given pain medication or antibiotics before the procedure begins. If you are nervous about the procedure, your dentist can give you a sedative.

How complicated are dental implants? ›

Dental implant surgery is not complicated or dangerous

Some people may think that because dental implant surgery involves implanting a prosthesis into the bone of the jaw, it is a complicated procedure. However, dental implant surgery is a routine procedure performed by thousands of dentists.

Do I need IV sedation for dental implants? ›

Dental implants are surgically embedded into the jawbone. While surgical procedures may bring about the idea of a patient being fully unconscious, dental implants are only minor surgery. They don't require complete sedation for treatment to be comfortable.

What is the most painful part of a tooth implant? ›

You will feel no discomfort, as the area is entirely anesthetized. After making the area more accessible, a hole can be drilled for the implant. While drills might also sound painful, your jawbone has no nerves to feel any pain. The most discomfort you could feel is pressure.

How long after dental implant surgery can I eat? ›

Typically, it takes about one week for patients to return to regular eating habits after dental implant surgery. But if you are a fast healer, you may be able to return to some solid (but not firm or crunchy) foods 24 – 48 hours after surgery. Food consumed during healing should still be easy to chew.

What hurts more tooth extraction or implant? ›

Patients can be informed that, in general, implant placement surgical experience is less unpleasant compared to tooth extraction with less postsurgical pain and limitation of daily activities. However, some factors can increase the pain intensity and discomfort level on individual bases.

Are you awake for dental implant surgery? ›

Yes, most patients are put to sleep for dental implants because the procedure is so invasive. However, if you're just having one or two implants placed, a local anesthetic may be sufficient. A local anesthetic will temporarily numb the area, so although you're awake during the procedure, you won't feel a thing.

What to expect when getting an implant? ›

As with any dental surgery, you may have some discomfort during healing from one or all stages of the implant process. Side effects that are normal and expected include swelling around the gums and in your face, slight bruising, pain at the implant site, and minor bleeding.

Are dental implants high maintenance? ›

The daily care of dental implants is very similar to the care of natural teeth. Restored dental implants should be kept clean and plaque free twice a day using a brush and floss. Cleaning is especially important after meals. This is accomplished by gently brushing, giving special attention to all sides of the implant.

What percentage of dental implants are successful? ›

Studies have shown a success rate of over 95% for the implant restoration process. Furthermore, they're the only tooth replacement option that actually helps stimulate bone growth and prevent bone loss. Getting dental implants as soon as possible after losing a tooth helps prevent bone loss at the site.

What is the failure rate of dental implants? ›

Average Implant Failure Rate

Studies have shown that somewhere between 5% and 10% of dental implants fail. On the other hand, that means that there is between a 90% and 95% success rate, which are very good odds in terms of dental and medical procedures.

Who should not get dental implants? ›

Four groups of people who generally do not qualify for dental implants include:
  • Children and Teens. Age is one of the few factors influencing dental implant candidacy outside of a patient's control. ...
  • Smokers and Chewers. ...
  • People Who Don't Take Care of their Teeth. ...
  • The Very Elderly (with some exceptions)
Jan 14, 2014

What are the signs of a failed implant? ›

What are the signs of dental implant failure? We listed the signs you should watch out for after getting dental implants.
  • Severe Pain and Discomfort. ...
  • Gum Recession around the Implant. ...
  • Difficulty While Chewing and Biting. ...
  • Shifting and Loose Implant. ...
  • Swollen Gums. ...
  • Implant Micro-Movements. ...
  • Sudden Allergic Reactions.

What makes you not a candidate for dental implants? ›

But not everyone is a viable candidate for implants, and ironically the reason most often has to do with the bone. If a patient has suffered significant bone volume loss, either because of disease or the long-term absence of the natural teeth, there may not be enough bone to properly support an implant.

When is the best time for tooth implant? ›

Many dentists agree that it's best to place a dental implant within a few months of extraction. That will give your mouth time to heal and strengthen. Bone grafting, if needed, can also be performed during this period.

Do dental implants set off metal detectors? ›

The majority of metal detectors used by the TSA work by creating an electromagnetic field, which sets off an alarm when it detects any nearby magnetic metals. In most cases, modern dental implants are primarily made from titanium, a non-magnetic metal. So, titanium dental implants should rarely trigger metal detectors.

What happens after dental implants are placed? ›

After the implant is added to your jawbone, the jawbone will begin to grow around the implant. The implant then becomes part of your natural gum line. This process varies by person and can take anywhere from 3 to 9 months. Once your implant is stable enough, the dentist will place an abutment on top of the implant.

What helps dental implants heal faster? ›

10 ways to recover from a dental implant quickly
  1. Stick to soft foods. ...
  2. Avoid hot foods and drinks. ...
  3. Don't use a straw. ...
  4. Hydrate and cut alcohol and caffeine. ...
  5. Quit smoking. ...
  6. Limit strenuous activities. ...
  7. Keep the swelling down with ice packs. ...
  8. Take the pain medication you are given.
Aug 8, 2018

What not to do after implant surgery? ›

What Are The Restrictions After Dental Implant Surgery?
  • Do Not Remove the Gauze Packs Right Away. ...
  • No Driving or Operating any Type of Machinery. ...
  • Ease Back into Eating Solid Foods. ...
  • No Smoking After Surgery. ...
  • No Exercise or Strenuous Activity.

How long does it take for an implant screw to heal? ›

It usually takes at least 3-6 months, and can take longer in some cases. However, this process should not be rushed. As the implant heals and bonds with the bone, it creates a permanent bond.

How many implants can you get in one day? ›

From experience, I have done 8 on top and below. That is usually enough to support a full set of teeth on the upper and lower jaw. I would not recommend getting more than 8 implants on the top and bottom within a day.

What do you wear while waiting for implants? ›

While waiting for implants, temporary crowns may be a good choice. It is usually made of acrylic-based plastic, and the dentist will cement it in place. The crown offers an aesthetically pleasing option.

Can a tooth be pulled and implant the same day? ›

In some cases, if enough healthy jawbone is present, it may be possible to place a dental implant the same day a tooth is taken out. However, in most cases, a dentist will recommend waiting 3 to 6 months after a tooth extraction to allow the area to fully heal.

What is a flipper tooth? ›

A flipper tooth is a removable, lightweight partial denture that is often used as a temporary replacement for one or more missing teeth. Many patients opt for it as it fills in any visible gaps so you don't have to go without a tooth while waiting for your tooth implant.

What kind of anesthesia is used for dental implants? ›

Dental implants can either be placed under local anesthesia (where the patient is fully awake); under general anesthesia (where the patient is fully asleep); or with light sedation combined with local anesthesia (where the patient is drowsy, but still somewhat conscious).

How many teeth can be implanted at once? ›

Your dentist can place one implant at each end of the gap. The implants will support crowns, and the crowns will support 1 – 3 pontics between them. Thus, in total, two dental implants can replace up to five teeth.

How long does 2 dental implant surgery take? ›

The Implant Process

It will take your dentist around an hour per implant. Your next appointment will be four to six months later. Now, the dentist will decide whether your implant is ready to receive the abutment and crown that complete the process.

What are the 3 stages of dental implants? ›

In general, there are three steps involved in the dental implant procedures. First, the implant itself is placed into the jawbone. Next, the abutment is added to the implant, which is where the artificial tooth will be connected. Finally, the prosthetic tooth, or crown, is placed onto the abutment.

How long is a dental implant procedure? ›

Implant Surgery

Your dentist will place the titanium implant in your jaw bone, right below the gums. This surgery usually takes about 1-2 hours for each implant being placed. After this step is complete, most dentist will wait about 3 months before the final restoration of the tooth replacement.

What should you not do before dental sedation? ›

Avoid alcohol and smoking 24 hours prior to appointment. NO jewelry. Please refrain from wearing dark fingernail polish the day of the surgery.

Is oral or IV sedation better? ›

The short answer is that IV sedation is better because deeper levels of sedation can be achieved in a very predictable, fast and safe manner. Oral sedation can be used, but the sedative dental drugs take longer to take effect and sometimes the level of sedation may not be right once the drug finally sets in.

Do you have to go without teeth when getting implants? ›

The good news is that you don't need to be without your teeth while your dental implants heal, and there are options for temporary dental implant teeth. If you need implants to replace your molars, right at the back of your mouth, you might not need to have a temporary.

Do they put you to sleep for dental implants? ›

Yes, most patients are put to sleep for dental implants because the procedure is so invasive. However, if you're just having one or two implants placed, a local anesthetic may be sufficient. A local anesthetic will temporarily numb the area, so although you're awake during the procedure, you won't feel a thing.

What is the success rate of All-on-4 dental implants? ›

The all-on-four dental implant technique is popular among people who have missing or severely damaged teeth. All on four dental implants are incredibly successful and work well for many people lasting for decades. The success rate of these implants is over 97 percent.

How long does it take to get used to all-on-four dental implants? ›

The healing process for All-On-Four dentures starts right after the surgery. Unlike traditional dentures, which take about eight months to heal and another year to adapt, these only require six months to a year.

Who is not a candidate for All-on-4 dental implants? ›

A health condition like uncontrolled diabetes can make a patient ineligible for implants. Those who are using antidepressants or undergoing radiation therapy are at higher risk of implant failure and may not be considered for All-on-4.

Can you wear temporary dentures while implants are healing? ›

During this time, osseointegration --the biological bonding of the jawbone to the implant--occurs. Through this healing period, you will probably wear your modified denture or a temporary denture or bridge and maintain normal activities without restriction.

What kind of sedation is used for dental implants? ›

For most patients, nitrous oxide sedation or IV sedation tend to be the most ideal options. Both of these anesthetic methods, combined with local anesthesia, can help patients feel totally relaxed and at ease during a procedure.

How do you stay calm during oral surgery? ›

Focus on Breathing During Oral Surgery

Deep, slow breathing can be helpful. Try inhaling deeply through your nose, then counting to five in your head. Exhale slowly through your mouth, counting to eight as you do so. Repeat this cycle a few times, or as often as needed to remain calm.

Can I drive after dental implant? ›

Because you will still feel sleepy and may even experience slightly blurred vision after the procedure, it is strongly advised that you have someone take you home and avoid driving for at least 24 hours.


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