Process of Dental Implants
Once you have strong bone and healthy surrounding gums, you’re ready for the implant surgery. Before the operation, you’ll receive either a local anesthetic or general anesthesia.
The oral surgeon begins by making a series of incisions to create a flap of gum to retract. He or she then uses a series of progressively wider drills to open the hole gradually. When the hole in the jawbone is wide and deep enough to substitute for the tooth root, the surgeon screws in the implant, places either a temporary cover screw or healing cap in place, replaces the flap of gum and stitches it over the implant. The cover screw is flat and serves to keep the implant clean until it's time to attach the abutment. In cases where little or no bone grafting takes place, the oral surgeon may instead place a healing cap, a bullet-shaped piece similar to the shape of the abutment that lets the tissue contour around it before replacing it with the actual abutment.
If you’re getting a front tooth replaced, you won’t likely want a big gap that makes you look like a first-grader awaiting the tooth fairy. In this case, you will likely be given a retainer with a cosmetic "flipper" tooth positioned to disguise the gap. A cosmetic tooth can also be worn with transparent braces.
Another option would be a temporary crown, but most surgeons discourage this in order to keep the healing process undisturbed. “Most people don’t put (temporary crowns) in because they don’t want to spend an extra $300-400, " Dr. Tiernan says. "I like it when they don’t do it because they’re not interrupting my surgical site with pressure.”