If you have a missing tooth or your dentist has recommended pulling a tooth, you might be thinking about getting a dental implant. An implant allows you to replace the missing tooth with a restorative option that lasts a long time and functions just like a natural tooth. Here are some things to know about the dental implant surgery and recovery.

You May Need a Bone Graft

A bone graft is done when you don't have enough bone to support the metal post, as it is implanted into the jawbone where your missing tooth was. If you had periodontal disease for a long time without proper treatment, it might have affected the thickness and hardness of the bone, which can then require you to get a bone graft. You may also need one if you have had a missing tooth for a while, because the bone loses its density over time without a tooth there. This is not a painful procedure, but it does add to the prep time.

There Are Multiple Stages of Treatment

With dental implants, it is not as simple as getting impressions and having the restoration completed, like when you get a crown or dental bridge. The implant actually takes a few different stages of treatment. First is the preparation stage, where x-rays are done to determine if you need a bone graft and to pull the tooth if it hasn't been done already.

The main surgical procedure involves cutting into your gums to reach the bone, implanting the steel post into the bone, and putting stitches into the gums. Once this is done, it takes a few months for the healing to finish, since the bone is actually going to heal around the post, holding it in place. The final stage is to get your abutment and artificial tooth on top of the metal post.

You May Need a Replacement Crown

You should also be aware of the fact that while the post itself is considered permanent, you may need to replace the crown over time. The artificial tooth, or crown, on top of the metal post is similar to any other crown you get. It likely will not last forever. However, you should not need to get the main implant procedure re-done.

If you follow your oral surgeon's instructions for the healing process, you should not experience any complications as a result of the dental implant procedure. For more information, contact a professional in your area or visit a website like http://www.charlottesvilledentistry.com/.