What’s it like getting a dental implant?

Our dental assistant Jess shares her personal experience

One of the things people often ask us is, what’s it really like to get a dental implant? There’s a wealth of dental implant information available online, but how does it feel to actually receive a dental implant yourself?

In 2016 our wonderful dental assistant Jess had her missing tooth replaced with a dental implant, right here at Wickham Terrace Dental. It was the perfect opportunity for us to sit down with Jess and get the inside scoop on what it’s like to receive a dental implant.

Anyone can experience living with a missing tooth

Currently in her early twenties, Jess is not a typical dental implant patient. But it shows that almost anyone can have an issue that means they need a tooth extracted.

Jess’s situation began when her tooth’s root began to be ‘resorbed’, leaving her with a dead tooth that eventually became infected and needed to be removed.

While this is a fairly uncommon dental condition, it illustrates the point that there are many reasons why you may need to have a tooth extracted (and replaced).

“For me, the worst part of missing a tooth was that I could only chew on one side of my mouth,” Jess said. “There was no bottom tooth to chew against on the right hand side, so the left hand side of my mouth did all the work. That was frustrating – and the teeth that were doing all the work got really sore too.”

After about 18 months of living with this discomfort and reduced function, Jess decided it was time to have her missing tooth replaced with a dental implant. She booked a consultation with Dr Teakle to talk about her treatment.

What’s involved with the dental implant process?

Jess’s dental implant treatment began with an initial consultation that included taking a cone beam x-ray. This allowed Dr Teakle to assess the amount and quality of jawbone available, and to determine whether a bone graft would be needed. 

While it turned out Jess didn’t need a graft, the assessment did show that her adjacent tooth had already become misaligned.

“Because I’d been missing my tooth for a while, the neighbouring tooth had started to move out of its proper position and into the gap,” Jess said. “So before I could get an implant, Dr Teakle used orthodontics to move that misplaced tooth back upright and create the correct space.” 

“From there it was actually a really fairly straightforward procedure for me to have the implant placed.”

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With the adjacent tooth back in its correct position, the next step was getting a complete professional clean from our Oral Health Therapist. A couple of days later, it was time for the implant placement surgery itself.

Two weeks later, Jess returned to the dental chair so that Andrew could review the site and assess the state of her stitches. It was then time to allow the implant to securely bond with Jess’s jawbone over the next few months, to form a secure foundation for her tooth restoration.

In the second stage surgery, the site was assessed to ensure its stability, before the titanium post and surrounding area were scanned in detail by our CEREC machine. Jess’s replacement crown was then computer-milled from solid porcelain, before her final visit where the crown was securely attached to her implant.

In just half a dozen appointments over about 4 months, Jess’s smile was restored and she could bite and chew again normally.

Coping with nerves during dental implant treatment

Even though Jess is very familiar with the dental implant process (having assisted with many implant procedures), she was still a little nervous before starting her treatment. That’s normal, Jess says.

“Dental implants are seen as a major procedure, and I guess they are. But really, for the benefit you get from them, it’s pretty easy going.” 

For Jess, the worst part about getting an implant were all the “What ifs?” – worries about the possibility of infection, rejection of the implant by her body, or the chances of implant failure. But she knew that all of these scenarios have an extremely low chance of occurring.

“In the end, getting the implant placed was much easier than having a tooth extracted,” said Jess. “So if you’re already missing a tooth, the hard part is already behind you!”

Enjoying the feeling of a complete smile

With her implant procedure now complete, Jess is loving having a complete arch of teeth once again.

“Just being able to chew on both sides of my mouth again – and not having a big gap there – is amazing,” Jess said. “Obviously there’s always a slim chance of an implant needing to be replaced, but if you look after you implant you’ll have it for a long time.”

And would she recommend getting a dental implant to others? Jess doesn’t hesitate. “Absolutely, I have no regrets,” she says. “My new tooth feels natural and having a full mouth of teeth is wonderful.” 

If you’d like to know more about dental implants and how they could help you, get in touch with Wickham Terrace Dental today.


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