Dental Implants: How it works, recovery time, how to care for them

Yes, there are screws involved. But it’s nothing to worry about. In fact, you will be really happy with your smile.

Dental implants are growing in popularity and have become much more affordable in recent years. So if you have ever considered dental implants, schedule a consultation with Dr. Wheatley.

Dental implants require minor dental surgery that involves the placement of a metal post or screw into the jawbone to replace a missing tooth root. Dr. Wheatley offers dental implants at our Norman dental office. In some cases, he collaborates with a Norman-based oral surgeon. Once placed, the implant is used to support a dental crown, bridge, or denture.

Here’s a step-by-step overview of how the dental implant procedure works:

Dental Implant Center in Norman, OK

Consultation and Evaluation: 

Dr. Wheatley will evaluate your oral health, take x-rays and scans, and discuss your medical history to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants.

Implant Placement: 

Once you are deemed a good candidate, the dentist will numb the area with local anesthesia, make an incision in the gum tissue, and drill a small hole into the jawbone. The implant is then placed into the hole, and the gum tissue is closed with sutures.


Over the next several months, the implant will fuse with the surrounding bone tissue in a process called osseointegration, creating a strong and stable base for the prosthetic tooth.

Abutment Placement: 

Once the implant has fused with the jawbone, a small connector called an abutment is placed on top of the implant. This abutment will connect the implant to the prosthetic tooth.

Prosthetic Tooth Placement: 

A custom-made dental crown, bridge, or denture is then attached to the abutment, completing the implant restoration.

Follow-up Care: 

Your dentist will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor the healing process and ensure the implant is functioning properly.

How long does the dental implant procedure take?

The entire dental implant procedure typically takes several months to complete, with most of the time devoted to allowing the implant to fuse with the bone tissue. However, the end result is a permanent, natural-looking replacement tooth that can restore function and improve your smile.Dental implants in Norman, OK

What is the recovery time for dental implants?

The recovery time after dental implant surgery can vary depending on the individual and the complexity of the procedure. In general, it can take several months for the implant to fully integrate with the jawbone and for the surrounding tissues to heal.

Here is a general timeline of what to expect during the recovery period:

  • Immediately after the surgery: You will likely experience some swelling, bruising, and discomfort around the implant site. Your dentist or oral surgeon may prescribe pain medication or recommend over-the-counter pain relievers to manage any pain or discomfort. You may also be advised to eat soft foods and avoid chewing on the implant site.
  • First few days after surgery: You will need to take it easy and rest for a few days following the procedure. You may need to avoid strenuous physical activity, smoking, and drinking alcohol, as these can all impede the healing process.
  • First week after surgery: You may need to return to your dentist or oral surgeon for a follow-up appointment to check on the healing progress and remove any stitches.
  • First few months after surgery: During this time, the implant will gradually fuse with the jawbone through a process called osseointegration. It is important to maintain good oral hygiene during this time to prevent infection and ensure optimal healing.
  • Final restoration: Once the implant has fully integrated with the jawbone, your dentist will attach the final restoration (such as a crown or bridge) to the implant. This typically occurs several months after the initial implant surgery.

Overall, the recovery period after dental implant surgery can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on the individual and the specifics of the procedure. It is important to follow your dentist’s or oral surgeon’s instructions carefully to ensure proper healing and a successful outcome.

Preparing for your procedure by eating a high protein, nutritious diet may also speed up recovery. Preparing for dental implants involves several steps to ensure that the procedure is successful and that you have a comfortable and speedy recovery. Dr. Wheatley will discuss all necessary preparation tips prior to your treatment start.

How to care for my dental implants?

Caring for your dental implants is crucial to their longevity and success. Here are some tips for maintaining good oral health and caring for your dental implants:

  • Brush and floss regularly: Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day to remove plaque and food particles that can cause gum disease and infection.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your teeth and implant. Brush gently to avoid damaging the implant or causing gum irritation.
  • Use an interdental brush: Use an interdental brush to clean around the implant post and between the teeth. This will help remove any plaque or debris that has accumulated.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash: Rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash to help kill bacteria and reduce the risk of infection.
  • Avoid hard or sticky foods: Avoid eating hard or sticky foods that can damage the implant or cause it to loosen.
  • Quit smoking: If you smoke, consider quitting, as smoking can increase the risk of implant failure and gum disease.
  • Stick to regular dental check-ups:  Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings to ensure your implants are in good condition and to identify any issues early on.

Why people chose dental implants over dentures and bridges?

Quality dental implants can be a great solution for people who have missing or damaged teeth. Here are some ways how they can transform your smile:

Movie star smiles: 

Dental implants are designed to look and feel like natural teeth. They are custom-made to match the shape, size, and color of your existing teeth. This makes them virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth, giving you a more natural-looking smile.

Increased Self-Confidence: 

Missing or damaged teeth can make you feel self-conscious about your smile. Dental implants can help you regain your self-confidence by improving the appearance of your smile. You can smile and speak with confidence knowing that your teeth look natural and healthy.

Better Speech: 

Missing or damaged teeth can affect your speech, making it difficult to pronounce certain words or speak clearly. Dental implants can help restore your ability to speak properly by replacing missing teeth and improving the alignment of your remaining teeth.

Improved Oral Health: 

Dental implants can help improve your oral health by preventing bone loss and reducing the risk of gum disease. They also make it easier to clean your teeth and maintain good oral hygiene.

Increased Comfort: 

Dental implants are designed to fit comfortably in your mouth. They are securely anchored to your jawbone, which means they won’t slip or move around like dentures can. This makes them more comfortable to wear and eat with.

Overall, dental implants can transform your smile by improving its appearance, boosting your self-confidence, improving your oral health, and increasing your comfort. If you are missing teeth or have damaged teeth, talk to your dentist to see if dental implants are right for you.

So, how do I pick the right dental implant center for the procedure?

Choosing the right dental implant center is an important decision that can impact your dental health for years. When considering your options, do your research, and don’t be dazzled by flashy offers or advertisements.  Instead, research the following:

  1. Qualifications and Experience: Look for a dental implant center that has qualified and experienced dentists who specialize in dental implants. Check the credentials and experience of the dentists before making a decision.
  2. Reputation: Look for reviews and ratings of the dental implant center online or ask for referrals from friends and family. A reputable center should have a good track record of successful dental implant procedures.
  3. Technology and Equipment: A good dental implant center should have modern equipment and technology to provide accurate diagnosis, planning, and execution of dental implant procedures.
  4. Services Offered: Check the range of services offered by the dental implant center. A good implant dentist should offer comprehensive dental implant services, including consultation, planning, and aftercare.
  5. Cost: Dental implant procedures can be expensive, so it’s important to consider the cost of the procedure and any financing options available.
  6. Location and Convenience: Consider the location and convenience of the dental implant center. It’s ideal to choose a center that is accessible and convenient to visit for consultations and follow-up appointments.

Overall, take the time to research and compare dental implant centers before making a decision. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and clarify any doubts before proceeding with the procedure.

Make an appointment for your consultation with Dr. Wheatley.

Learn more about Implant Dentistry.

Learn more about a full Smile Makeover.