April 21, 2021

How Do Dental Implants Work?

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If you are looking into dental implants, you may have questions like “how do dental implants work?” or “do dental implants hurt?”. We want to help you understand the process as best as you can so when it comes to making decisions about your smile, you have the facts. Here are answers to a few of the questions you might have about how dental implants work.

What are dental implants made of?

The portion of the dental implant that is placed inside the jaw bone is made of medical grade titanium. It is the same material that makes up shoulder, hip, and knee replacement parts. Once the implant is placed, the bone begins to grow around the implants and bonds with the bone. After this bonding takes place, the implant functions as a natural tooth with a natural root.

‍The set of fake teeth that is securely attached to your dental implant is made from Zirconia, an incredibly strong and durable material. Other providers may give patients fake teeth made from acrylic plastics that could require frequent maintenance to keep in tact. Not only is zirconia strong, it looks great too. Zirconia helps patients restore their smiles with strong, natural looking permanent teeth 24 hours after their dental implants are placed.

Check if you may be a candidate for permanent, zirconia teeth in 24 hours with this 60-second quiz.

How long does the entire process take?

At Nuvia it takes 24 hours to receive your full mouth dental implants with permanent teeth. The entire process from consultation, smile design, and procedure can be completed in just a few days, making it ideal and convenient for traveling patients. For our traveling patients, we recommend planning for a week to include some recovery time. 

For example, a patient’s experience could be having an initial consultation and smile design on Monday (we design each smile custom for every patient), the implant surgery on Tuesday, installing the permanent teeth on Wednesday (they are created Tuesday night to fit the patient’s mouth and bite with accuracy down to the nanometer), and a checkup on Friday. That's it. Immediately after the permanent teeth are installed Wednesday morning, you can eat soft foods such as pasta, smoothies, soft breads, or anything that can be cut with a plastic fork.

For more details on the dental implant procedure, read here.

Patient before and after for how do dental implants work

How Do Dental Implants Work With Bone Loss?

Understanding Bone Loss in the Jaw: The human jawbone requires the support of teeth and the force of chewing to maintain its volume and density. When teeth are missing, the jawbone begins to deteriorate and lose its strength and volume. Those who wear dentures for a long time are likely to experience bone loss, making permanent solutions like dental implants more difficult to get. Dental implants require a strong bone foundation to be successful. Luckily, there are techniques that make it possible to give those with missing teeth a beautiful, permanent smile, even if they have experienced some bone loss.

Modern Implant Techniques: How do dental implants work in cases of significant bone loss? Traditional dental implants may not be feasible without additional procedures such as bone grafts or sinus lifts. However, certain techniques have been developed to accommodate patients with insufficient bone volume. For instance, at Nuvia, our experienced surgeons use strategies like All-on-4® and All-on-X that are designed to make the best use of the available bone. These techniques involve placing implants at strategic angles in areas of the jaw where the bone is denser, thus often eliminating the need for bone grafting. Check out this article to read more about bone grafting and when it’s necessary.

Zygomatic Implants: Zygomatic dental implants are often a viable solution for those with bone loss in their upper jaw. These longer implants anchor into the zygomatic bone (cheekbone), bypassing areas of insufficient bone in upper jaw. This technique allows for implants to be placed without the need of bone grafting techniques.

The Advantage of Permanent Teeth in 24 Hours: If you’ve ever asked “how do dental implants work?”, you may have been told about a process where you’re given temporary “teeth-in-a-day” after your dental implant surgery only to potentially wait up to 10+ months before getting your permanent teeth. That’s not how dental implants work at Nuvia. You can get your permanent teeth 24 hours after surgery. For more how how Nuvia’s permanent teeth in 24 hours vs “teeth-in-a-day”, check out this article

Ready to get out of dentures or find a permanent solution to your missing teeth? See if you may be a candidate for dental implants with this 60-second quiz!

How painful is it to receive dental implants?

The pain depends on the patient. Most patients generally feel more of a discomfort instead of pain. Your mouth is numb during the process, causing less pain. Implanting the metal posts into your jawbone is done under general anesthesia, so you will be comfortably asleep during the surgery.  You could notice some swelling or discomfort in the days after the surgery that could last up to ten days. The majority of our patients can manage any discomfort from dental implants with over the counter Tylenol and Ibuprofen. However, some stronger medications can be provided if necessary. Some patients can even feel less pain from the implant surgery than they did from their damaged or infected teeth. 

How much do implants cost?

The cost of implants varies greatly depending on what your treatment plan includes. Some patients may only require 4 implants to secure a full arch of teeth while others may need more implants or a specific type of implant called Zygomatic dental implants.

For details on dental implant cost, answers to insurance questions, and financing options, download the FREE dental implant cost guide.

We implement incredible technology and can provide permanent teeth within 24 hours after the surgery without the need for temporary dentures. This gets rid of a large part of the "traditional" teeth-in-a-day method, which can help lessen the cost. Even with our incredible technology and procedures, we are still competitively priced. Please fill out this 60-second quiz to determine if you may be eligible for dental implants and to request a voucher for a free consultation. You can get a personalized estimate on what dental implants will cost you specifically.

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How do I pay for implants?

First, be sure to check with your insurance. Dental implants are usually considered cosmetic and not covered but check anyway. Some plans could offer some coverage. Other options to cover the cost include financing through the dental office, personal loans, paying with credit cards, or using your HSA or FSA.

How do I take care of my implants?

Just as your natural teeth need to be taken care of, dental implants are the same. Proper cleaning on the implants include:

  • Brushing at least twice daily
  • Regular flossing
  • No smoking – smoking with dental implants can cause complications and implant failure
  • Protecting your teeth from trauma and injury
  • Avoid using your teeth to open bottles, packages, or to crack nuts

More on dental implant aftercare here!

How long will my implants last?

Full mouth dental implants look and act like natural teeth, but they are not susceptible to dental decay. If taken care of properly as previously described, dental implants can last more than 25 years.

Dental Implants for bottom teeth

Are dental implants safe?

As with any surgery, there can be risks. The success rate of dental implants is very high. The common risks include infection, nerve damage, and sinus problems. Other teeth or blood vessels can also be damaged during the process. When these complications do arise, they are generally minor and easy to treat. See more on dental implant safety.

Ready to start the dental implant process? Fill out this 60-second quiz to see if you may be eligible!


Raikar, S., Talukdar, P., Kumari, S., Panda, S. K., Oommen, V. M., & Prasad, A. (2017). Factors Affecting the Survival Rate of Dental Implants: A Retrospective Study. Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry, 7(6), 351–355. https://doi.org/10.4103/jispcd.JISPCD_380_17


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Cost Guide

Dental Implant Cost Guide

2024 Cost Guide

This guide is designed to walk you step by step through the dental implant process and each dental implant type with their associated costs.

  • Different implant types and their average costs
  • 4 little known factors that affect pricing
  • How much will dental & health insurance typically cover for dental implants?
  • What 1000’s of average Americans are doing to make this treatment affordable.
  • And more...
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