If you lose a tooth, the recommended treatment is to have it replaced by an implant. Dental implants are very common, they're provided by many dentists, and they're often considered very safe. However, you might still be a little unsure of how the procedure itself is carried out. The following are some answers to a few common questions about the dental implant procedure.

What are they actually implanting?

There is a common misconception that when you get a dental implant, your dentist is implanting someone else's tooth into your jaw. But this is not at all what happens. Cadaver teeth are not used for implants. Rather, your dentist will implant a metal, screw-like instrument into your jaw bone. It will be put in the place where your tooth root used to be. Titanium, the metal that is most commonly used, is highly compatible with your body, so there should not be a risk of rejection. The actual tooth part that you see, which is known as the crown, will be added to the top of the implant later. It will be made from ceramic and made to look like a natural tooth.

How long does the procedure take?

Dental implant procedures are surprisingly short. Once your mouth is numb and you are sedated, the procedure may take anywhere from an hour to two hours. When your dentist is done, you'll spend another half hour to an hour being observed to make sure you're coming out of the sedation okay. Then you'll be free to go home, although you will need someone to drive you.

Will you feel anything during the procedure?

You should not feel anything during the procedure. Although most patients are awake when they have dental implants placed, dentists use local anesthetics for dental implants. A local anesthetic is a substance that numbs the area into which it is injected. In the case of implants, your dentist will inject the anesthetic in and around the nerve associated with the part of the jaw where the tooth will be implanted. Once the anesthetic takes effect, you won't feel a thing. That area of your mouth will remain numb for a few hours after the surgery, which gives you time to take a pain reliever to keep the pain at bay.

Now that a few of these common questions about dental implants have been answered, you should be all set to go with the procedure. Good luck!