Overview of Implant Placement

The Surgical Procedure

The surgery to place a single implant takes 30 to 40 minutes and when placing multiple implants the surgery could take up to 2 hours or longer. The number of appointments and time required, vary from patient to patient. The surgeon will bring great precision and attention to the details of your case.

Anesthesia options that were discussed with you at your consultation appointment will be adhered to. A local anesthetic will be administered as well to numb the area where the implant(s) will be placed.

When you are comfortable, the surgeon makes an incision in the gum tissue to reveal the underlying bone. Using a specialized implant drill system the implant site is prepared.  The implant is then tightened into place and the surgical site is sutured closed. This is the Stage 1 surgery. 

A depiction of the upper jaw with all normal teeth
1. Normal
An example of the upper jaw missing a tooth with the jaw bone unhealed
2. Tooth Loss
A representation of a healed upper jaw bone after losing a tooth
3. Healed Bone
A digital representation of the initial dental implant placed in the jaw bone
4. Implant Placed
A representation of the healed jaw bone after placement of the dental implant
5. Healing
An example of a fully restored tooth using a dental implant
6. Implant Restored
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The Healing Phase

Now the healing begins. The length of time varies from person to person, depending upon the quality and quantity of bone. In some cases, implants may be restored immediately after they are placed. The surgeon will advise you on follow-up care and timing. After the initial phase of healing, the surgeon places a temporary abutment or healing cap onto the implant at a Stage 2 surgery visit. This allows the gum tissue to heal around the implant and also allows access to the implant by your dentist for the restorative work.

Occasionally, impressions are made at the time the implant is placed. This enables the crown to be ready when the implants have healed. How long your mouth needs to heal is determined by a variety of factors. Follow-up care is necessary to ensure that the implant is healing well and to determine when you are ready for the restorative phase of your treatment.

It may be beneficial to perform a soft tissue graft to obtain stronger, more easily cleaned and natural appearing gum tissue in the area around the implant. This process involves moving a small amount of gum tissue from one part of your mouth to the area around the implant. Most often, it is a brief and relatively comfortable procedure.

Whether it’s one tooth or all of your teeth that are being replaced, your dentist will complete the restorative process by fitting the replacement tooth (teeth) to the dental implant(s).

Dental Implants Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of dental implants, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to dental implants are discussed.

Dental Implants Presentation

When Are Dental Implants Placed?

Implants are often placed several months after extraction. At times, an implant may be placed immediately after extraction of a tooth. This may involve a little more risk, but it simplifies the process—you won’t have to wait for another appointment to place the implant. When an infection or other problems with the bone are present, immediate implant placement is not the best treatment.

If your tooth has been missing for some time, the adjacent support bone is likely to be thinner and more challenging for implant placement . This occurs because the root of the natural tooth has to be present to stimulate the bone. As much as one-third of your jaw’s thickness can be lost in the first year following tooth extraction. If you are missing enough bone, you may benefit from having the site bone grafted prior to implant placement. This ensures the implant will have adequate support when it is placed in the jaw.

How Many Implants Do I Need?

Normally if there is one missing tooth – one implant is needed to replace it. If there are multiple missing teeth the number of implants needed to help replace the teeth can vary greatly. This is where good communication between you, your dentist and  surgeon is of utmost importance. A treatment plan needs to be established that will detail how many implants will be needed and what the final restoration will be in advance of any surgery. There could be several different treatment options to replace multiple missing teeth. Once the plan is set, the work can begin to restore your mouth.