Overview of Implant Placement

The Surgical Procedure

The procedure to place an implant typically takes 20 to 40 minutes for one implant and a variable length of time for multiple implants.  This would depend on how many implants are placed. 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.

Prior to surgery, you receive antibiotics to optimize successful outcomes and for greater comfort, intravenous sedation or nitrous oxide (laughing gas). These options are discussed with you at your consultation appointment. A local anesthetic will be administered to numb the area where the implant will be placed no matter what method of anesthesia is ultimately chosen.

When you are comfortable, the surgeon makes a small incision in the gum tissue to reveal the bone, creates space using special instruments, and gently inserts the titanium implant. The top of this implant may be visible through the gum. Sometimes it is better in the early stages of healing to have the implant covered by the gum tissue.

Normal Mouth
1. Normal
After Tooth Loss
2. Tooth Loss
Healed Bone, after bone grafting
3. Healed Bone
Dental Implant Placed
4. Implant Placed
Healing after dental implant placement
5. Healing
Dental Implant Restored
6. Implant Restored

The Healing Phase

Now the healing begins. The length of time varies from person to person, depending upon the quality and quantity of bone. The surgeon will advise you on follow-up care and timing. After the initial phase of healing, the surgeon places an abutment (support post) or a healing cap onto the implant during a brief follow-up visit. This allows gum tissue to mature and provides access to the implant.

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 restoration by fitting the replacement tooth (crown) to the dental implant.

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 within the first 1-2 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 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 grow thinner and shrink. 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 year following tooth extraction.  Our doctors can determine exactly how much bone you have by taking a 3-D CT scan. If you are missing enough bone, you may benefit from having additional bone grafted into the area. This ensures the implant will be adequately supported when it is placed in the jaw.

How Many Implants Do I Need?

Most frequently, one implant per missing tooth is placed. Because many of the larger teeth in the back of your jaws have two or three roots, the most common approach is to replace missing back teeth with larger implants.  Implant supported bridges can also be used to replace more teeth than implants placed at times.