Overview of Implant Placement
The Dental Implant Surgical Procedure
The procedure to place a dental implant takes 30 to 60 minutes for one implant and only 2 to 3 hours for multiple implants. The number of appointments and time required, vary from patient to patient. Drs. Lohr and Hollabaugh will bring great precision and attention to the details of your case.
Prior to surgery, you may receive antibiotics 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 dental implant will be placed.
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 is often visible through the gum. Sometimes it is better in the early stages of healing to have the implant covered by the gum tissue which is a decision made at the time of surgery.
2. Tooth Loss
3. Healed Bone
4. Implant Placed
6. Implant Restored
Healing after Dental Implant Surgery
Now the healing begins. The length of time varies from person to person, depending upon the quality of bone and type of implant placed. In some cases, teeth may be placed immediately onto the implant. Drs. Lohr and Hollabaugh will discuss follow-up care and timing, as everything is individualized. After the initial phase of healing, the surgeon may place an healing abutment onto the dental implant during a brief follow-up visit. This allows gum tissue to mature and provides access to the implant.
To provide you the most accurate impression or dental records and to minimize the number of appointments, our office routinely utilizes digital intraoral scans. Intraorally scanners use a camera to obtain records of how your teeth fit together so a crown or tooth can be made. Having the scan performed by our office minimizes excess appointments and costs to the patient, while also producing a more accurate result. How long your mouth needs to heal is determined by a variety of factors. Follow-up care (one to four appointments) is usually needed to ensure that your mouth is healing well and to determine when you are ready for the restorative phase of your treatment.
Occasionally, 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 placed by Drs. Lohr and Hollabaugh.
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 problems with the bone are present, immediate implant placement may not the best treatment. We will always discuss these factors with you before surgery so you are educated about your care.
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. 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. When all the teeth are missing, we often will replace all teeth on the top or bottom using 4-6 implants per arch.