Overview of Dental Implant Placement

The Surgical Procedure

The procedure to place an implant takes 30 minutes for one implant, while placing multiple implants often takes less than an hour. The number of appointments and time required, vary from patient to patient. Dr. Doherty will bring great precision and attention to the details of your case.

Prior to surgery, you will likely receive antibiotics to decrease the risk of an infection associated with your new dental implant. Multiple anesthetic options are available to include local anesthesia, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), intravenous sedation or general anesthetic. These options are discussed with you at your consultation appointment. Regardless of the choice, a local anesthetic will be administered to numb the area where the dental implant will be placed.

When you are comfortable, Dr. Doherty 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 dental implant is often visible through the gum and this is called the healing abutment.

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

The Healing Phase After Dental Implant Placement

Now the healing begins. The length of time varies from person to person, depending upon the quality and quantity of bone. In some cases, dental implants may be restored immediately after they are placed, but often this is with a provisional crown that will be replaced at 3-4 months. Dr. Doherty will advise you on follow-up care and timing. After the initial phase of healing, Dr. Doherty places an abutment (support post) or a healing cap onto the dental implant during a brief follow-up visit. This allows gum tissue to mature and provides access to the implant.

Occasionally, impressions are made at the time the dental 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 (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.

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 dental 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?

At Rogue Valley OMS, dental implants are often placed at the time your tooth is extracted. This is extremely advantageous as it means you only undergo one surgery and in such, one recovery phase. It also allows you to get your final crown nearly 6 months faster. Additionally, science suggests less bone and tissue loss with an immediate implant. When infection or other problems with the bone are present, immediate implant placement is not the best treatment. When this occurs, the site is often bone grafted and it will heal in for 4-6 months before an implant is placed.

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 dental implant will be adequately supported when it is placed in the jaw.

How many dental implants do I need?

Most frequently, one dental 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 dental implants.