The Surgical Procedure
The procedure to place an implant is relatively quick and most people are surprised by how non-invasive the procedure is. 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 may receive antibiotics to reduce the chance of infection. For greater comfort for our more anxious patients, the Ueno Center offers IV sedation. 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 regardless if you are being sedated or not.
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 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.
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 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. Using a donor tissue is also an option to build up more gum tissue if you do not want to use your own tissue. Donor tissues are safe options to restore lost gum and has less discomfort associated with it.
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.
When Are Dental Implants Placed?
Ideally, an implant may be placed immediately after the extraction of a tooth, however, this is not always possible. 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 an immediate implant cannot be placed, the implant will be placed 3-4 months after the tooth has been extracted. This gives the body enough time to make solid bone to house your new dental implant.
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.
Your doctor will inform you if you are a candidate for an immediate implant or if you need a bone or gum graft.
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. Implants can also be placed to support bridges, therefore less implants are needed to replace multiple missing teeth. Also, if you are missing all of your teeth, as little as 4 implants can be placed to replace all of your missing teeth per arch.