Overview of Implant Placement

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The Surgical Procedure

While Drs. Shroyer and Moore bring precise surgical skills and techniques to each surgical case, an implant placement typically requires 20-30 minutes. Of course, the placement of multiple implants in the mouth may take 1-2 hours depending on the number of implants needed and the difficulty of the case. The number of appointments and the actual surgical timeline varies from patient to patient.

Intravenous sedation or nitrous oxide (laughing gas) are available to patients who are anxious about the procedure. These options are discussed by Drs. Shroyer or Moore at the consultation appointment. A local anesthetic will be administered to the area receiving the implant.

Once anesthetized, Drs. Shroyer or Moore will make a small incision in the gum tissue to reveal the bone of the jaw underneath. Your surgeon will create a space for the implant using special instruments and gently inserts the titanium implant. The top of the implant is often visible through the gum once placed. Sometimes it is better in the early healing stages to have the implant covered by gum tissue. Antibiotic therapy is usually provided at the time of surgical placement of the implant.

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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

Immediately after the implant is placed, healing begins. In some cases, implants may be restored with an artificial crown immediately after the implant is placed. Drs. Shroyer or Moore will offer tips on post-operative care of the surgical site following the procedure. After the initial healing phase, Drs. Shroyer or Moore will place an abutment (support post) or a healing cap onto the implant during a brief follow-up visit. This allows the gum tissue to mature around the implant and provides access to the implant itself.

Occasionally, impressions are taken at the time the implant is placed. This enables the fabrication of the artificial crown to begin by an outside lab and ensures that it is ready for delivery once healing has taken place. The healing time of the surgical site varies and is determined by several factors. Follow-up care (1-3 appointments) is usually needed to ensure proper healing of bone and tissue and to determine the initiation of the restorative (crown) phase of the implant process.

Whether it’s one tooth or several teeth being replaced, your general dentist will complete the restoration process by fitting the artificial replacement crown to the dental implant or attaching a full denture to several strategically placed implants.

When Are Dental Implants Placed?

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

Dental implants are typically surgically placed several months after a tooth or teeth are extracted. Frequently, an implant may be placed immediately at the time the failing tooth is removed. When an infection surrounds the tooth to be extracted, the immediate placement of a dental implant is not possible.

If a tooth has been missing for some time, the supporting bone in the area of the missing tooth has likely thinned and become weaker. This is because the root of the tooth must be present to stimulate and maintain a proper bone height. As much as 1/3 of the thickness of jawbone can be lost in the year following a tooth extraction. Bone is needed to ensure the success of the integration of the implant. Bone grafting in the surgical site may be necessary in some instances before the implant is placed. This, however, is NOT a procedure that is routinely performed with the placement of each implant.

How Many Implants Do I Need?

Typically, one implant is placed per missing tooth. Many of the larger molar teeth in the back of your jaws have two or three roots which can be replaced with larger implants. In the case of patients with dentures, the implant number can range from 2-6 for each jaw.