Overview of Implant Placement

The Dental Implant Surgical Procedure

The procedure to place a dental implant usually takes 30 to 60 minutes per implant. However, the number of appointments and time required may vary from patient to patient. Dr. Burns will bring great precision and attention to the details of your case.

Prior to surgery, a local anesthetic will be administered to numb the area where the dental implant will be placed. To ensure greater comfort, you may also receive intravenous sedation or nitrous oxide (laughing gas). These options are discussed with you at your consultation appointment.

When you are comfortable, Dr. Burns 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 the implant is often covered by a flat metal cap (healing cap), which may extend slightly above the gum. Sometimes though, it is better in the early stages of healing to have the implant covered by the gum tissue instead of the healing cap.

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

Healing after Dental Implant Surgery

Now the healing begins. The overall length of healing time varies from person to person, depending upon the quality and quantity of bone surrounding the implant. After the initial phase of healing, generally 3 – 4 months,  Dr. Burns will test the stability of the implant during a brief follow up visit. If adequate healing has occurred, an abutment (support post) will be attached to the dental implant.

Whether it’s one tooth or all of your teeth that are being replaced, your dentist will then complete the restoration by creating and fitting the replacement tooth (crown) or teeth (implant bridge or denture) 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 3 – 4 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. 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.