After Implant Placement

What do I use for teeth during the healing phase?

After your implant is installed, but before the crown is attached, there is a healing phase where there will be a gap in your teeth. Fortunately, we have many options to cover this gap and enable normal tooth function. We can manufacture temporary removable teeth or a temporary bridge if you need a replacement tooth. For patients who are missing all of their teeth and use dentures, it is possible to modify your current denture or create a temporary one. Some patients prefer non-removable teeth for this healing stage. If so, we can manufacture temporary transitional implants that can sometimes be placed in the same operation as your permanent implants. The speed of this operation depends on several factors, including your age and the speed of the healing process.
A middle-aged man and woman smiling with good teeth


What are the potential complications of dental implant surgery?

Any type of surgery can be an uncomfortable process, and patients naturally worry about post-operative pain. Fortunately, most patients do not report severe or even significant pain after orthognathic surgery. To cover all contingencies, we prescribe antibiotics and pain medication to assist your recovery. Sometimes, patients can develop post-operative infections. In those cases, we will assess the infection and may prescribe additional antibiotics.

During your surgery, we take the utmost care in placing your implant, but sometimes, adjacent teeth are damaged during the procedure. Since implants are attached to the jaw bone, they may infringe on the nerve that provides sensation to your chin and lower lip. Patients with long-term missing teeth have often lost a significant amount of jaw bone, so there is less space to work around the nerve. We take specific care to avoid this nerve during surgery, but it can become irritated, leading to numbness, tingling, or the loss of sensation in your tongue, lip, or chin. These symptoms usually subside during the post-surgical period, but they may be permanent. If you experience any post-operative numbness that fails to subside, notify us immediately so we can address the issue.

How long do dental implants last?

Dental implants are meant to be durable and long-lasting. Studies have followed dental implant recipients for thirty years after surgery. When patients were missing all their teeth before implants, these studies show a success rate of 80 to 90 percent. Patients with one or several implants have a success rate greater than 95 percent, which meets or exceeds the success rate of hip and knee replacements. Occasionally, dental implants don’t heal properly or become loose over time. In these cases, you may have the implant removed and replaced after an adequate healing phase.

How long does it take between placement of the implant and replacement teeth?

Replacement teeth should not be attached until you have gone through the healing phase, which includes your jaw bone fusing to the implant. With some patients, it is possible to attach the replacement teeth immediately after implant placement, but most patients take several months to heal. We will assess your situation and determine the appropriate timing for your procedures.

After the implants are installed, manufacturing the replacement teeth requires a complex series of dental work. Fortunately, advances in technology have rendered tooth replacement appointments much more comfortable and pleasant for the patient. Often, the process does not even require local anesthesia.

The restorative phase begins by taking specialized dental impressions so that we can build a replica of your oral structure. We also take bite records to assess the relative positions of your upper and lower jaws, testing for improper alignment. Using these records, we manufacture the abutments (support posts) that attach the replacement teeth to the implants. Abutments come in a wide variety of types and materials. Often, we can choose from a default selection of off-the-shelf abutments that come in standardized sizes. Depending on your situation, we may need to manufacture custom abutments out of gold or a ceramic material colored to your teeth. Custom abutments are more expensive than standard abutments, and also add to treatment time since they must be manufactured. We can only make the decision about your abutment type after you have completed the healing process and made dental impressions.

Each patient proceeds on a different schedule, and the number of appointments and amount of time per appointment varies from case to case. Patients who are replacing just a few teeth may only require three short appointments. Between appointments, we take the time to complete your lab work and manufacture your replacement teeth with care and precision. We highly recommend that you keep your scheduled appointments to avoid delays in your treatment schedule, and allow us to assist your case with the greatest attention to detail.

Patients whose final restoration is a removable denture usually require five or fewer office appointments, spread out over several months. These appointments allow us to take a series of impressions and bites, as well as make adjustments to your implants. Dentures require a precise array of support systems including custom support bars, magnets, snaps and clips that we will measure and manufacture. While you are in this transitional period, we will ensure that your temporary replacement teeth are as comfortable as possible.

The length of time between implant surgery and tooth replacement can vary between one to twelve months. Since the time involved is so variable, it is difficult for us to estimate costs in advance, although our office will provide you with a reasonable estimate. It is also difficult to estimate your treatment time until your implants are placed.

A couple with great smiles

Dental Implants

are the most technologically advanced and longest lasting tooth replacement option available. Restore your confidence… Smile, Eat and Enjoy!

How should I clean my replacement teeth?

Use the same oral hygiene procedure that you would use with natural teeth, cleaning your implant-supported restorations daily by brushing and flossing. Your dentist may recommend other cleaning aids and procedures. Schedule cleaning appointments with your dentist several times each year, since dentists have special cleaning tools that work around the implant more thoroughly than home methods. Much like dentures, dental implants and their components undergo wear and tear and will eventually require repairs such as relines, screw tightening, clip replacement, and other procedures.

How many doctors are involved in my dental implant surgery?

An oral or maxillofacial surgeon performs the installation of the implants, while your general dentist takes impressions and manufactures your temporary and permanent replacement teeth. The two doctors coordinate closely to determine your treatment plan. In some cases, other dental specialists can be brought in to assist with your care.

What is the cost of dental implant surgery?

We will make every effort to provide an accurate estimate of your expenses before beginning your treatment. The list of possible expenses can include:

  • A charge for the initial diagnostics, which includes x-rays, study models, and the manufacturing of a surgical template that models your mouth in preparation for surgery.
  • The cost of manufacturing components, including the implants, abutments and crown. Special cases may also involve dentures, temporary replacement teeth, and anything else that is placed over the implants.
  • Periodic maintenance, including tissue conditioners, denture relines, and any repairs that are necessary, in addition to normal hygiene visits.

Each doctor involved in your treatment will charge separately for their services. After evaluating your insurance plan and taking into account additional third party payments, we will provide the best possible estimate of your payment total. Some insurance companies consider dental implants a cosmetic procedure and do not offer coverage, so consider your level of financial investment in each treatment option.

Since every patient has unique needs, there are a wide variety of treatment options and each treatment proceeds on its own schedule. This page covers the general treatment options that are available. Contact us to discuss your specific treatment options in more detail. We are always available to answer questions and help you understand how dental implant treatment can benefit you.

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