Overview of Implant Placement

The Surgical Procedure

The procedure to place an implant takes approximately 2 to 3 hours.  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 an oral premedication to help you feel more relaxed during the surgery. 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.

When you are numb and comfortable, the surgeon 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 implant is often visible through the gum. Sometimes in the early stages of healing the implant is completely covered by the gum tissue.

Normal Mouth
1. Normal
After Tooth Loss
2. Tooth Loss
Healed Bone, after bone grafting
3. Healed Bone
Dental Implant Placed
4. Implant Placed
Healing after dental implant placement
5. Healing
Dental Implant Restored
6. Implant Restored

The Healing Phase

Now the healing begins. The length of time varies from person to person, depending upon the quality and quantity of bone.  Typically Dr. Vahey allows 6 months healing of the bone following implant placement.  The surgeon will advise you on follow-up care and timing.  After the initial phase of healing (6 months), Dr. Vahey performs Stage II implant surgery.   At this sesond surgery, a healing abutment will be inserted into the implant fixture.  The purpose of the healing abutment is to help train the soft tissue/gums in preparation for the final restoration/crown.  

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 first perform a soft tissue graft to create 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. 

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?

Implants are typically placed six months after tooth extraction. 

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 much bone, you may benefit from having additional bone grafted into the area. This helps to provide additional support for the implant.

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.