Overview of Implant Placement

The Dental Implant Surgical Procedure

The procedure to place a dental implant takes 30-45 minutes for one implant and possibly slightly longer for multiple implants. 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.

A local anesthetic will be administered to numb the area where the dental implant will be placed, or for greater comfort,  intravenous sedation or nitrous oxide (laughing gas) can be performed. These options are discussed with you at the consultation appointment. 

When you are comfortable, the surgeon makes a small incision in the gum tissue, performs a preparation requiring several steps with specialized instruments, and gently inserts the titanium implant. The top of this implant is often visible through the gum.  In some instances, it is better in the early stages of healing to have the implant covered by the gum tissue.

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
An representation of a healed upper jaw bone after loosing a tooth
3. Healed Bone
An 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 length of time varies from person to person, depending upon the quality and quantity of bone. In some cases, implants may be temporized immediately after they are placed, provided they are not in direct function . The surgeon will advise you on follow-up care and timing.

How long your mouth needs to heal is determined by a variety of factors. Follow-up care 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.

Occasionally, it may be beneficial to perform a hard or soft tissue graft to obtain stronger, more easily cleaned and natural appearing gum tissue in the area around the implant.  Most often, it is a brief and relatively comfortable procedure.

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.

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 several months after extraction. At times, an implant may be placed immediately after extraction of a tooth. This may be slightly less predictable requiring careful consideration, 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.  It is sometimes possible to span missing teeth with bridges supported by multiple implants.  Unfortunately, implants are not best suited for placing bridges between implants and natural teeth.  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.