What happens during dental implant surgery?

The procedure to place the initial implants typically lasts 30-60 minutes for a single implant and up to 3 hours for multiple implants. This time varies depending on the number of implants you need as well as your medical history. As we say, each mouth is unique and each surgery requires specialized care and attention.

Before your surgery, you may be given antibiotics, intravenous anesthetic or nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Local anesthetic will be used to numb the implant site. Your medication and sedation options will be discussed prior to your surgery, and Dr. Elias will be sure to let you know exactly which option is best for you and your case. These options also vary based on the number of implants you are receiving and any allergies you have to medications.

After your anesthetic is activated, surgery will begin. Dr. Elias will make a small incision in your gum tissue to access the bone beneath and place the titanium implant. This is repeated based on the number of teeth that need to be replaced and the implant option you have chosen.

What is the healing process like?

The length and ease of the healing process varies greatly from person to person, depending on bone density, medical history, general health and the care you take of your wounds following surgery. Dr. Elias will go over follow-up care in great detail with you prior to surgery, and you can visit our post-operative care page to read a general overview of what to expect. After the initial implant procedure, you will meet again with Dr. Elias for a follow-up visit to check on healing and plan the next step.

In most cases, impressions are made prior to the implant procedure. Your dentist will make your set of permanent prosthesis, but these cannot be inserted until your implants are healed and bonded with the jawbone. Typically 1-4 follow-up appointments are necessary before this next phase. Once your mouth is healed, your replacement teeth will be fitted to the dental implant in a simple procedure. Now you can begin enjoying your new, permanent smile!

How soon after extraction can I have dental implants placed?

Usually implants are not placed until several months following extraction, to allow the site to heal and prepare for another surgery. Depending on your case and medical history, you and Dr. Elias may decide implants can be placed immediately.

If you have been missing teeth for some time, the bone beneath may have shrunk or grown thinner as there is no longer a root to stimulate the bone to bond and remain strong. As much as one-third of your jaw’s density can be lost within just a year following the loss or extraction of a tooth. If this is the case, bone grafting may be necessary in order to prepare the site to bond with a new implant and ensure adequate support for your implants’ longevity.

If you have lost teeth and are considering dental implants, be sure to schedule a consultation as soon as you can in order to simplify your surgical process and ensure the success of your procedure.

How many implants do I need?

This number depends on how many teeth you are missing. In most cases, one implant is placed per missing tooth. However, if many teeth need replacing, a different approach may be taken with the prosthesis and less implants will be inserted. Dr. Elias will give you specifics during your consultation and based on your particular needs.

What can I use as teeth while my implants heal?

Your options for temporary prosthesis will be discussed during your consultation, but rest assured you will not be going toothless! Temporary dentures can be made if you are missing all of your teeth, and temporary bridges can be inserted individually when a full set is not needed.

How painful is dental implant surgery?

We understand the fear that comes with opting for a surgical procedure, but we can assure you that the chance of experiencing complications with dental implants is minimal. Most patients do not report any pain with this procedure and are given the medication and tools they need following surgery to manage any discomfort during healing.

How long will my implants last?

Implants usually last 30 or more years – they are as close as we can get to permanent with the latest technology. In cases of patients missing all of their teeth, 80-90% successfully have their implants for over 30 years. For patients missing one or several teeth, the success rate is greater than 95%.

It is very important to know that if you do experience complications with your implants (improper healing or loosening over time), you may need to have it removed to prevent infection. These can always be replaced after the failed implant site has healed.

How do I clean my new teeth?

Your new teeth are just like the originals – brushing and flossing twice daily is necessary for the health of your teeth, as it always has been. You should make regular appointments with your dentist for hygiene and maintenance, during which your dentist can tend to any wear and tear that may affect your implants.