After Implant Placement FAQ
What can I use for teeth while the implants heal?
Many options are available, and they are tailored to your specific requirements. If you need a replacement tooth while the implants are healing, temporary removable teeth or a temporary bridge can usually be made. If all of your teeth are missing, your dentist can usually modify your present complete denture or make you a new temporary denture. If you would prefer to have non-removable teeth during the healing phase, temporary transitional implants can sometimes be placed along with the long-term implants, and temporary teeth may be made and inserted the same day. You can function on the temporary implants until full healing is complete. Depending on your particular situation, some implants can be placed and “loaded” immediately. This means a temporary or permanent replacement tooth can be placed on, or shortly after, the day the implant is placed.
What are the potential problems after dental implant surgery?
Although it is natural to be concerned about the pain that may be caused by these procedures, most patients do not experience severe or significant post-operative pain. Medications may be prescribed for you to make your recovery as easy as possible. Occasionally, some people develop post-operative infections that require additional antibiotic treatment. Even though great care is taken to place the implant precisely, occasionally adjacent teeth are injured in the placement process. In addition, there is a chance that the nerve in the lower jaw, which provides sensation to your lower lip and chin, may be affected. If you are missing quite a lot of bone, it might be difficult to place an implant without infringing on the nerve space. Although we take great care to avoid this nerve, occasionally it is irritated during the procedure, resulting in tingling, numbness or a complete lack of sensation in your lip, chin or tongue. Usually these altered sensations will resolve with time, but they can be permanent and/or painful. If you notify us of post-operative numbness as soon as possible, it will allow us to manage your care in the most appropriate way.
How long will the implants last?
Implants can last a long time. When patients are missing all of their teeth, long-term studies (more than 30 years) show an 80 to 90 percent success rate. For patients missing one or several teeth, recent studies show a success rate of greater than 90 percent, which compares favorably with other areas in the body that receive implant replacement (such as hips or knees). However, if one of your dental implants either do not heal properly or loosen after a period of time, you may need to have it removed. After the site heals (or on occasion at the time of removal), another implant usually can be placed.
When are the replacement teeth attached to the implant?
The replacement teeth are usually attached to the implant when adequate healing has occurred and your jaw bone is firmly fused to the implant. Depending on a variety of factors, it may be possible to begin this phase of your treatment immediately or shortly after implant placement. We will review the most appropriate treatment sequence and timing for your particular situation.
The dental work required to complete your treatment is complex. Your restorative treatment begins with specialized impressions that allow your restorative and surgical teams to produce a replica of your mouth and implants. Often “bite” records are obtained so that we see the relationship of your upper and lower jaws. With this information, abutments (support posts) that attach your replacement teeth to your implants can be fabricated. Various types of abutments exist, including factory designed metal or ceramic abutments as well as custom abutments to fit your specific needs. As you can imagine, these custom made abutments add to the cost and treatment time involved. Which abutment to use is a decision that often cannot be made until after healing is complete and impressions have been made.
The number of appointments and the amount of time required for each appointment is different for each patient. No two cases are exactly the same and regardless of the number of teeth replaced, the work must be completed with great precision and attention to detail. If you are having only a few teeth replaced, as few as three short appointments may be required. Between appointments, we will need time to complete the necessary laboratory work to make your replacement teeth. It is most beneficial that you keep all of your scheduled appointments.
If your final restoration is a removable denture, you will need to come to as many as five office appointments (although it may be fewer) over the following several months. During these appointments, your dentist will perform a series of impressions, bites and adjustments in order to make your new teeth, as well as the custom support bars, snaps, magnets, or clips that will secure your teeth to the implants. During this period, every effort will be made to ensure you have comfortable, temporary replacement teeth.
In general, once your implants are placed, you can expect your tooth replacement treatment to be completed anywhere from 1 to 12 months depending on your specific needs for treatment. It is best to discuss your costs for the restorative phase of your treatment with your restorative dentist before surgery so that you have all the information you need ahead of proceeding with treatment. It also is difficult to give you a specific timeframe for completion of your treatment until after the implant(s) are ready for restoration(s).
are the most technologically advanced and longest lasting tooth replacement option available. Restore your confidence… Smile, Eat and Enjoy!
How do I clean my new teeth?
As with natural teeth, it is important that you clean implant-associated restorations regularly with toothbrushes, water irrigation devices (e.g. Waterpik) and any other recommended aids. You should also visit your dentist several times each year for regular hygiene and maintenance. As with regular dentures and other tooth replacements, your implants and their associated components are subject to wear and tear and eventually will need repair, including clip replacement, relines, screw tightening, and other adjustments.
Will one doctor do everything?
Usually, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon places the implant(s) and performs other necessary surgical procedures – your general dentist or prosthodontist provides the temporary and permanent replacement teeth. Both doctors are involved in planning your treatment. Also, depending upon a variety of factors, different dental specialists may help with your dental care.
How much does dental implant treatment cost?
Before treatment begins, every effort will be made to give you an accurate estimate of all the expenses involved in placing dental implants and making your replacement teeth. In many cases, there is an initial charge for the diagnostic work-up, including study models, x-rays, and the fabrication of a surgical template to ensure the best possible result. In addition you will be charged for the abutment or support post(s), plus the crown, dentures, or anything else that will be placed over the implants, including temporary restorations. Periodic maintenance such as hygiene visits, tissue conditioners, denture relines and other repairs will also incur additional charges.
When different doctors are involved in your treatment, you will be charged separately for their services. We will try to assist you in estimating what your actual payments will be after we evaluate your insurance coverage or other third party payments. Also, you should consider your personal financial investment in each treatment option as some insurance companies provide limited or no coverage.
Each patient is unique, and it is not possible for us to discuss every option and every contingency for treatment outcomes. This website is intended to help you understand the general treatment options available to you. If your specific treatment options are not clear, please contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions you have about your dental care.