After Dental Implant Placement FAQ

You have either had dental implants placed or are about to and you have questions. We try to answer many of those questions in this FAQ page about dental implants.

What do 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, we create temporary removable teeth or a temporary bridge for you. If all of your teeth are missing, we can usually modify your present complete denture or make you a new temporary denture.

Should you prefer non-removable teeth during the healing phase, temporary transitional implants work along with permanent implants. We can make and place temporary teeth on the same day. Depending on your particular situation, some implants can be placed and “loaded” immediately.

A senior-aged man and woman smiling with dental implants

What are the potential problems after dental implant surgery?

Pain: Although it is natural to be concerned about potential pain the procedure may cause, most patients do not experience significant post-operative pain. We prescribe pain medication and antibiotics to make your recovery as easy as possible.

Infection: Occasionally, some people develop post-operative infections that require additional antibiotic treatment.

Tooth or nerve damage: Even with great care to place the implant precisely, occasionally damage can occur to adjacent teeth during 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 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. This can result 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 usually 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 95 to 98 percent. This 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 don’t heal properly or loosens 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 can usually be placed.

When are replacement teeth attached to the implant?

The dentist will attach the replacement teeth to the implant after adequate healing time and your jawbone 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. Most of the work involves actually making the new teeth before placement. We make sure that your appointments are comfortable and pleasant.

The Process

Your restorative treatment begins with specialized impressions that allow us to produce a replica of your mouth and implants. We also make “bite” records so that we see the relationship between your upper and lower jaws. With this information, we make the abutments (support posts) that attach your replacement teeth to your implants.

Abutments

Various types of abutments exist. Frequently, we can use “off the shelf” abutments. Other times, custom abutments made of gold or tooth-colored ceramic are needed. 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 comes after healing is complete and impressions are taken.

Appointments

The number of appointments and the amount of time required for each appointment are different for each patient. No two cases are exactly the same. If you have only a few teeth replaced, this requires as few as three short appointments. Between appointments, we need time to complete the necessary lab work to make your replacement teeth. It is important that you keep all of your scheduled appointments.

If your final restoration is a removable denture, our dentist may need to see you for as many as five office appointments (although it may be fewer). During these appointments, they will perform a series of impressions, bites, and adjustments to make your new teeth, custom support bars, snaps, magnets, or clips that will secure your teeth to the dental implants. During this period, we make every effort to ensure you have comfortable, temporary replacement teeth.

Treatment Time Frame

In general, once your implants are placed, you can expect your tooth replacement treatment to be completed anywhere from 1 to 12 months. For these reasons, it is difficult for us to tell you exactly how much the restorative phase of your treatment will cost, although you should receive a reasonable estimate from our office. It also is difficult to give you a specific timeframe for completion of your treatment until after the implants are ready for restoration.

A couple with dental implants and great smiles

Dental Implants

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 your dental implants regularly with a toothbrush and floss. You should also visit your dentist at least bi-annually for hygiene and maintenance. Although your dental implants may never need repair or replacement, your dental crowns are subject to wear and tear and will eventually need replacement.

Will one doctor do everything?

Usually, a dental surgeon places the dental implant(s) and performs other necessary surgical procedures – your general dentist provides the temporary and permanent replacement teeth. Each doctor is involved in planning your dental 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 your dental implant treatment begins, we make every effort to give you an accurate estimate of all expenses involved. 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. Additionally, there are charges for the abutment or support post(s), crown, dentures, and temporary restorations. Periodic maintenance such as hygiene visits, tissue conditioners, denture relines, and other repairs add to cost. Be aware that each doctor has a separate charge for their services.

Insurance

We will try to estimate what your actual payments will be after we evaluate your insurance coverage. Also, consider your personal financial investment in each treatment option as some insurance companies provide limited or no coverage.

Each Situation Is Unique

Each patient is unique and it is therefore not possible to discuss every option and every contingency for treatment outcome. If you have additional questions, please contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions you have about your dental care.