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 such as a flipper denture, a clear retainer with a fake tooth or a temporary crown or bridge are just some options during the healing stage.  If all of your teeth are missing, an adjustment to modify your present complete denture if usually warranted.  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. Pain medication and antibiotics will be prescribed for you to make your recovery as easy as possible. Occasionally, some people develop post-operative infections that require an additional course of antibiotics  and possibly further exploration and treatment. Even though great care is taken to place the implant precisely, occasionally adjacent teeth are injured in the placement process. Many factors can influence potential problem after dental implant surgery. This may include, but is not limited to any minor or major health concerns, your own anatomy, habits such as smoking, grinding and clenching of teeth, etc.  If you have any concerns after your implant surgery it is best to contact our office as soon as possible.

How long will the implants last?

Implants can last a lifetime! There are many factors that contribute to the longevity (or atrophy) of dental implants. If your dental implants are well restored and you stay healthy, maintaining good oral hygiene and attend regular dental check ups, you will have the best chance of living a long life with good healthy ‘teeth’. 

When are the replacement teeth attached to the implant?

The top or crown portions of the replacement teeth are usually attached to the implant when adequate healing has occurred and your jaw bone is firmly fused to the implant. Typically, a healing period of 6 weeks to 6 months should be expected. 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 consists of a series of appointments by the restoring dentist. Most of the work involves actually making the new teeth before they are placed. Your appointments are considered more comfortable and more pleasant than previous methods of tooth replacement. Frequently, this process can be performed without local anesthesia.

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 lab 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 attend up to as many as five office appointments (although it may be fewer) over the following several months. During these appointments, your restoring practitioner 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. 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 your restoring practitioner’s office. It also is difficult to give you a specific timeframe for completion of your treatment until after the implants are ready for restoration.

How do I clean my new teeth?

As with natural teeth, it is important that you clean implant-supported restorations regularly with toothbrushes, floss and any other recommended aids. You should also visit your dentist regularly each year for 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. Maintenance and hygiene is crucial in the success of your implant restored teeth.

Will one doctor do everything?

Our office emphasizes the universally accepted teamwork approach.  Usually your oral surgeon places the implant(s) and performs other necessary surgical procedures – your restorative dentist/specialist usually provides the temporary or permanent replacement teeth.  All of your Doctors will be involved in planning your dental implant treatment. Also depending upon the variety of factors, different dental specialists may help with your implant related treatment plan. For simple cases, your general dentist may be appropriate to place and restore your implant depending on their level of competency and surgical training.

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 the implants. The expenses may include extraction of teeth, bone grafting, tissue grafting, sedation, and implant placement.

When different doctors are involved in your treatment, you will be charged separately for their services. Your dentist can provide you with an estimate for the services that they do. There are certain circumstances where another specialist may need to become involved in your treatment to give you the best possible outcome. Any treatment provided by another dental specialist can provide you with an estimate of costs.

Each patient is unique, and it is not possible for us to discuss every option and every contingency for treatment outcome. 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.