After Implant Placement

What can I use for teeth while the implant site(s) heal?

Many options are available  that may be tailored to specific circumstances. If a replacement tooth is needed while  an implant site is healing, temporary removable teeth or a temporary bridge can be fabricated. When all teeth are missing, one’s current complete denture may be modified, or a temporary denture may be fabricated. If non-removable teeth are preferred during the healing phase, temporary transitional implants may be placed with the permanent implants, and temporary teeth may be made and inserted the same day. Depending on circumstances, some implants may be placed and “loaded” immediately, meaning that a temporary or permanent replacement tooth can be placed on, or shortly after, the day the implant is placed.

A middle-aged man and woman smiling with good teeth

What are the potential problems following dental implant surgery?

Although it is natural to be concerned about the discomfort that may be experienced following these procedures, most patients do not experience severe or significant post-operative pain. Antibiotics and pain medication will be prescribed to ease recovery as much as possible. Occasionally, some develop post-operative infections that require additional antibiotic treatment. Even though great care is taken to place implants 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 the lower lip and chin) may be affected. If one is missing a significant amount of bone, it is difficult to place an implant without infringing on the nerve space. Although great care is taken to avoid the nerve, occasionally it is irritated during the procedure, resulting in tingling, numbness or lack of sensation in the lip, chin and/or tongue. These altered sensations will usually resolve within time, however, can sometimes be permanent and/or painful. Notifying us of post-operative numbness as soon as possible, will allow us to manage post-operative care in the most appropriate way.

How long will the implants last?

There are many factors that influence the longevity of dental implants. If one is able to maintain good general health, including good oral hygiene with attendance of routine dental check ups, implants may last a lifetime. Long-term studies of implants placed for patients who were missing all of their teeth, reveal an 80 to 90 percent success rate. For patients missing one or several teeth, recent studies reveal a success rate of greater than 95 percent, comparing similarly with other areas of the body that receive implant replacement (such as hips or knees). There may be underlying factors that compromise a dental implant site from healing properly, or lead to a dental implant loosening after a period of time, in which case it may need to be removed. Another implant can usually be placed following healing of this site.

When are the replacement teeth attached to the implant?

The crowns (top portion) of the replacement teeth are generally attached to the implant when adequate healing has taken place and the jaw bone has firmly fused to the implant. One should expect a healing phase of 6 weeks to 6 months. Although dependent on a number of factors, it may be possible for some to undergo this phase of treatment immediately or shortly after implant placement. However, the most appropriate treatment sequencing and timing will be followed for every patient’s individual circumstances.

The dental work required to complete the implant treatment is complex, involving a series of appointments with your General Dentist, with much of the work required to fabricate the new teeth actually being completed before the replacement teeth are placed. These appointments are often considered more comfortable and more pleasant than previous methods of tooth replacement. 

Restorative treatment begins with specialized impressions that allow us to produce a replica of your mouth. “Bite” records are also taken to reveal the position of your upper jaw in relation to your lower jaw. With this information, abutments (support posts) will be fabricated that attach your replacement teeth to your implants. Various types of abutments exist, from standard abutments to custom abutments that include special metals or tooth-coloured ceramic materials. Custom 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 taken.

The number of appointments and the amount of time required for each appointment varies from patient to 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. In relatively simple cases, as few as three appointments may be required, with time in between appointments needed to complete the necessary lab work to fabricate the replacement teeth. The best results are achieved when all scheduled appointments are kept.

If your final restoration is a removable denture, five office appointments are generally needed over a period of several months. These appointments involve a series of impressions, bite records and adjustments in order to fabricate the new teeth, as well as to design 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 the interim.

Once the implants are placed, tooth replacement treatment is generally completed within 1 to 12 months. As this timeline is so case-specific, it is difficult for us to provide an exact cost for the restorative phase of your treatment, although a reasonable estimate will certainly be provided. It is also difficult to provide a specific timeframe for completion of your treatment as much depends on the implant surgery healing time, which is unique for every patient.

A couple with great smiles

Dental Implants

are the most technologically advanced and longest lasting tooth replacement option available. Restore your confidence  while also enjoying smiling, eating a greater variety of foods, and all of the other benefits that dental implants can offer.

How do I clean my new teeth?

As with natural teeth, it is important that implant-supported restorations are cleaned regularly with toothbrushes, floss and any other recommended aids. You should also continue to visit your dentist several times each year for the oral examinations, hygiene and maintenance appointments that have been recommended for you. 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, possibly including relines, clip replacement, screw tightening, and other adjustments.

Will one doctor perform all treatment?

Optimal oral health care involves a teamwork approach. Generally, an Oral Surgeon places the implant(s) and performs any other surgical procedures if indicated, while your General Restorative Dentist provides the temporary and/or permanent replacement teeth. Both Doctors will be involved in planning your dental implant treatment. In addition, other Specialists may be involved with your care should there be other factors to consider to best address your overall treatment. As a team, our objective is to achieve the best results possible for you considering your oral health circumstances.

How much does dental implant treatment cost?

Before treatment begins, every effort will be made to provide an accurate estimate of all expenses involved in placing the 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, there is a cost for the abutment or support post(s), the crown(s), dentures, or other prosthetic choice 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. Your General Dentist can provide you with an estimate for their treatment, which may include fabrication of the temporary and/or replacement teeth. Should your overall treatment require the involvement of other Specialists, they will also provide you with estimates for their expertise in your care. 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.

As each patient is unique, 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. If you would like clarification regarding specific treatment options, please feel free to contact us. We are more than happy to discuss any questions you may have about your dental care.