After Dental 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 be made. If all of your teeth are missing, your dentist or denturist can usually modify your present complete denture or make you a new temporary denture. Ask your restorative dentist about temporary replacement options.
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. Most patients only experience pressure in the implant site that goes away after a day or two. Pain medication is not necessary. Antibiotics will 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 within 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. We used 3D guided stents, or retainers, when we place implants. When we use these stents it ensures that we do not hit a nerve and placement is perfect every time.
When a tooth is lost due to periodontal disease there is a chance the implant can also have periodontal disease. It is very important to get your implants professionally cleaned every 3 to 4 months. We regularly check on your implants at your cleanings for any changes in the bone or possible infection. When we first notice changes we may do a deep scaling around the implant. This is typically very effective if it is caught early. In some cases we may need to do periodontal surgery around the implant and add bone around it. In very advanced cases the implant may need to be removed. Have your implants examined regularly by us or your regular dentist for any possible bleeding or changes in the bone. When they are doing probings and you hear the number 5 or greater ask for a referral to us to evaluate the health of the implant.
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 greater than 95 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 doesn’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 usually can be placed. If you smoke there is a 40% chance the implant will fail.
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. We will review the most appropriate treatment sequence and timing for your particular situation. The upper jaw bone is more spongy than the lower jaw and can take longer to heal.
The dental work required to complete your treatment is complex. 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.
Your restorative treatment begins with specialized impressions that allow the restoring dentist to produce a replica of your mouth and implants. They will also make “bite” records so that they see the relationship of your upper and lower jaws. With this information, they will make the abutments (support posts) that attach your replacement teeth to your implants. Various types of abutments exist. Frequently, they can use “off the shelf” abutments. Other times, custom abutments must be made of gold or a tooth-colored ceramic material. 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, your restoring dentist 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 come to as many as five office appointments (although it may be fewer) over the following several months. During these appointments, they 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 dental 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 4 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. We do not restore implants in this office but we work very closely with the dentist who will be restoring your implants. Call your restoring office for a reasonable estimate. It also is difficult to give you a specific timeframe for completion of your treatment until after the implants are ready for restoration.
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-supported restorations regularly with toothbrushes, floss and any other recommended aids. You should also visit your dentist several times each year for hygiene and maintenance. As with regular dentures and other tooth replacements, your dental 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?
Dr. Harper places the dental implant(s) and performs other necessary surgical procedures – your general dentist provides the temporary and permanent replacement teeth. Both doctors are 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 treatment begins, every effort will be made to give you an accurate estimate of all the expenses involved in placing the implants. 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 by your restoring dentist 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 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.