Overview of Implant Placement

The Dental Implant Surgical Procedure

The procedure to place a dental implant takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes for one implant and about 2 hours for multiple implants. The number of appointments and time required varies from patient to patient. The surgeon brings great precision and attention to the details of your case.

Prior to surgery, you may receive antibiotics.  For greater comfort, intravenous anesthesia or nitrous oxide (laughing gas) may be used. These options are discussed with you at your consultation appointment. A local anesthetic will be administered to numb the area where the dental implant will be placed.

Once you are comfortable, the surgeon makes a small incision in the gum tissue to reveal the bone.  The surgeon then creates space using special instruments, and gently inserts the titanium implant. The top of this implant is often visible through the gum. Sometimes it is better in the early stages of healing to have the implant covered by the gum tissue.

A depiction of the upper jaw with all normal teeth
1. Normal
An example of the upper jaw missing a tooth with the jaw bone unhealed
2. Tooth Loss
A representation of a healed upper jaw bone after losing a tooth
3. Healed Bone
A digital representation of the initial dental implant placed in the jaw bone
4. Implant Placed
A representation of the healed jaw bone after placement of the dental implant
5. Healing
An example of a fully restored tooth using a dental implant
6. Implant Restored

Healing after Dental Implant Surgery

The length of healing time varies from person to person, depending upon the quality and quantity of bone.  The surgeon will advise you on your follow-up care and timing.  Follow-up care is necessary to ensure that your mouth is healing well and to determine when you are ready for the restorative phase of your treatment.  After the healing phase, the surgeon places an abutment (support post) to allow gum tissue to mature and provide access to the implant.  Your restorative dentist will complete the restoration by fitting the replacement crown to the dental implant.  

When are dental implants placed?

Implants are typically placed several months after extraction. Sometimes an implant may be placed immediately after the extraction of a tooth.  If your tooth has been missing for some time, the adjacent support bone is likely to decrease and become thinner. This occurs because the root of the natural tooth has to be present in order to stimulate the bone. If you are missing enough bone, you may benefit from having additional bone grafted into the area. This ensures the implant will be adequately supported when it is placed in the jaw.

How many implants do I need?

Most of the time one implant per missing tooth is placed. Because many of the larger teeth in the back of your jaws have two or three roots, the most common approach is to replace missing back teeth with larger implants.