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 or a temporary bridge can be made. If all of your teeth are missing, your dentist can usually modify your present complete denture or make you a new temporary denture. If you would prefer non-removable teeth during the healing phase, temporary transitional implants can sometimes be placed along with the permanent implants, and temporary teeth may be made and inserted the same day. 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 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 your lower jaw, which provides feeling 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, rarely 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.
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.
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. 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 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 your dentist to produce a replica of your mouth and implants. With this information, your dentist or a dental lab can make the abutments (support posts) that attach your replacement teeth to your implants. Various types of abutments exist. Frequently, we can use “off the shelf” abutments. Other times, custom abutments must be made of metal 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.
In general, once your implants are placed, you can expect your final restoration to be completed anywhere from 3 to 6 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 an estimate from your dentist’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.
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 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 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.