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Definition

Dental implant surgery replaces the root of a missing tooth with a metal post that is placed in the jawbone. An artificial tooth can be placed on an implant after the area has healed. Or, a set of dentures can be attached using more than one implant.

Dental Implant
Dental Implant
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Reasons for Procedure

This surgery is done to replace a missing tooth or teeth. Implants can improve problems chewing. They may also be done for cosmetic reasons.

Implants can also be used to replace dentures or to help hold in existing dentures.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Injury or damage to nearby teeth
  • Nerve damage
  • Sinus problems if the implants were placed in the upper jaw
  • Implant rejection by the body

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
  • Whether you have any heart conditions
  • Any artificial joints you may have
  • Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Arranging for a ride to and from surgery
  • Tests that will need to be done before surgery, such as dental X-rays and models of the models

Anesthesia

You may be given:

  • Local anesthesia—a small area of the mouth will be numbed
  • General anesthesia —you will be asleep

Description of Procedure

Some people may need bone grafting done before dental implant surgery. It can strengthen a weak jawbone and help support the implant.

At the first surgery, the gum will be cut open to expose the jawbone. A hole will be drilled. The metal implant will be placed deep in the jawbone. The gum tissue will be closed over the implant. It will take 3 to 6 months for the implant to fuse with the jawbone.

A second surgery may be needed to place an abutment if one was not placed with the implant. This is the part that will attach to the crown. The implant will be uncovered. An abutment will be attached to the implant. The gum tissue will be closed around the abutment. A temporary crown may be put in place. The area will need to heal for about 2 to 3 weeks.

At the third visit, the crown or dentures will be attached to the abutment post.

How Long Will It Take?

Surgery will take 1 to 2 hours. The entire process will take 3 to 6 months.

Will It Hurt?

Pain, bruising, and swelling are common in the first 10 days. Medicine and home care can help.

Post-procedure Care

At the Care Center

Right after the procedure, the staff may:

  • Give you pain medicine
  • Teach you how to care for the implant
At Home

You will need to avoid habits that can damage your teeth, such as chewing ice, biting your fingernails, and grinding your teeth. It will take a 1 to 2 weeks to heal.

Call Your Dentist

Call the dentist if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the implant site
  • Pain that you cannot control with medicine
  • New or unexpected symptoms

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

RESOURCES

American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry  https://www.aacd.com 

Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association  https://www.mouthhealthy.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Academy for Esthetic Dentistry  http://www.caed.ca 

Canadian Dental Association  http://www.cda-adc.ca 

References

Dental implant surgery. American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons website. Available at: https://myoms.org/procedures/dental-implant-surgery. Accessed August 18, 2020.

Dental implants. American Academy of Periodontology website. Available at: https://www.perio.org/consumer/dental-implants. Accessed August 18, 2020.

Oral healthcare in persons with diabetes. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:  https://www.dynamed.com/management/oral-healthcare-in-persons-with-diabetes . Accessed August 18, 2020.

Types of implants and techniques. American Academy of Implant Dentistry website. Available at: https://www.aaid-implant.org/dental-implant-options. Accessed August 18, 2020.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD
  • Review Date: 03/2020
  • Update Date: 08/19/2020