Overview of Implant Placement
The Surgical Procedure
The procedure to place an implant varies from patient to patient. Dr. Culberson will bring experience, precision, attention and state-of-the-art technology to the details of your case.
Prior to surgery, treatment options are discussed with you at your consultation appointment.
At the time of the surgical implant placement, a local anesthetic will be administered to numb the area where the implant will be placed. Some patients prefer the adjunctive use of sedation therapy.
When you are comfortable, Dr. Culberson makes a small incision in the gum tissue to reveal the underlying bone. He then gently and carefully creates a pilot hole in the supporting bone using special instruments, then gently inserts the titanium implant. The top of the implant is open for the insertion of the abutment. This opening is covered immediately after insertion of the implant with a covering screw or healing cap.
2. Tooth Loss
3. Healed Bone
4. Implant Placed
The Healing Phase
Now the healing begins. The length of time varies from individual patients, implant location, the quality and quantity of bone, etc.. In some cases, implants may be restored immediately after they are placed. Dr. Culberson will advise you on follow-up care and timing. After the initial phase of healing, if not placed at the time of implant placement, Dr. Culberson will place an abutment (crown connection) or a healing cap onto the implant during a brief follow-up visit. This allows gum tissue to mature and provides access to the implant.
Occasionally, impressions are made at the time the implant is placed. This enables the crown to be ready when the implants have healed. How long your mouth needs to heal is determined by a variety of factors. Follow-up care is usually needed to ensure that your mouth is healing well and to determine when you are ready for the restorative phase of your treatment.
In some cases, Dr. Culberson may deem it beneficial to perform a soft tissue graft to obtain stronger, more easily cleaned and natural appearing gum tissue in the area around the implant. This process involves moving a small amount of gum tissue from one part of your mouth to the area around the implant.
Whether it’s one tooth or all of your teeth that are being replaced, your family dentist will complete the restoration by fitting the replacement tooth (crown) to the dental implant.
When Are Dental Implants Placed?
Implants are often placed several months after extraction. At times, an implant may be placed immediately after extraction of a tooth. This may involve a little more risk, but it simplifies the process—you won’t have to wait for another appointment to place the implant. When infection or other problems with the bone are present, immediate implant placement is not the best treatment.
If your tooth has been missing for some time, the adjacent support bone is likely to grow thinner and shrink. This occurs because the root of the natural tooth has to be present to stimulate the bone. As much as one half of the supporting jaw bone volume can be lost in the socket area during the first year following tooth extraction. If you are missing enough bone, you may benefit from having additional bone regenerated into the area. This ensures the implant will be adequately supported when it is placed in the jaw.
How Many Implants Do I Need?
Many factors are considered in determining the number of implants required to replace missing teeth. Some of these include:
- Number and location of missing teeth
- Nature of opposing dentition
- Quantity and quality of bone
- Nature of anticipated prosthesis.