Friday, July 18, 2014

Implants: Procedural Overview

Compared to a routine dental filling or crown (cap), replacement of a missing tooth or teeth with implants is a more complicated and lengthy process. It will take several phases. A periodontist or an oral surgeon will place the implant surgically. Then we will place the tooth or visible portion.

Phase One
The specialist evaluates the position, suitability, and strength of the bone that will surround the implant. This information determines the length and width of the implants and how many implants will be necessary to replace the missing teeth. Impressions of all your teeth will be taken for study models in order to design the shape of the tooth or teeth to be implanted. A surgical guide will be made to indicate to the surgeon where the implants should be placed.  

Phase Two
Surgical procedure is done to place the implant in the bone. A local anesthetic is given, and the gum tissue is lifted to expose the implant site. The implant is placed into the bone and the gum is closed over it. You will not see the implant while integration with the bone takes place. The integration takes 4 to 6 months. After this time, the site is opened again and a healing collar will be threaded into the implant. This will guide the tissue into a shape that is needed for the future crown(s). The time that the healing collar needs to be in place will vary from person to person, but will be at least several weeks.

Phase Three
Once the tissue shape is sufficient, specific attachments and components will be fitted to the implant. The implant components are similar in function to the wall or plaster anchors used to hang pictures on drywall. The healing collar is removed. Implants transfer copings, analogs, and other items are used to take an impression of the site. The healing collar is then put back on. The impressions and implant components are sent to the laboratory for fabrication of implant posts and temporary acrylic crowns.

When the temporary crown or bridge is returned from the laboratory, the healing collar is removed and the implant attachments are fasted to the implant. The temporary crowns are then seated and adjusted. They will be held in place by temporary cement or with screws, depending on your certain situation. We will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each in your particular case at the time you decide to have the implant

Temporary crowns are placed because the bone that supports and surrounds the implant must be given the opportunity to be put into function gradually. Implant techniques dictate that the implants be slowly brought into biting function. This means you will be returning several times to have more acrylic added to the temporary crown. After the implant and temporary crown have been in biting function for a few months, the final crown(s) will be fabricated and cemented or screwed into place.

Maintaining All Your Teeth
To keep your implants and your natural teeth healthy and functional for the longest time possible, clean the implant and your other teeth daily, as instructed. You will also need to come in for dental hygiene recare appointments at a 3- to 4-month interval. You have invested time and money in these state-of-the-art tooth replacements. Maintaining them as instructed will give you the best chance of success.

We feel that the benefits of replacing teeth with implant-supported crowns and bridges far outweigh the inconvenience of the long start to finish time. This is especially true when the teeth on either side of the implant are sound, unfilled teeth that would not otherwise require dental treatment. Implants help you preserve your nature tooth structure.

If you have any questions about dental implants, please feel free to ask us.


  1. Wonderful blog post on denture implants. Loved the way you have described the whole implant procedure. This could be easily understood by anyone who is not even in the medical field.

    1. Thank you very much!! We are happy that you found it useful!

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