What Can Be Used For Teeth While The Implants Heal?

Many options are available and they are tailored to each patient’s specific requirements. If a replacement tooth is needed while the implants are healing, temporary removable teeth or a temporary bridge can be made. If all teeth are missing, a patient’s complete denture can be modified or a new temporary denture. If non-removable teeth is preferred during the healing phase, temporary transitional implants can usually be placed along with the permanent implants, and temporary teeth may be made and inserted the same day. Depending on each patient case 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.

A middle-aged man and woman smiling with good teeth

What Are The Potential Problems?

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 may be prescribed for patients to make their 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 the lower jaw, which provides sensation to the lower lip and chin, may be affected. If quite a lot of bone is missing, it might be difficult to place an implant without infringing on the nerve space. Although great care is taken to avoid this nerve, occasionally it is irritated during the procedure, resulting in tingling, numbness, or a complete lack of sensation in the lip, chin, or tongue. Usually these altered sensations will resolve with time, but they can be permanent and/or painful. If patients notify us of post-operative numbness as soon as possible, it will allow us to manage their 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 of 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 the dental implants either doesn’t heal properly or loosens after a period of time, it may need to be removed. After the site heals, or on occasion at the time of removal, another implant may be placed.

When Are The Replacement Teeth Attached To The Implant?

A visual representation of the different parts of an implantThe replacement teeth are usually attached to the implant when adequate healing has occurred and the jaw bone is firmly fused to the implant. Depending on a variety of factors, it may be possible to begin this phase of the treatment immediately or shortly after implant placement. We will review the most appropriate treatment sequence and timing for each patient case.

The dental work required to complete  treatment is complex. It is a team effort that involves the oral surgeon, the patient’s restorative dentist, and the dental laboratory. Most of the work involves actually making the new teeth before they are placed. Appointments are considered more comfortable and more pleasant than previous methods of tooth replacement. Frequently, this process can be performed without local anesthesia.

Restorative treatment begins with specialized impressions that allow us to produce a replica of the patient’s mouth and implants. The patient’s general dentist will make “bite” records so that  the relationship of the upper and lower jaws can be seen. With this information, the dental lab will make the support posts, called abutments, that attach the replacement teeth to the implants. Various types of abutments exist. Sometimes, we can use “off the shelf” abutments. Other times, custom abutments must be made of metal or a tooth-colored ceramic material. Which abutment to use is determined after healing is complete and impressions have been made.

The number of appointments and the amount of time required for each appointment is different for each patient. No two cases are exactly the same.  The work must be completed with great precision and attention to detail. If only a few teeth are being replaced, as few as three short appointments may be required. Between appointments, time is needed to complete the necessary lab work to make the patient’s replacement teeth. It is most beneficial that patients keep all of their scheduled appointments.

If a patient’s final restoration is a removable denture, a patient will need to have as many as five office appointments over several months. During these appointments, a series of impressions, bites, and adjustments will be done in order to make a patient’s new teeth, as well as the custom support bars, snaps, magnets, or clips that will secure their teeth to the implants. During this period, every effort will be made to ensure patients have comfortable, temporary replacement teeth.

In general, once implants are placed, patients can expect their tooth replacement treatment to be completed several months later.

A couple with great smiles

Dental Implants

are the most technologically advanced and longest lasting tooth replacement option available. Restore your confidence… Smile, Eat and Enjoy!

How Are These New Teeth Cleaned?

As with natural teeth, it is important to clean implant-supported restorations regularly with toothbrushes, floss and any other recommended aids. Patients should also visit their dentist several times each year for hygiene and maintenance. As with regular dentures and other tooth replacements, implants and their associated components are subject to wear and tear and may eventually need repair, including clip replacement, relines, screw tightening, and other adjustments.

Will One Doctor Do Everything?

One of the doctors at Face and Jaw Surgery Center places the implant(s) and performs other necessary surgical procedures – the patient’s general dentist provides the temporary and permanent replacement teeth. Both doctors are involved in planning the patient’s dental treatment. Also, depending upon a variety of factors, different dental specialists may help with the patient’s dental care.

How Much Does All Of This Cost?

Calculator with an invoice in the backgroundBefore treatment begins, every effort will be made to give each patient an accurate estimate of all the expenses involved in placing the implants and making their replacement teeth. In many cases, there is an initial charge for the diagnostic work-up, study models, x-rays, and the fabrication of a surgical template to ensure the best possible result. Additionally, patients  will be charged for the abutment(s),  the crown, dentures, and anything else that will be placed over the implants, including temporary restorations. Periodic maintenance such as hygiene visits, tissue conditioners, denture relines, and other repairs will also incur additional charges.

When different doctors are involved in a patient’s treatment, patients will be charged separately for their services. We will try to assist patients in estimating what their actual payments will be after we evaluate their insurance coverage or other third party payments. Also, patients should consider their personal financial investment in each treatment option as some insurance companies provide limited or no coverage.

Each patient is unique, and it is not possible for us to discuss every option and every contingency for treatment outcome. This page is intended to help patients understand the general treatment options available to them. If  specific treatment options are not clear, please contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions.