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During Surgery

How are dental implants placed?

Your dentist will discuss the entire dental implant procedure in detail before beginning so you know exactly what to expect at every stage. The below is an outline of what the process usually entails:

  • Consultation/Assessment – your dentist will take an x-ray scan of your mouth and impressions to determine the suitability of dental implant treatment. This information will also be used to plan your treatment in significant detail. This plan will be shared with you and discussed at length. You will be able to ask questions – only when you are completely comfortable with everything and have decided to proceed, will you move onto the next step.
  • Placement – on the day of dental implant placement, your dentist will numb the area of your mouth to ensure you feel virtually nothing during the procedure. The dental implant(s) will be placed in the pre-determined position(s). In some cases, a false tooth (crown) will be fixed on top. In others, a small cap (healing abutment) will be placed to protect the implant while the gums heal. 
  • Healing – the jawbone and gums will take a few months to heal completely, although any discomfort experienced immediately after surgery usually only lasts a few days. Your dentist will provide information and advice on how to encourage healing, including how to keep the site clean.
  • Restoration – once everything has healed, the final restoration will be fitted to the dental implant. In many cases, you will have had an opportunity to trial the new false tooth/teeth before the final restoration is fitted to ensure everything looks and feels right.
  • Maintenance – your dentist and/or dental hygienist will help you look after your dental implant(s) in the years ahead. It is crucial that you maintain excellent oral hygiene in order to keep the implant functioning as well and for as long as it can. This may involve using a specially designed brush to remove food debris and bacteria from around the restoration. It is also important to continue attending dental check-ups so your professional team can make sure your dental implant remains healthy over time.


How long does the surgery take?

The treatment time will vary significantly depending on the complexity of your procedure. In some situations, the dental implant can be placed and restored in one day. In others, a second surgery may be required to restore the implant. Your dentist will be able to advise what it best for you and how long it may take.


What are the possible complications and how do I identify them?

As with all surgical procedures, there are risks to be aware of when considering dental implants. The most common problem is infection (peri-implantitis) that can affect the gums and jawbone, but it is also possible for the dental implant to not fuse with the jawbone properly. Your dentist will plan treatment to minimise the risks. It is also important that you look after your dental implant(s) with good oral hygiene. If you experience any of the following, it is vital to contact your dentist as quickly as possible as these might indicate a problem:

  • Severe discomfort after the initial healing phase
  • Movement of the dental implant or attached crown
  • Bleeding gums around the dental implant
  • Gums pulling away from the crown or implant and creating a pocket