The actual process of placing the implant into the jaw involves one or two small surgical procedures. These procedures are usually performed in the office with local anesthesia. The first procedure involves creating a precise space in the jawbone into which the implant is firmly threaded. In our office we use the CT scanner to produce a special surgical guide that is used to place the implant very precisely. The implant then remains undisturbed for a period of two to six months. During this initial healing phase the surrounding bone heals against the jawbone. This healing process is termed osseointegration, which literally means bone connection.
The implant typically has a protective cover on it during this phase and the patient is only mildly aware of its presence. You can often wear your existing denture, a temporary crown or a bridge over the area while the healing takes place. Once the implant is firmly attached to the bone, the tooth or denture can be made on the implant(s). In some cases, an implant can even be placed immediately into a tooth extraction site. The tooth site must be free from active infection and sufficient bone must be present to allow for initial stabilization of the implant. In most cases, however, the extraction socket needs to heal between four to six months before implants can be placed.
Dr Barasz will discuss the specific sequencing of treatment in your case if you are a candidate. For those individuals who are very anxious or in situations where a lengthy procedure is anticipated, sedation is available.
For more information, you may wish to review our educational videos.