Overview of Implant Placement

The Surgical Procedure

The procedure to place a dental implant usually takes 30 to 60 minutes for one implant and can take up to 2 to 3 hours for multiple implants. The number of appointments and time required vary from patient to patient. The surgeon will bring great precision and attention to the details of your case.

Most implants are placed with local anesthesia (numbing), however, intravenous sedation or nitrous oxide (laughing gas) are available. These options are discussed with you at your consultation appointment. 

When you are comfortable, the surgeon makes a small incision in the gum tissue to reveal the bone, creates space using special instruments, and gently inserts the titanium implant. The top of this implant is often visible through the gum. Sometimes it is better in the early stages of healing to have the implant covered by the gum tissue.

A depiction of the upper jaw with all normal teeth
1. Normal
An example of the upper jaw missing a tooth with the jaw bone unhealed
2. Tooth Loss
A representation of a healed upper jaw bone after loosing a tooth
3. Healed Bone
A representation of the healed jaw bone after placement of the dental implant
4. Implant Placed
A representation of the healed jaw bone after placement of the dental implant
5. Healing
An example of a fully restored tooth using a dental implant
6. Implant Restored

Healing after Dental Implant Surgery

The length of healing time prior to final tooth (crown) placement varies from person to person, depending upon the quality and quantity of bone. In some cases, implants may be restored immediately after they are placed.  In other cases the area may need to mature for up to 3 months prior to restoration.  The surgeon will advise you on follow-up care and timing. 

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 (typically 2 appointments) 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.

It may be 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. Most often, it is a brief and relatively comfortable procedure.

Whether it’s one tooth or all of your teeth that are being replaced, your 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 the same day as extraction of a tooth.  When infection or other problems with the bone are present, immediate implant placement is not the best treatment.  Our goal is to get you the best, most predictable outcome in the least number of appointments, without compromising long-term success.

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 third of your jaw’s thickness can be lost in the year following tooth extraction. If you are missing enough bone, you may benefit from having additional bone grafted into the area. This ensures the implant will be adequately supported when it is placed in the jaw.

How many implants do I need?

Most frequently, one implant per missing tooth is placed, however, multiple implants can ofter support a larger number of overlying teeth.  Options, as well as risks and benefits, will be discussed at your consultation appointment. Because many of the larger teeth in the back of your jaws have two or three roots, the most common approach is to replace missing back teeth with larger implants.



Surgery Performed at Periodontal Associates of Eastern Iowa