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Patients often wonder what to expect with dental implants. A successful implant requires teamwork from all involved – the patient, the general dentist who makes the abutment and crown for the implant, the dental laboratory who fabricates the abutment and restoration, and the oral and maxillofacial surgeon who surgically places the implant. Each member of the team follows a careful plan of treatment and maintains clear communication so that the final result meets the patient’s expectations
Following an evaluation that includes a comprehensive examination, radiographs and a consultation with the patient and members of the implant team, the surgeon places the implant under the gums in the jaw.
Usually, this is a relatively painless procedure. Often, the surgeon can remove the tooth needing replacement and place the dental implant at the same surgical appointment.
Patients are surprised to learn that this procedure is often performed in about one hour, and requires only local anesthesia so the patient is awake. You are able to drive to and from your surgical appointment. If you are nervous about the surgery, you may decide to have your surgeon put you to sleep for the surgery by administering a general anesthetic
As a result of their extensive training, every oral and maxillofacial surgeon is well prepared to appropriately administer local anesthesia, all forms of sedation and general anesthesia. They are experienced in airway management, endotracheal intubation, establishing and maintaining intravenous lines, and managing complications and emergencies that may arise during the administration of anesthesia. Before your surgery, your surgeon will review the type of anesthetic to be used, as well as the way you’re likely to feel during and after the operation.
The recovery period is surprisingly short too. Although patients often report they can work from home the day after having a dental implant, it is recommended you take the day off work to relax and heal. During the three months of time required for your dental implant to fuse to the bone, except for not being able to chew on the implant site, you can return to a normal active lifestyle, travel, and workout routine.
If your implant is properly fused to the bone, you will be referred to the dentist after three months. Your surgeon will test your implant to ensure healing is complete and release you back to your dentist to design and fabricate the dental restoration.
The general dentist obtains an impression of the upper and lower jaws. This impression is used to make the model from which the dentures or crowns are completed. If your dentist decides to use a digital impression, impression materials and dental trays are not needed. At your surgical release appointment, your surgeon will obtain an intraoral scan of your teeth and gums. This digital impression saves time, is more accurate and allows the dentist to design and manufacture your abutment and crown in advance of your appointment. You only need to visit your dentist one time to receive your new crown.
Throughout the course of your treatment, the dentist and surgeon together with the dental laboratory work as a team to provide an optimal, long-term solution to your dental needs. Your dentist and surgeon will provide you with a treatment plan that outlines the benefits and costs, and inform you of the risks and alternatives to the proposed treatment.
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