Bellflower after Implant Placement

What do I use for teeth during the healing phase?

There will be a healing phase where a gap is in your teeth. This occurs after the implant has been installed but before the crown is attached. Fortunately, we offer many options to cover the gap and ensure you maintain normal tooth function. If you wish, we can manufacture temporary removable teeth or craft a temporary bridge. For patients who are missing all of their teeth and require dentures, it is possible to modify current dentures or make temporary ones for regular eating and chewing. Some patients prefer non-removable teeth while healing, so we can place temporary implants before transitioning to permanent ones. The speed of your operation will depend on your age and how fast you heal.


What are the potential complications of dental implant surgery?

Any surgery can be uncomfortable, and many of our patients come in worrying about potential post-operative pain. Fortunately, many patients do not report severe or significant pain following orthognathic surgery, making it a popular choice in modern dentistry. To cover all possibilities, we still prescribe antibiotics and pain medication to assist your recovery and ensure you are comfortable. Sometimes, patients may develop postoperative infections while healing. When this happens, we assess the infection and may prescribe additional antibiotics.

During surgery, we take great care to place the implant properly. Sometimes adjacent teeth may be damaged because implants must be attached to the jawbone, which can result in infringing on existing nerves that provide sensation to the chin and lower lip. This is most common with patients who have been missing teeth for significant periods of time and have experienced bone loss in the jaw. Here at Bellflower, we specifically avoid the nerve during surgery, although numbness and irritation are still common side effects. If you experience any post-operative numbness that fails to subside following your procedure, notify us immediately so we can address the issue. This can prevent permanent numbness or sensation loss in the lower jaw.


How long do dental implants last?

Dental implants are meant to be durable and long lasting since humans need their teeth to function properly. Studies have followed numerous dental implant recipients and found that they can keep their implants for up to thirty years after surgery. When patients were missing all of their teeth before the surgery, the studies discovered that the implants remained in place in 80-90% of cases. When patients needed more than one implant, the success rate was 95%. This meets and exceeds the success rates of hip and knee replacements, giving you an idea of just how effective dental implants can be. Sometimes dental implants don’t heal properly and become loose over time. When this happens, the implant can be removed, adjusted, and then replaced after an adequate healing period.


How long does it take between placement of the implant and replacement teeth?

You need to heal before replacement teeth can be attached. This healing phase includes the time necessary for your jaw bone to fuse to the dental implant. With some of our patients, replacement teeth can be installed right after the implant placement. However, this is rare and most patients will take several months to heal. We will assess your unique situation during the planning phase leading up the procedure, and can then determine the appropriate timing for future dental implant placement.

After implants have been installed, the replacement teeth can be manufactured. This requires several visits which will be as comfortable and pleasant as possible for the patient. These procedures often don’t require local anesthesia, although it is available.

The restorative phase begins by taking specialized dental impressions so our professionals can create a replica of your jaws and oral structure. Here at Bellflower, we also take bite records so we can check for improper jaw alignment. Using these records, we manufacture support posts that need to attach the replacement teeth to the implants. These support posts are called abutments, and they come in a broad range of types and materials.

Often, when picking abutments, we choose from a default selection of available materials that come in standardized sizes. Depending on your situation, we might need to create custom supports out of gold or ceramic colored material for your teeth. These are more expensive and can add to your treatment time, but might be essential. However, we only make decisions about abutments after you finish the healing process and we have made dental impressions.

Each patient requires a different schedule, number of appointments, and how much time needs to be spent at each appointment. Patients who are replacing only a few teeth can complete the implant procedure in three short meetings, while other individuals might take longer. Between appointments, we will complete your lab work and manufacture your replacement teeth with care and precision. We highly recommend that you keep all of your scheduled appointments to avoid delays in treatment.

Patients whose final restoration is intended to be a removable denture will typically require five or fewer office appointments that need to be spread out over several months for the most effect. These appointments allow us to take multiple impressions and bites to make adjustments to your implants and check the health of your jaws. Since dentures require a precise array of support systems, we must measure and manufacture everything. During this transitional period, we will ensure your temporary replacement teeth are as comfortable as possible.

The length of time between the implant surgery and tooth replacement varies, and it can take 1-12 months depending on your unique situation. Because of the variation in the time of the procedure, it can be difficult for us to estimate the cost in advance. We will still try to provide reasonable estimates for you.


How should I clean my replacement teeth?

To clean your replacement teeth, you should use the same oral hygiene procedure that you would use with natural teeth. This means daily brushing and flossing at least two times a day. Your dentist may recommend other cleaning aids or procedures to supplement your daily routine. Schedule cleaning appointments with your dentist several times each year. Much like dentures, dental implants and their associated components will experience wear and tear, and you might need repairs. These can be procedures like relines, screw tightening, and clip replacement.


How many doctors are involved in my dental implant surgery?

Dental implant surgery typically requires two doctors: an oral or maxillofacial surgeon who performs implant installation and a general dentist who takes impressions and manufactures your replacement teeth. These two doctors work closely while developing your treatment plan and make request the assistance of other dental specialists.


What is the cost of dental implant surgery?

We will make every effort to provide an accurate estimate of your expenses before beginning your treatment. The list of possible expenses can include:

  • A charge for the initial diagnostics, which includes x-rays, study models, and the manufacturing of a surgical template that models your mouth in preparation for surgery.
  • The cost of manufacturing components, including the implants, abutments and crown. Special cases may also involve dentures, temporary replacement teeth, and anything else that is placed over the implants.
  • Periodic maintenance, including tissue conditioners, denture relines, and any repairs that are necessary, in addition to normal hygiene visits.

All of the doctors involved in your treatment will need to charge separately for services. After we evaluate your insurance plan and take into account additional third party payments, we will provide an estimate of your projected total. Some insurance companies may not cover dental implants, so consider your level of financial investment in each treatment option.

Since each patient has individual needs, there are numerous treatment options available that have their own unique schedules. This page covers general treatment options. Contact us to discuss specific treatment options in more detail and so we can answer any questions you may have about the possible benefits of dental implant treatment.

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