The surgery to place an implant is not very much different from the surgery to remove an impacted wisdom tooth. It will take about the same amount of time, effort and noise, and you will experience about the same amount of post operative discomfort and swelling.
Before the surgery begins, there will be some things to take care of.
- If you, like many others, are taking daily medications for specific medical conditions, you may be asked to alter the amount of some of the medications that you take prior to the surgery. This is especially important for medications like "blood thinners." Please consult with your physician if this is advised.
- There is scientific evidence to show that taking both an antibiotic, like amoxicillin, and a large dose of Tylenol prior to the surgery will greatly enhance the success of the implant as well as reduce post operative pain. Your surgeon will provide prescriptions for you to pick up before your appointment. Be sure to bring them with you.
- The implant placement surgery does not require the use of either sedation or general anesthesia; however, many patients have found that intra-venous sedation greatly reduces anxiety and helps them recover more quickly. Discuss this possibility with your dentist.
Now we are ready to begin. Most of the steps you will experience are already familiar to you, but let’s visualize a typical implant placement procedure.
- First, you will be given a cup of anti-bacterial mouthwash to rinse in your mouth. This will reduce the number of bacteria that are naturally found in your mouth.
- Then, the area of the mouth receiving the implant must be anesthetized. This is the usual local anesthetic that you have had for a “filling” or an extraction.
- While your mouth gets numb, the implant team will go to great lengths to cover and drape both you and themselves. Implant placement requires a level of decontamination that is similar to that found in a hospital surgical room.
- The surgeon will test the implant site to make sure that you are numb, and then make an incision in the gums. The gum tissue is gently teased away to uncover the bone where the implant will be placed.
- A custom template, which was provided by your dentist, will be used to indicate to the surgeon the position and angulation for the implant. Then, a small drill is used to make the initial hole in your jaw bone for the implant.
- A guide pin is placed in the hole and compared with the surgeon's guide to verify the correct position and angle.
- Then the hole is gradually and slowly enlarged by using drills of increasing size. Lots of water will be used to keep the site clean and cool. This part of the procedure is quite noisy, and you will feel some pressure.
- The surgeon confirms the position and angle of the hole one last time, the implant is screwed into the bone, and then a protective cover screw is placed on the top of the implant.
- All that remains is to carefully bring the gum tissue back up to cover both the bone and the implant. Sutures will hold everything in place.
Now it is up to you to take good care of yourself.
- You may have had sedation, so you will need someone to drive you home.
- You will probably have some discomfort, so you will want to continue taking your pain medication as prescribed.
- To keep swelling and discoloration to a minimum, you will want to apply ice to your jaw for the next several hours.
- Of course, it would be sensible to eat a soft diet for the next two days.
- Plan to rest for the next 24 hours. Not only do you deserve it; but, too much activity too soon will make swelling and discomfort worse.
- Follow up appointments will be made, as required, to monitor the healing process
Several months after the placement surgery, you should make arrangements with the surgeon to schedule the uncovering of your implant. As surgeries go, this is a short procedure, done with local anesthetic, only. An incision is made through the gum tissue over the top of the implant and the surgeon places a healing abutment.
Now you are ready to have your dentist finish your treatment plan.