Dental implant surgery replaces the root of a missing tooth with a metal post that is placed in the jawbone. An artificial tooth can be placed on an implant after the area has healed. Or, a set of dentures can be attached using more than one implant.
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This surgery is done to replace a missing tooth or teeth. Implants can improve problems chewing. They may also be done for cosmetic reasons.
Implants can also be used to replace dentures or to help hold in existing dentures.
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
You may be given:
Some people may need bone grafting done before dental implant surgery. It can strengthen a weak jawbone and help support the implant.
At the first surgery, the gum will be cut open to expose the jawbone. A hole will be drilled. The metal implant will be placed deep in the jawbone. The gum tissue will be closed over the implant. It will take 3 to 6 months for the implant to fuse with the jawbone.
A second surgery may be needed to place an abutment if one was not placed with the implant. This is the part that will attach to the crown. The implant will be uncovered. An abutment will be attached to the implant. The gum tissue will be closed around the abutment. A temporary crown may be put in place. The area will need to heal for about 2 to 3 weeks.
At the third visit, the crown or dentures will be attached to the abutment post.
Surgery will take 1 to 2 hours. The entire process will take 3 to 6 months.
Pain, bruising, and swelling are common in the first 10 days. Medicine and home care can help.
Right after the procedure, the staff may:
You will need to avoid habits that can damage your teeth, such as chewing ice, biting your fingernails, and grinding your teeth. It will take a 1 to 2 weeks to heal.
Call the dentist if you are not getting better or you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association
Canadian Academy for Esthetic Dentistry
Canadian Dental Association
Dental implant surgery. American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons website. Available at: https://myoms.org/procedures/dental-implant-surgery. Accessed August 18, 2020.
Dental implants. American Academy of Periodontology website. Available at: https://www.perio.org/consumer/dental-implants. Accessed August 18, 2020.
Oral healthcare in persons with diabetes. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/oral-healthcare-in-persons-with-diabetes. Accessed August 18, 2020.
Types of implants and techniques. American Academy of Implant Dentistry website. Available at: https://www.aaid-implant.org/dental-implant-options. Accessed August 18, 2020.
Last reviewed March 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 8/19/2020