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What is an implant?

Dental implants are artificial teeth (usually made of titanium) that are surgically placed into the jaw bone to replace missing teeth.

Most implants have two parts. The first part is a titanium post inserted into the jawbone that will integrate with the bone over time. This process allows the post to function like a tooth’s root. The second part of an implant consists of a custom dental crown, which is attached to the post. The crown fills in space and acts very similarly to the original missing tooth.

Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?

The best way is to schedule an appointment for an exam and a 3D CT scan (Cone Beam Computed Tomography) this will give the doctor the ability to produce three dimensional (3-D) images of your teeth, soft tissues, nerve pathways and bone in a single scan. This is a process that will assist in the treatment planning of your implant overdenture. From your initial exam and 3D CT scan, the Dental Hearts team will give you the best options to improve your overall oral health and quality of life. The doctor will discuss the entire process and what to expect.


What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?

  • Dental Implants perform a function similar to a tooth root and are stable because they are anchored in the jaw.

  • Dental Implants will improve bone and facial features and prevent dentists from having to cut down healthy teeth for conventional bridgework.

  • They preserve the jaw bone and prevent bone resorption which causes the facial structure to shrink.

  • Implants have high success rates and in most cases will last as long as comparable teeth replacement options.

  • Implants look natural and help to give a patient the ability to eat, smile, and engage in activities that they may have neglected over the years.

Pre-Operative Instructions for Implant Surgery

  • If you have any questions regarding your surgery after reading the following instructions, please do not hesitate to contact Dental Hearts.

  • At your surgery appointment, we will be reviewing the “Medical History Form” you submitted. Ensure you are familiar with that information, including the name of any prescriptions, the dosage you are utilizing, and why it has been prescribed.

  • Ensure you arrive for your appointment on time.  

  • Smoking in the weeks prior to surgery greatly increases your chances of a failed implant surgery. If you smoke it is best to refrain or limit as much as possible for at least 1 week prior to surgery.

The Surgical Procedure

Most implants require two separate surgical procedures. If possible, the doctor will place the implants in a “one-stage” surgery, which will not require a second stage surgery. If this is not a clinical option, there will be a second surgery to uncover the implants.  At the first appointment, the implant is placed into the jawbone. The implant then heals for 3-6 months following the surgery. The second surgery is usually easier and has a faster recovery.  It entails uncovering the implant from the tissue and placing a small post that will protrude through the gums until the crown is completed. At the time of implant placement, the doctor will need to numb your jawbone and gums that surround the area with an anesthetic. During the implant process, you will feel pressure and vibration, but not pain.

Post-Operative Instructions for Implant Surgery

  • Please ensure you take the time to review the post-operative instructions below. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Dental Hearts.

  • Sometimes the after-effects of oral surgery are quite minimal, so not all the instructions may apply. Common sense will often dictate what you should do. However, when in doubt follow these guidelines or call our office for clarification.

  • FIRST HOUR: Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze packs that have been placed over the surgical areas, making sure that they remain in place. Do not change them for the first hour unless the bleeding is not controlled. The packs may be gently removed after one hour. If active bleeding persists, place enough new gauze to obtain pressure over the surgical site for another 30 minutes. The gauze may then be changed as necessary (typically every 30 to 45 minutes). It is best to moisten the gauze with tap water and loosely fluff for more comfortable positioning.

  • EXERCISE CARE: Do not disturb the surgical area today. Do NOT rinse vigorously or probe the area with any objects. You may brush your teeth gently. PLEASE DO NOT SMOKE for least 48 hours, since this is detrimental to healing and may cause a dry socket (infection).

  • OOZING: Intermittent bleeding or oozing overnight is normal. Bleeding may be controlled by placing fresh gauze over the areas and biting on the gauze for 30-45 minutes at a time.

  • PERSISTENT BLEEDING: Bleeding should never be severe. If so, it usually means that the packs are being clenched between teeth only and are not exerting pressure on the surgical areas. Try repositioning the packs. If bleeding persists or becomes heavy, you may substitute a tea bag (soaked in very hot water, squeezed damp-dry and wrapped in moist gauze) for 20 or 30 minutes. If bleeding remains uncontrolled, please call our office.

  • SWELLING: Swelling is often associated with oral surgery. It can be minimized by using a cold pack, ice bag or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel and applied firmly to the cheek adjacent to the surgical area. This should be applied 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off during the first 24 hours after surgery. If you have been prescribed medication for the control of swelling, be sure to take it as directed.

  • PAIN: Unfortunately, most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. You will usually have a prescription for pain medication. If you take the first pill before the anesthetic has worn off, you should be able to manage any discomfort better. Some patients find that stronger pain medication may cause nausea, but if you precede each pain pill with a small amount of food, chances for nausea will be reduced. The effects of pain medications vary widely among individuals. If you do not achieve adequate relief at first, you may supplement each pain pill with an analgesic, such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Some patients may even require two of the pain pills at one time. Remember that the most severe pain is usually within six hours after the local anesthetic wears off: after that your need for

  • medicine should lessen. If you find you are taking large amounts of pain medicine at frequent intervals, please call our office. If you anticipate needing more medication for the weekend, please try to call for a refill during weekday business hours.

  • NAUSEA: Nausea is not uncommon after surgery. Sometimes pain medications are the cause. Nausea can be reduced by preceding each pain pill with a small amount of soft food and taking the pill with a large volume of water. Try to keep taking clear fluids and minimizing the dosage of pain medication, but you can call us if you do not feel better. Classic Coca Cola may help with nausea.

  • DIET: Eat any nourishing food that can be taken with comfort. Avoid extremely hot foods. Do not use straws for the first few days after surgery. It is sometimes advisable, but not absolutely required, to confine the first day’s intake to liquids or pureed foods (soups, pudding, yogurt, milkshakes, etc.). It is best to avoid foods like nuts, sunflower seeds, popcorn, etc.., which may get lodged in the socket areas. Over the next several days you may gradually progress to solid foods. It is important not to skip meals. If you take nourishment regularly, you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort and heal faster. If you are diabetic, maintain your normal eating habits or follow the instructions given to you by your doctor.

  • SHARP EDGES: If you feel something hard or sharp edges in the surgical areas, it is likely you are feeling the bony walls that once supported the extract teeth. Occasionally small slivers of bone may work themselves out during the following week or so. If they cause concern or discomfort, please call the office.


  • MOUTH RINSES: Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential. Use 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8 -ounce glass of warm water and gently rinse with portions of the solution, taking five minutes to use the entire glassful. Repeat as often as you like, but at least two or three times daily.

  • BRUSHING: Begin your normal oral hygiene routine as soon as possible after surgery. Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing, but please make every effort to clean your teeth within the bounds of comfort.

  • HOT APPLICATIONS: You may apply warm compresses to the skin over the areas of swelling (hot water bottle, hot moist towels, heating pad, etc.) for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off to help soothe tender areas. This will also help decrease swelling and stiffness.

  • HEALING: Normal healing after tooth extraction should be as follows: The first two days after surgery are generally the most uncomfortable and there is usually some swelling. On the third day, you should be more comfortable and although still swollen, can usually begin a more substantial diet. The remainder of the post-operative course should be a gradual, steady improvement. If you don’t see continued improvement, please call our office. If you are given a plastic irrigating syringe, DO NOT use it for the first five days. Then use it daily according to the instructions until you are certain the tooth socket has closed completely and that there is no chance of any food particles lodging in the sockets.

  • It is our desire that your recovery is as smooth and pleasant as possible. Following these instructions will assist you, but if you have questions about your progress, please call the office. A doctor’s cellular phone has been provided if it is after normal business hours. Calling during office hours will afford a faster response to your question or concern.

Know Risks and Complications Associated with the Surgery

  • Common risks associated with any surgical procedure include swelling, bruising, pain, and bleeding. In addition to the above risks, the following are uncommon but possible risks associated with an implant surgical procedure:

  • Infection: Any infection should be taken seriously and reported to your surgeon, who will appropriately treat the problem. Signs of infection include fever, abnormal swelling and pain, salty or prolonged bad taste, and pus formation.

  • Nerve Damage: Numbness, pain, or changed feelings in the teeth, gums, lip, chin, and/or tongue (including possible loss of taste). Usually, the numbness or pain goes away, but in some cases, it may need more treatment or may be permanent.

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