The Implant Procedure
The procedure to place an implant at Northeast Periodontal Specialists takes 30 – 60 minutes for one implant and only 2 – 3 hours for multiple implants. The number of appointments and time required vary from patient to patient. Our implant surgeons will bring great precision and attention to the details of your case.
Prior to implant surgery, you may receive antibiotics and for greater comfort, intravenous sedation or nitrous oxide (laughing gas). These options are discussed with you during your consultation appointment at our Worcester, MA periodontal office. A local anesthetic will be administered to numb the area where the implant will be placed.
When you are comfortable, our surgeon makes a small incision in the gum tissue to reveal the bone, creates space using special instruments, and gently inserts the titanium implant. The top of this implant is often visible through the gum. Sometimes it is better in the early stages of healing to have the implant covered by the gum tissue.
The Healing Phase
Now the healing begins. The length of time varies from person to person, depending upon the quality and quantity of bone. In some cases, implants may be restored immediately after they are placed. Our implant surgeons will advise you on follow-up care and timing. After the initial phase of healing, the surgeon places an abutment (support post) or a healing cap onto the implant during a brief follow-up visit. This allows the gum tissue to mature and provides access to the implant.
Occasionally, impressions are made at the time the implant is placed. This enables the crown to be ready when the implant has healed. How long your mouth needs to heal is determined by a variety of factors. Follow-up care (1 – 4 appointments) at Northeast Periodontal Specialists is usually needed to ensure that your mouth is healing well and to determine when you are ready for the restorative phase of your treatment.
It may be beneficial to perform a soft tissue graft to obtain stronger, more easily cleaned, and natural-appearing gum tissue in the area around the implant. This process involves moving a small amount of gum tissue from one part of your mouth to the area around the implant. Most often, it is a brief and relatively comfortable procedure.
Whether it is one tooth or all of your teeth that are being replaced, your general dentist will complete the restoration by fitting the replacement tooth (crown) to the dental implant.
When Are the Implants Placed?
Implants are often placed several months after extraction. At times, an implant may be placed immediately after the extraction of a tooth. This may involve a little more risk, but it simplifies the process — you will not have to wait for another appointment to place the implant. When infection or other problems with the bone are present, immediate implant placement is not the best treatment.
If your tooth has been missing for some time, the adjacent support bone is likely to grow thinner and shrink. This occurs because the root of the natural tooth has to be present to stimulate the bone. As much as one-third of your jaw’s thickness can be lost in the year following tooth extraction. If you are missing enough bone, you may benefit from having additional bone grafted into the area. This ensures the implant will be adequately supported when it is placed in the jaw. The skilled periodontists at Northeast Periodontal Specialists can determine if bone grafting is necessary.
Dental Implants Reviews
"Would I recommend Dr Rafla? Of course! I have already recommended him many times. His offices, Marlborough and Worcester, are clean and up-to-date; but it's his skill, his personality and his staff that really set him apart from others. If implants sound prohibitively expensive, consider my experience. I've spent far more on other dental 'solutions' that ended in failure - money wasted. Implants, though, have provided permanent, trouble-free teeth. Other dentists have commented on his skill and his use of the best materials."- B.W. / Google / Jul 02, 2021
"Would I recommend Dr Rafla? Of course! I have already recommended him many times. His offices, Marlborough and Worcester, are clean and up-to-date; but it's his skill, his personality and his staff that really set him apart from others. If implants sound prohibitively expensive, consider my experience. I've spent far more on other dental 'solutions' that ended in failure - money wasted. Implants, though, have provided permanent, trouble-free teeth. Other dentists have commented on his skill and his use of the best materials."- B.W. / Google / Jul 19, 2021
"Dr Rafla and his team,did an outstanding job I can not even believe how well my procedure went after years of pain and fear of surgery I put off having many teeth extracted and bone graphs and implants Dr Rafla was referred to me by Dr Stanley Levenson who I trust and respect he promised me I would be in the best of hands and Dr Rafla did exceptional work. I can honestly say it could not have gone better I had little to no swelling or bleeding and minimal to no pain. I am so pleased with how it went and how I feel one day later with no pain medication other than a little ice and Motrin. Thank you Dr Levenson for your referal and thank you Dr Rafla I could not be more satisfied and grateful. Tricia White"- P.W. / Google / Jun 19, 2021
"Dr Rafla and his staff are nothing but professional. He is a talented oral surgeon, did implants for my Front teeth. He uses the best anesthetics, I did not feel anything when he worked on me. lf you use him for anything you won't regret it."- D.M. / Google / Jan 04, 2023
"Dr Rafla and his staff are nothing but professional. He is a talented oral surgeon, did implants for my Front teeth. He uses the best anesthetics, I did not feel anything when he worked on me. lf you use him for anything you won't regret it. Follow up care is the best also. His staff is top notch."- D.M. / Google / Jun 17, 2023
How Many Do I Need?
Most frequently, one implant per missing tooth is placed. Because many of the larger teeth in the back of your jaws have two or three roots, the most common approach is to replace missing back teeth with larger implants.
After Implant Placement
What Can I Use For Teeth While The Implants Heal?
Many options are available, and they are tailored to your specific requirements. If you need a replacement tooth while the implants are healing, temporary removable teeth or a temporary bridge can be made. If all of your teeth are missing, we can usually modify your present complete denture or make you a new temporary denture. If you would prefer non-removable teeth during the healing phase, temporary transitional implants usually can be placed along with the permanent implants, and temporary teeth may be made and inserted the same day. Depending on your particular situation, some implants can be placed and “loaded” immediately. This means a temporary or permanent replacement tooth can be placed on, or shortly after, the day the implant is placed.
Although it is natural to be concerned about the pain that may be caused by these procedures, most patients do not experience severe or significant post-operative pain. Pain medication and antibiotics will be prescribed for you to make your recovery as easy as possible. Occasionally, some people develop post-operative infections that require additional antibiotic treatment. Even though great care is taken to place the implant precisely, occasionally adjacent teeth are injured in the placement process. In addition, there is a chance that the nerve in the lower jaw, which provides sensation to your lower lip and chin, may be affected. If you are missing quite a lot of bone, it might be difficult to place an implant without infringing on the nerve space. Although our periodontal specialists take great care to avoid this nerve, occasionally it is irritated during the procedure, resulting in tingling, numbness, or a complete lack of sensation in your lip, chin, or tongue. Usually, these altered sensations will resolve within time, but they can be permanent and/or painful. If you notify our team at Northeast Periodontal Specialists of post-operative numbness as soon as possible, it will allow us to manage your care in the most appropriate way.
How Long Will They Last?
Implants usually last a long time. When patients are missing all of their teeth, long-term studies (more than 30 years) show an 80 – 90 percent success rate. For patients missing one or several teeth, recent studies show a success rate of greater than 95 percent, which compares favorably with other areas in the body that receive implant replacement (such as hips or knees). However, if one of your dental implants either does not heal properly or loosens after a period of time, you may need to have it removed. After the site heals (or on occasion at the time of removal), another implant usually can be placed.
The Replacement Teeth
The replacement teeth are usually attached to the implant when adequate healing has occurred and your jaw bone is firmly fused to the implant. Depending on a variety of factors, it may be possible to begin this phase of your treatment immediately or shortly after implant placement at our Worcester, MA office. We will review the most appropriate treatment sequence and timing for your particular situation.
The dental work required to complete your treatment is complex. Most of the work involves actually making the new teeth before they are placed. Your appointments are considered more comfortable and more pleasant than previous methods of tooth replacement. Frequently, this process can be performed without local anesthesia.
Your restorative treatment begins with specialized impressions that allow us to produce a replica of your mouth and implants. We will also make “bite” records so that we see the relationship between your upper and lower jaws. With this information, we will make the abutments (support posts) that attach your replacement teeth to your implants. Various types of abutments exist. Frequently, we can use “off the shelf” abutments. Other times, custom abutments must be made of gold or a tooth-colored ceramic material. As you can imagine, these custom-made abutments add to the cost and treatment time involved. Which abutment to use is a decision that often cannot be made until after healing is complete and impressions have been made.
The number of appointments and the amount of time required for each appointment are different for each patient. No two cases are exactly the same and regardless of the number of teeth replaced, the work must be completed with great precision and attention to detail. If you are having only a few teeth replaced, as few as three short appointments may be required. Between appointments, our periodontal team will need time to complete the necessary lab work to make your replacement teeth. It is most beneficial that you keep all of your scheduled appointments at Northeast Periodontal Specialists.
If your final restoration is a removable denture, you will need to come to as many as five office appointments (although it may be fewer) over the following several months. During these appointments, we will perform a series of impressions, bites, and adjustments in order to make your new teeth, as well as the custom support bars, snaps, magnets, or clips that will secure your teeth to the implants. During this period, every effort will be made to ensure you have comfortable, temporary replacement teeth.
In general, once your implants are placed, you can expect your tooth replacement treatment to be completed anywhere from 1 – 12 months. For these reasons, it is difficult for us to tell you exactly how much the restorative phase of your treatment will cost, although you should receive a reasonable estimate from our office. It also is difficult to give you a specific timeframe for completion of your treatment until after the implants are ready for restoration.
The Cost of Dental Implants
Dental implants have been available for several decades. However, for most patients, they are still a relatively new concept. When considering the cost of dental implants and comparing quotes, there are several important points that should be kept in mind:
When comparing the cost of dental implants to other tooth-replacement methods, such as dentures and bridges, it is important to take into consideration the longevity offered by dental implants that is not always afforded by other, more traditional methods.
While dentures and bridges are initially less expensive, their affordability can be short-lived. Because these older methods require repair and replacement every 5 – 10 years, they are often more expensive over time. By contrast, dental implants, when properly placed and cared for, can last a lifetime.
Over time, when a tooth is missing, the jawbone deteriorates. So while a denture or bridge may seem to function similarly to a tooth, underneath the surface damage is being done to the jawbone and ultimately to the structure of the face. This can result in the distortion of the shape of a person’s face, leading to additional cosmetic costs down the road.
On the other hand, dental implants are made of titanium, which actually integrates with the jawbone, strengthening it and stimulating bone growth. This preserves the natural strength and quality of the mouth, lessening problems in the future.
Quality of Life
Dental implants can be seen as a long-term investment not only in terms of money but also in terms of quality of life. A dental implant is the closest thing to a natural tooth. In addition to allowing the patient to eat the same healthy foods they have always enjoyed, it also eliminates the day-to-day hassles and possible embarrassment that are frequently caused by dentures.
There are several steps (and often multiple professionals) involved in the placement of a dental implant. When comparing quotes, it’s important to factor in the cost of each of these steps:
- Exams/office visits
- Tooth/root extraction
- Bone grafting
- Placement of the titanium root (the “dental implant”)
- Placement of the crown
- X-rays, pre/post-operative care
First, check with your dental insurance carrier to see what portion, if any, of dental implants they cover.
There are healthcare credit companies that offer no-interest and low-interest loans for medical procedures, including dental implants. Ask our team at Northeast Periodontal Specialists for additional information.
Dental implants are an investment in your health as well as your appearance. A full set of teeth makes eating a pleasure again, making it easier to eat a balanced, healthy diet. A full set of teeth also preserves the contours of the face, keeping you from looking old before your time.
Schedule Your Consultation
The only way to receive an accurate price quote is to visit Northeast Periodontal Specialists for a consultation, and we can give you a specific price for your case. Please call our periodontal office in Worcester, MA at 508-499-3566 to schedule your consultation.
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