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Your Surgery – Placing the Implant

  1. What does the surgery involve?
  2. Will it hurt?
  3. Can I be asleep?
  4. What is a bone graft and why would I need one?
  5. What is a sinus lift?
  6. Where do you get the bone graft from?

What does the surgery involve?

In this section you will find out general information about how dental implants are placed.

The surgery involves making an incision in the gum. The bone is prepared by slowly drilling a hole to accept the titanium implant. This is done with a series of drills which increase in size and remove bone slowly to avoid overheating which can damage the cells responsible for healing. The implant(s) are then gently screwed into place. The thread on the implant gives them some stability while the bone and implant fuse (osseointegrate).

The gum is stitched back in place with dissolving sutures. Sometimes the healing caps of the implants are visible through the gum and sometimes it is better to leave the implants buried beneath the gum. If this is the case once healing is complete the implant can easily be exposed in a few minutes under local anaesthesia.

Will it hurt?

Implants can be placed under a variety of different anaesthetics to ensure you are comfortable during your surgery. This is a natural pre-requisite for all modern surgery. This may be local anaesthetic, sedation or general anaesthetic. After your surgery the area may be slightly painful and swollen depending on what treatment you have had. You will normally be prescribed both antibiotics and simple painkillers after your surgery to relieve your symptoms. You will also be advised on routine aftercare to keep your mouth healthy whilst your implants heal.

Can I be asleep?

Yes. Often patients need to have more complex treatments or find that because of previous experiences they are nervous of any form of treatment. This can often be one of the factors that have led them to lose of teeth in the past. We are able to offer treatment under general anaesthetic (asleep) or with sedation. This is administered by our Consultant Anaesthetist at the Wolverhampton Nuffield where your surgery will usual be carried out.

We tend to perform multiple implants or the more advanced procedures under general anaesthetic. Although these can be performed pain free under local anaesthesia these procedures can be lengthy and then uncomfortable. Patients generally feel it is better to have these more complex procedures done whilst asleep or under sedation.

What is a bone graft and why would I need one?

Sometimes patients may have insufficient bone to ensure implants are placed successfully and with the best aesthetic results. The bone may be deficient either in a vertical or horizontal direction and this means that bone has to be bought in to make up this deficiency. This is called a bone graft.

There are two main types of bone graft.

Onlay Bone Graft

This involves taken bone from elsewhere and securing it or laying it on the site deficient of bone. The gum is closed over the bone graft and as the area heals the bone graft is incorporated into this area. Once healing is complete the implant can then be placed in a more ideal position.

Sinus Lift

The upper jaw has a space or sinus present above the teeth on both sides. When teeth are removed at the back of the upper jaw the bone can shrink and leave too little bone to place implants securely. A sinus lift or sinus augmentation procedure involves increasing this depth of the bone in the floor of this cheek sinus. This procedure can be very helpful in allowing patients to have implants in this area who would otherwise be unsuitable.

What is a sinus lift?

Please see “What is a bone graft and why would I need one?”

Where do you get the bone graft from?

Most of the bone needed can be harvested from inside the mouth. This can be taken (harvested) from the bone removed to place other implants or from the back of your mouth. If other areas of the mouth are used this means that there will be some discomfort from the harvest site as well as where the implants or bone grafts have been placed.

In very rare cases can be necessary to take bone from else ware such as your hip bone but this is in very advanced cases and we find this is needed very infrequently.

Your own bone is the ideal solution to bone grafting. This acts as a framework to allow new bone to grow into the correct position but there are alternatives to this which can often be used successfully. Usually these work with some harvested natural bone. If these are appropriate to your case we will discuss this with you.