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Implant Placement

Dental implants are one of the treatment options used to replace missing or hopeless teeth.

When you get dental implants, you are replacing the tooth roots with tooth posts made of metal. These dental posts are like screws for artificial teeth.


A dental implant is a screw mostly made of titanium that is surgically placed. After an adequate healing period the implant is restored with a dental crown (the tooth part).

What happens before implant placement?

An initial consultation is important for your doctor to determine what kind of implant is needed, do you have enough space and bone to support the implant or if any additional procedures are required to ensure proper healing, secure support of the new tooth and a natural treatment outcome.

Information of your specific case is acquired by:

  • Comprehensive dental examination

  • Radiographic evaluation, often 3D scan

  • Models made of your jaw and teeth for planning of correct position.

If a dental extraction of hopeless teeth is needed, a few options may be considered depending on the individual situation:

  1. Extraction of the tooth/teeth and the implant(s) placed at the same time.

  2. Extraction of the tooth/teeth, with a predetermined healing period and possible additional surgical procedures to establish a suitable area for implant placement.

When a tooth is removed, you will be numbed with local anaesthetic. You will just feel a little tug and pressure while the tooth is extracted. After you get the extraction, you should avoid blowing your nose, smoking, spitting excessively, or drinking through a straw. These actions can create a dry socket and pain.

If bone grafting procedures are needed, please see the section on bone grafting.

Need to know:

  • Please avoid smoking at least 1-2 weeks before implant placement and 2-3 months after implant placement to aid in the bone healing process around the implant. The success of the procedure will rely on this.

  • Please stop taking any omega 3 & 6 supplements 2 weeks before implant surgery to prevent excessive bleeding.


Implant placement process

The surgery takes places in three stages:

  • Placement of the implant

  • Attaching the abutment

  • Fitting the crown

The first phase would take place in the dental office unless your care team determined otherwise. 

Your provider will numb your mouth with local anesthesia. Once the drug works, they will make an incision in your gum and expose the bone.

With the incision in place, they use a drill, which creates space in the bone for the implant screw. Don’t worry, the drill is very quiet, so it shouldn’t startle or scare you if you remain awake for the procedure. 

From here, the implant goes into place, and your incision may receive a stitch or two depending on the size.

A few x-rays will also be taken during the drilling and implant placement to ensure the correct placement direction and depth.

Then, you wait a few months so that the implant and the bone become one piece (through osseointegration) to ensure there’s a secure attachment.

When it heals, you undergo the second phase of the procedure. During this appointment, your provider re-exposes the implant through another incision and  place the abutment on the implant.

The final phase is fabrication of the crown. This is usually done 2 weeks after abutment placement. Your dentist will take the impression needed to fit the crown.


What to expect during dental implant recovery

Recovery time varies patient by patient. If you needed one tooth removed and replaced, then your recovery time will be much faster than someone who needed several implants and a bone graft.


  • You can expect to swell to some degree, this is normal and is nothing to worry about.

  • The swelling usually reaches a peak in about 3-4 days so do not worry if it continues to swell.

  • Use of ice packs for the first 48 hours and application of moist heat after 48 hours can minimize the swelling. Please post-operative instructions section for more detail.​

  • If swelling or jaw stiffness has persisted for several days, there is no cause for alarm. This is a normal reaction to surgery. 



  • Oozing is normal and when this mixes with your saliva it may seem excessive, but it is normal and can persist for a day or two.

  • When thick, red clots form, let us know immediately so we can advise you.

  • A wet cotton wool ball can be used to bite on. The pressure should be applied for 5 – 10 minutes and this will help control most bleeding.



  • The amount of pain that you feel varies from patient to patient. There is usually very little pain involved in all surgeries but if you do have a lot of pain it may indicate an infection and should be checked.

  • Taking your medication will take care of any/most discomfort.



  • Bruising over the face, eye, and neck can occur and is nothing to worry about.


Altered sensation


  • Also known as paresthesia and may be experienced as a burning or prickling sensation. A feeling of numbness may also be temporarily felt after surgery in the bottom lip and cheek area.

  • This is usually due to the pressure of tissue swelling in the surgical site where the bone block was harvested and is usually temporary.

  • If the altered sensation persists unchanged after 4 weeks.


Diet and chewing


  • For the bone to heal around the implant it needs to be stable and has no movement. You may not chew on the area where the bone and implants have been placed until they have been checked for integration. This can take anywhere from 4 – 12 months.

  • It is also essential to eat a soft diet during the healing time. Eating hard food will put pressure on the healing wound and may lead to either opening of the wound or early load of the implant which may cause it to fail.


The worst day is typically the second, and it declines across the third. Please use the pain medication as prescribed to control the pain. You may not be comfortable, but you can go back to work the day after surgery.


Post-operative Instructions



  • Mouthwash should be used regularly to lower the chances of infection,

  • Do not dilute the mouthwash, it is to be used twice a day 30 minutes after brushing teeth. Rinse your mouth for one minute then spit out.

  • Do not rinse, brush, or eat for at least an hour after using mouth wash.



  • If antibiotics are prescribed, please use it as per prescription instructions.

  • Anti-inflammatory painkillers are important to reduce the level of discomfort as well as to reduce the swelling. These must be taken even if you do not feel any discomfort. Take 2 tablets/capsules immediately after surgery and then two tablets 4 – 6 hourly thereafter.

Other instructions


  • You must eat soft foods like soups and yogurts etc. for at least one week.

  • Use of ice packs for the first 48 hours can minimize the swelling.

    • The ice packs provided by our office (or bags of frozen peas) should be applied to the sides of the face continuously while awake where surgery was performed.

    • After 48 hours, ice has no beneficial effect, then moist heat can be applied to the respective area.

  • No exercise for at least 3 days.

Tooth brushing


  • Avoid the surgical area with a toothbrush for 10 days.

  • Start brushing gently as soon as you can.

  • Brush all other areas that have not been treated and try to dislodge any food that may be sitting in the area of the surgical site.


Dentures & Prostheses

  • Partial dentures, flippers, or full dentures should not be used immediately after surgery until your post-operative appointment unless specifically instructed otherwise.

  • When it is placed it should not touch the gums in the area of the surgery. If it does, this can cause ulceration of the wound edges and breakdown of the suture margins. This can lead to loss of the implant and / graft.

* This list serves merely as a guideline should you encounter any of these complications. Please call us if anything worries you. We will easily
be able to put your mind at rest.

Get in Touch

078 972 2702

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