Dental Implants

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Have questions about dental implants? Our oral surgeons took some time to share information and answer common patient questions to help educate about what dental implants are and how the dental implant process works. View the table of contents below to learn more or find your question and get an answer from one of our oral surgeons!

Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon at Lane and Associates Family Dentistry



The following content was provided by Dr. Huyen-Chau Dunn, Board Certified Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon, and has been medically reviewed for accuracy. Some relevant links have been added to audio transcripts to provide resources for additional information.


Table of Contents:

Click on a question below to be taken directly to that answer.

  1. How does the dental implant process work?
  2. Why would I need a dental implant?
  3. What is a dental implant made of?

How does the dental implant process work?

Answer provided by Dr. Huyen-Chau Dunn. Transcript included below.

Dr. Dunn:

Once you’ve been identified as a candidate to receive a dental implant, because not everybody is a good candidate for it, but the first thing that happens is stage one is placing the implant and the implant basically looks like a big screw that takes the place of a root of a tooth. Okay. I put it in the bone and that may require some augmentation of the bone with a graft or whatnot. And typically I sew the gums over top the implant and the bone graft and allow the implant to heal underneath the gum tissue. You need a minimum of about four months where the implant heals to the surrounding bone and basically becomes like a root, becomes your anchor. Then I’ll bring the patient back, take an extra to evaluate the bone around the implant. If it looks like it’s healed, then stage two is uncovering the implant and it’s a real quick five minute procedure where I just numb up the gums right on top of the implant and make a little opening and place a metal button on the implant known as a healing abutment and send you back to your general dentists.

Gum tissue on bone heals real quick so you can see your general dentist the following week. What they’re going to do is unscrew the metal button, put a little device into the implant and take an impression so that the lab knows where I put the implant relative to, well, in your jaw bone relative to the teeth next to it and the bite, the opposing bite, and the lab will custom build you a crown that goes on that implant that fits your bite perfectly. It’s a process is what I want patients to take away from this. But if everything goes ideally from the time the implant goes in, it’s about five months before you actually have a tooth on it that you can function and chew with.

Why would I need a dental implant?

Answer provided by Dr. Huyen-Chau Dunn. Transcript included below.

Dr. Dunn:

Patients basically missing teeth. They’re great for single tooth replacement, but they can also be used when patients are missing multiple teeth right next to each other cause you can put in a couple of implants and have it restored as a bridge. And then in the completely edentulous patient, patients with no teeth whatsoever, what happens is when the teeth are gone, the jaw bone, it shrinks back. It atrophies. And sometimes a full denture doesn’t work well for a patient. Like they have a lot of mobility, they can’t keep it in their mouth, and so they’re looking for an alternative to help stabilize the denture. So we can put in two to four implants in each arch and have an overdenture, a denture that’s made that clips into these implants. And then for patients who don’t like the option of denture, something that’s removable, there is a fixed hybrid denture where it’s like a bridge, like a round house bridge, that is cemented on four to six implants in the arch and it’s permanent so you don’t have to take it in and out.

What is a dental implant made of?

Answer provided by Dr. Huyen-Chau Dunn. Transcript included below.

Dr. Dunn:

So it’s made out of titanium with trace alloys. It’s the same thing as joint replacement. So you know, people who have a total hips or knees replaced, those are titanium as well. It’s biocompatible, and you’re less likely to have an allergic reaction to it.