The first phase of treatment, after a detailed evaluation and treatment plan, usually is the actual placement of the implants. This procedure is generally done in the doctor’s office during one visit. Most implants will remain covered, underneath the gums, for 3 to 6 months. During this time, osseointegration –the biological bonding of the jawbone to the implant–occurs. Through this healing period, you will probably wear your modified denture or a temporary denture or bridge and maintain normal activities without restriction. You will need to follow a modified, soft diet for the first couple of weeks. There are occasions, one stage implant placements or when extensive bone grafting is to be performed, when patients may be asked not to wear their removable dentures for a period of time. When this is necessary we’ll do all we can to help our patient through this transition.
The second phase of the procedure is usually 3-6 months after implant placement. At this time, the top of the implants will be uncovered from under the gums and a small metal post or extension will be attached to the implant(s). Your periodontist or restorative dentist will make any necessary modifications to your temporary teeth to allow you to continue wearing them after post attachment.
In the third phase, which usually starts 2-6 weeks after the second phase, your new replacement teeth are created and fitted. This phase involves a series of appointments to make impressions of your mouth and to “try-in” your replacement teeth at key steps in their fabrication. The try-in sessions are necessary to ensure that the size, shape, color and fit of your new teeth will completely blend with and match your individual facial characteristics and remaining natural teeth (if any). The third phase is usually completed within 4 to 8 weeks. Total treatment time for most implant cases will usually be 5-8 months. It could be longer if bone or gum procedures are needed.