Implant procedures can be performed in the dental office with local anesthesia.
The actual implant procedure involves several steps:
1. The implant or implants are surgically placed into the jaw.
2. The jaw is allowed to heal for a period of up to six months. During this stage, the bone grows and bonds in and around the implant(this is also known as osseointegration). The dentist may create a temporary tooth replacement for the patient to wear over the implant site during the healing period.
3. The implant is uncovered, and a small metal post called an abutment is attached. The gum is again allowed to heal for a couple of weeks following this procedure.
4. The restoration or crown is fabricated and permanently attached to the abutment.
Note that there are some implant systems(one-stage) that do not require step 3 above. These systems use an implant which already has the abutment attached. The implant procedure may be a cooperative effort between a surgical dentist who does the actual implant placement and a restorative dentist who creates and inserts the final replacement teeth. Some dentists have advanced training and can perform all of these services.