Dental Implants

General Information

Dental ImplantsDental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and also provide a fixed solution to removable partial or complete dentures. They are designed to provide a replacement for teeth which look, feel and function like natural teeth. Implants help preserve facial bone and prevent bone deterioration which occurs when teeth are lost.

Reasons for Dental Implants

  • Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth
  • Resolve bite problems caused by teeth shifting into missing tooth spaces
  • Restore a patient’s confidence to smile
  • Restore chewing efficiency
  • Restore facial tissues support
  • Support a partial or complete denture, making them more secure and comfortable

What is an Implant?

A dental implant is a titanium screw that is surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone. The metal screw substitutes the missing tooth root. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation needed for an artificial tooth. Small posts (healing abutments) are then attached to the implants. The healing abutments protrude through the gum tissues. These posts provide a stable anchors for the prosthesis (i.e. a crown, a partial denture or a complete denture).

The Surgical Procedure

The process of getting implants requires a number of visits over several months. This type of procedure can be performed with a local anaesthetic. Sedation and general anaesthesia are also an option. This will be discussed with you at your initial consult. For most patients, the placement of dental implants involve a few phases.

Phase 1

In order to have the implant placed, the surgeon will evaluate whether enough bone is present for the implant to be placed. This generally can be seen using a cone beam tomography (CBCT); a high resolution radiograph. (see Bone Grafting) If there is not enough bone present, your surgeon may have to perform an additional procedure in which he will add bone to the area prior to implant placement (see Bone Grafts). If enough bone is present, the implant will be placed into the jawbone. For the first 3-4 months following surgery, the implant integrates (fuses) with the jawbone. Although you should be able to wear your temporary prosthesis or denture (if applicable), during the healing time, your doctor may advise you not to wear it for a few days following the procedure.

Phase 2

Once the implant has integrated to the jawbone, the second phase can begin. This phase is when the implant is uncovered. Generally performed under a local anesthetic, your doctor will uncover the implant and attach a small post (healing abutment), which acts as an anchor for the prosthesis (i.e. crown, bridge or denture). These posts protrude through the gum tissue. After a healing period, your dentist fits the artificial tooth (crown or bridge) to the post. The post will not be seen as the tooth will cover it.

Types of Prostheses

An implant retained crown is used to replace a single missing tooth. An implant retained bridge can replace two or more teeth and requires two or more implants. A complete implant retained dental prosthesis replaces all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw. The number of implants varies depending upon which type of complete prosthesis is recommended. A removable complete prosthesis (overdenture) is also an option for the lower jaw. It attaches to a bar or ball attachments. It can be removed by the patient for cleaning.

Dental implants are very strong, stable, and durable. They will last for many years. On occasion, the prosthesis may have to be re-tightened due to normal wear. You will receive care instructions when your treatment is completed. Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits are required to maintain and care for your implants.

Post-Operative Instructions

Proper care after surgery has an important effect on healing. Please read the following instructions carefully.

Immediately Following Surgery

  • Bite firmly on the gauze pad covering the grafted site to help stop the bleeding. We will change the gauze before you leave the office. You may need to change the gauze pads once more at home, leaving it in for an additional 30 minutes.
  • You may have difficulty feeling your lips, cheeks or tongue due to numbness. This is a temporary feeling and will wear off within 2-4hrs. Please take care not to bite your lips, cheeks or gums.
  • Apply ice packs to your face to reduce swelling for the first 24 hours after surgery.
  • Take pain the medication as prescribed as soon as possible.
  • Do not rinse or spit the day of surgery, as this may prolong the bleeding.

Special Considerations

  • DO NOT disturb or touch the wound.
  • DO NOT apply pressure with your tongue or fingers to the grafted area, as the material is moveable during the initial healing phase.
  • If a corner of the membrane does become exposed, please do not touch or pick at it. Generally, the exposed portion will fall off on its own.
  • Avoid chewing or creating pressure on the graft site.


One of the most common concerns after surgery is bleeding. Surgery causes an increase in salivary flow which in addition to the normal oozing of blood may alarm you unnecessarily. Some oozing is normal for 24 to 48hrs following surgery and should not be a concern. It is common for saliva to be slightly blood tinged for several days following surgery.

  • Use a piece of gauze (or a moist teabag), folded into a small wad, and place it over the surgical site. The idea is to apply gentle pressure on the surgical site. Apply pressure for at least 20-30 minutes after surgery. The gauze can be changed when it feels saturated. One may need to change the gauze and repeat the previous steps a few times to decrease bleeding. If bleeding is controlled, the gauze is no longer necessary.
  • DO NOT rinse your mouth or use a straw for the next 24 hours.
  • DO NOT smoke or consume alcohol for the next 24 hours.
  • DO NOT perform strenuous activities for the next 3 days.

If you are bleeding excessively, apply firm pressure by folding and placing a gauze pad directly over the extraction site and bite firmly on the gauze for one hour. Excessive bleeding is defined as pooling or dripping of blood out of the extraction sites within 15-20 seconds of removing the gauze. If excess bleeding continues, apply a gauze pad for an additional 30 minutes. If excessive bleeding persists, contact the 24hr office number.

Pain management

Some amount of discomfort is to be expected following any surgery. If your doctor thinks that you will benefit from a prescription pain medication, you will receive a prescription following your surgery. Please follow the prescription instructions carefully.

  • Ibuprofen (such as Advil, Motrin) works very well for many patients and can significantly reduce the amount of narcotic pain medicine (Tylenol 3, Percocet) needed. You may find that taking 400-600mg of ibuprofen every 6 hours on a regular schedule for the first 2-3 days is all the pain medicine needed. If needed, you may take both the ibuprofen and the narcotic pain medication as prescribed for maximum pain management. Continue to take the pain medication as directed and as needed for pain relief. You can wean yourself off the pain medications if the pain is controlled. You may or may not need to take all the prescribed pain medications for this reason.
  • Begin taking your pain medications as directed as soon as you get home and before the local anesthetic (freezing) wears off. Your pain medication can be taken with liquids but it is important to get some soft food in your stomach as soon as possible. Take all subsequent doses along with food to minimize nausea.


If your doctor thinks that you will benefit from antibiotics to prevent infection, you may receive a prescription for one. If prescribed, take as directed. It is important to ensure you finish the full course of the antibiotic.

  • If you are experiencing nausea you may TEMPORARILY stop taking the antibiotic until the nausea subsides, however you must always restart and finish the antibiotics as directed.
  • If any medications cause hives or itching, discontinue them immediately and call the office.

Call our office if you notice any signs of infection including:

  • Increased swelling after 5 days
  • Swelling that is painful, hard or hot
  • A foul taste or odour in your mouth
  • A temperature above 38°C


Swelling around the mouth, eyes, and cheeks is a normal reaction to the surgery and usually takes 2-3 days to fully develop. To help prevent swelling:

  • Apply ice packs to the cheeks for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. Keep your head elevated for first 48 hours after surgery. Ice serves no purpose after 48 hours and may contribute to jaw stiffness.
  • Use crushed ice in a ziplock bag or a bag of frozen peas bag wrapped in a moist cloth to prevent frost bites.
  • After the first 5 days, you can begin using a heating pad or moist heat for relief of swelling, bruising, and stiffness of the jaw.
  • Apply heat 4 times/day for 30 minutes time intervals.
  • If your doctor thinks that you will benefit from it, you may have receive a prescription for a medication (Dexamethasone) to help with swelling. Take the medication as directed. Occasionally, this medication will cause some people to experience tingling in their hands and feet. If this happens, stop the medication and contact the office.


Try to resume a normal diet after the first 3 days. Initially you may feel more comfortable with a softer diet. Suggested foods are soups, noodles, scrambled eggs, pasta, pudding, yogurt, ice cream, juices, milkshakes, pancakes, anything soft that you can tolerate. Drink lots of fluids to rehydrate. Avoid hard, crunchy foods such as chips that may disturb surgery site for at least 3 days. No alcoholic beverages should be consumed for at least 24hrs post anaesthetic or as long as you are taking narcotic pain medications and antibiotics.


You may experience some nausea which is common following a general anaesthetic/sedation. Frequent sips of carbonated drinks such as ginger ale, will usually help stop the nausea. Follow this with a clear diet, apple juice, clear tea, broths, and jello. If this is not effective you may use Gravol an over the counter medication and take it as prescribed. Discontinue your medications TEMPORARILY until the nausea subsides but always restart and finish them as directed.

Wound Care

If prescribed to you, use the Peridex (Chlorohexidine 0.12%) mouth rinse three times a day after brushing. Swish in your mouth for thirty seconds then spit it out. You may also rinse your mouth with a salt-water solution (1/2tsp salt in 1 cup of water) several times daily.

Sutures (Stitches)

Your sutures will dissolve on their own 3-7 days after surgery but they may come out at any time after surgery. You may notice that they loosen after the swelling of your gum tissue decrease. This is completely normal.

Resuming Activities

If you have undergone a general anesthetic, you should go home and rest for the remainder of the day. Do not drive or engage in strenuous activities (sports) for at least 48hrs. On average most patients will take 1-2 days off from normal activity. You may return to work/school when you feel you are recovered.

Wearing Your Prosthesis

Partial dentures, flippers or full dentures may or may not be used immediately after surgery. You will be advised by your doctor.


Do not smoke for at least 3 days following surgery.

Brushing & Rinsing

The day of surgery you may brush your teeth, but try to avoid the surgical site for at least 3 days. Avoid rinsing, or spitting the day of surgery.


Do not use a straw for first 24hrs after surgery.


A slight rise in temperature can occur for 24-48hrs after surgery and this is normal. If it continues beyond this time, please call the office.

Bone Chips

Occasionally small chips of bone may appear in the surgical site. This can happen anywhere from a few days to several weeks following the surgery. Usually they will eventually fall of by themselves . If they are causing you significant discomfort you can contact our office for an appointment.

Numb Lip and Chin

Lip numbness of the side in which the tooth was extracted may develop. This is known as “paresthesia” . It is most often a temporary condition that will correct itself. It can last a variable length of time. If it lasts greater than 3 weeks please notify the office.

Follow Up Appointments

Generally a follow up is needed 7-10 days after the surgery. The nurse will let you know if a follow up appointment is necessary and it will be scheduled for you. There is no additional charges for follow up visits.


Your well-being is our primary concern. It is our sincere desire that you experience be the least uncomfortable or anxiety provoking. Should you have any questions regarding your recovery, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (403) 948-9598.


If any unusual symptoms should occur please call our office at (403) 948-9598. If you are calling after our office hours or on the weekend, the answering machine will direct you to the oral surgeon on call. In the event of an unexpected admission to a hospital related to a treatment done at our facility, please make sure you notify us.