What Are My Available Options for Replacing My Teeth with Dental Implants?

Because of their longevity (as well as other benefits and advantages), dental implants continue to be popular as an option for replacing lost or damaged teeth.  

A good amount of planning and preparation goes towards determining the best available options or recommendations for you and your teeth. Your dentist will be with you every step of the way, so you know what to expect throughout the procedure. 

Types of Dental Implants 

First off, there are two types of dental implants: endosteal and subperiosteal. 

  • Endosteal implants. These dental implants are attached directly to, or grafted to, your jawbone. These are the most commonly used type of dental implant, usually made of strong materials (like titanium). 
  • Subperiosteal implants. These implants are not attached to the jawbone, but instead just on the bone and under the gum. These implants are recommended for those who don’t have a healthy enough jawbone and cannot, or do not want to, undergo a bone augmentation procedure to rebuild it. 

The usual consideration for dental implants is the overall structural integrity of the jawbone: can your jawbone adequately support your implants in the long run? Can augmentation procedures be done to your jawbone to accommodate the implants? 

What Can I Expect During a Dental Implant Procedure? 

A few specialists may be involved in the planning and evaluation process to recommend the best course of action for your dental implants. 

  • An oral and maxillofacial surgeon (who specializes in conditions of the mouth, jaw, and face) 
  • A periodontist (a dentist who specializes in structures supporting the teeth, like your gum and surrounding bones) 
  • A prosthodontist (a dentist who designs and fits artificial teeth) 
  • Occasionally, an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist in some cases. 

So, before you even get started with the implant procedure, expect a comprehensive dental exam and review of your medical history. Your dentist will then present to you your options and best recommendations and go over the treatment plan with you.  

The implant procedure itself is an outpatient surgery performed in stages, allowing for a bit of healing time in between these stages: 

  • Removal of the damaged tooth (or teeth) 
  • Preparation of the jawbone for receiving the implant 
  • Placement of the implant. A temporary denture will be placed in the meantime 
  • Encouraging osseointegration, or bone healing and growth 
  • Placement of the abutment, the structure where your new teeth will be attached 
  • Placement of the artificial tooth (or teeth)

Depending on how well you heal, or how extensive the work might be, the entire process can take several months from start to finish. Most of that time is allotted towards encouraging healing and bone growth. 

Will My Dental Implant Procedure Hurt? 

You can expect the typical discomfort associated with any type of dental surgery, especially as your dentist begins to work with your gums and bones around your teeth. 

For the most part, however, you will be administered a proper dose of local anesthesia. After certain stages of the procedure, you may expect:  

  • A bit of swelling (particularly around the area worked on) 
  • Bruising around the location operated on 
  • A bit of pain at the implant site 
  • A bit of bleeding 

Your dentist will most likely prescribe you some pain medication or even antibiotics after surgery. To better encourage healing, you’ll be placed on a soft food diet. Stitches used for your procedure will usually be self-dissolving sort. 

However, if you feel like discomfort persists further than expected, get in touch with your specialist right away.  

A Final Word 

Dental implants are usually successful and can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance. In very few cases, however, especially when the bone doesn’t heal adequately, or in the case of heavy smokers, we can see complications or even implant failures. 

Work with your dental specialist to determine the best course of action for your implants, and help the procedure better run its course by practicing excellent oral hygiene, avoiding food or habits that can potentially damage your new teeth, and coming in for regular visits to check how your new implants are doing. 


What I really appreciate is Dr. Clark's genuine concern about my overall well being and his ability to come up with a clear game plan, set priorities, and offer options. I like his decisiveness.

– Lori Rocklin, CA