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Is dental implantation considered surgery?

Thousands of medical and dental procedures are undergone each and every day, but what classifies a procedure as surgery? Any procedure that uses manual and instrumental techniques on an individual in order to investigate and or remedy a pathological condition is considered surgery; therefore dental implantation can be deemed a surgical procedure. However, with advancements in dental technology, this procedure is minimally invasive, requires little to no downtime and can be performed in as little as a single visit to the dentist.

So how does the dental implant procedure work? Procedures can be performed in your dentists’ office (or a specialists office if you so choose) with the use of a local anesthetic. Patients can be put under sedation if requested, but it is not necessary for this treatment. Once the anesthetic is administered, small incisions will be made in the gum line (one for each implant), which provide access to the jawbone.

Once the jawbone is exposed, your dentist will use a series of specialized drills to create small holes in the jawbone where the implants will be placed. A specialized wrench is then used to tighten or ‘screw’ the implant into the jawbone. When the implant is placed, only the head, or abutment, will be visible above the gum line.

At this point, the procedure can vary depending on whether patients are undergoing treatments for traditional dental implants or mini dental implants. Traditional dental implants are larger in size and require more healing time, which allows the bone to effectively fuse with the implant. Therefore a temporary dental prosthetic may or may not be placed, and patients will be sent home to heal (healing can take up to 9 months for traditional implants).

If patients are undergoing treatments for mini dental implants, the dental prosthetic (bridge, crown, dentures, etc) may be able to be placed on the same day—if not, a temporary prosthetic will be placed. At this point, a metal housing will be attached to the base of the dental prosthetic which then attaches to the implant abutment—giving the patient the look and function of a naturally growing tooth.

Dental implant surgery is an outpatient procedure that can give patients dramatic results in as little as a single dental visit. Find out more about this procedure and see if dental implants are right for you.