Frequently Asked Dental Implant Questions

Life After Implant Placement

Read answers to frequently asked questions about living with dental implants. For assistance or to schedule a consult with Dr. Straw, please use our Appointment form or call our Irvine office: Orange County Oral Surgeons & Dental Implant Office Phone Number 949-727-7000.

Photo: A middle-aged man and woman smiling with good teeth Many options are available when a temporary replacement tooth is needed during the implant healing stages. Removable partials or a temporary bridge can be made. If all of your teeth are missing, we can often modify your present complete denture or make you a new provisional prostheses.

Depending on your particular situation, some implants can be placed and “loaded” immediately. This means a temporary or permanent replacement tooth can be placed on, or shortly after, the implant placement. Ask Dr. Straw about the option that may be right for you.


Although it is natural to be concerned about the pain that may be caused by dental procedures, most patients do not experience significant post-operative pain with implant placement. Pain medication and antibiotics will be prescribed for you to make your recovery as easy as possible. Occasionally, some patients may require additional antibiotic treatment. Even though great care is taken to place the implant precisely, adjacent teeth can be injured in the placement process. In addition, there is a risk that the nerve in the lower jaw, which provides sensation to your lower lip and chin, may be affected. Although every precaution is taken to avoid such complications,  it is possible, resulting in tingling, numbness or a complete lack of sensation in your lip, chin or tongue. Most often these altered sensations will resolve with time, but they can be permanent and/or painful. Please notify us of post-operative numbness as soon as possible, it will allow us to manage your care in the most appropriate way.

Implants can last a life time. When patients are missing all of their teeth, long-term studies of over 30 years show an 80 to 90 percent success rate. For patients missing one or more teeth, studies show a success rate of greater than 95 percent.This compares favorably with other areas in the body that receive replacement, such as hips or knees. However, if one of your dental implants doesn’t heal properly or becomes loose after a period of time, you may need to have it removed. After the site heals, or at the time of removal, another implant can  usually be placed.


Replacement teeth are routinely attached to the implant when adequate healing has occurred and the implant is firmly integrated into bone. Depending on a variety of factors, it is possible to begin this phase of your treatment immediately or shortly after implant placement. Dr. Straw will review the most appropriate treatment sequence and timing for your best outcome.

The dental work required to complete your treatment is complex, most of which involves creating new teeth before they can be placed. Frequently, this part of the implant process can be performed without local anesthesia.

Your restorative treatment begins with impressions that allow us to produce a replica of your mouth. We will also create “bite” records so that we see the relationship of your upper and lower jaws. With this information, we will make the abutments (support posts) that attach your replacement teeth to your implants. Various types of abutments exist. Custom abutments are made of gold or ceramic material for best cosmetic results. Which abutment is right for each specific case is a decision often made after healing is complete and impressions have been made.

The number of appointments and the amount of time required for each appointment differs. No two cases are exactly the same and regardless of the number of teeth replaced, the work must be completed with great precision and attention to detail. Between appointments, the lab will need time to complete your case. It is most beneficial that you keep all of your scheduled appointments.

If your final restoration is a permanent or removable denture, you will need to come to as many as five office appointments over several months. During these appointments, we will take a series of impressions and bites and make adjustments in order to create your new prostheses, custom support bars, snaps, magnets, or clips that will secure your teeth to the implants. During this period, every effort will be made to ensure you have comfortable, temporary replacement teeth.

In general, once your implants are placed, you can expect your tooth replacement treatment to be completed anywhere from 1 to 12 months. For these reasons, it is difficult for us to tell you exactly how much the restorative phase of your treatment will cost, although you should receive a reasonable estimate from our office. It also is difficult to give you a specific timeframe for completion of your treatment until after the implants are ready for restoration.

Photo: A young couple with great smiles

Dental Implants

are the most technologically advanced and longest lasting tooth replacement option available. Restore your confidence… Smile, Eat and Enjoy!

How do I clean my new teeth?

As with natural teeth, it is important that you clean implant-supported restorations regularly with toothbrushes, floss and any other recommended aids. You should also visit your dentist several times each year for hygiene and maintenance. As with regular dentures and other tooth replacements, your implants and their associated components are subject to wear and tear and eventually will need repair, including clip replacement, relines, screw tightening, and other adjustments.

Will one doctor do everything?

Usually, a dental surgeon places the implant(s) and performs other necessary surgical procedures – your general dentist provides the temporary and permanent replacement teeth. Both doctors are involved in planning your dental treatment. Also, depending upon a variety of factors, different dental specialists may help with your dental care.

How much does dental implant treatment cost?

Before treatment begins, every effort will be made to give you an accurate estimate of all the expenses involved in placing the implants and making your replacement teeth. In many cases, there is an initial charge for the diagnostic work-up, including study models, x-rays, and the fabrication of a surgical template to ensure the best possible result. In addition you will be charged for the abutment or support post(s), plus the crown, dentures, or anything else that will be placed over the implants, including temporary restorations. Periodic maintenance such as hygiene visits, tissue conditioners, denture relines and other repairs will also incur additional charges.

When different doctors are involved in your treatment, you will be charged separately for their services. We will try to assist you in estimating what your actual payments will be after we evaluate your insurance coverage or other third party payments. Also, you should consider your personal financial investment in each treatment option as some insurance companies provide limited or no coverage.

Each patient is unique, and it is not possible for us to discuss every option and every contingency for treatment outcome. This website is intended to help you understand the general treatment options available to you. If your specific treatment options are not clear, please contact us — we will be happy to answer any questions you have about your dental care: Orange County Oral Surgeons & Dental Implant Office Phone Number 949-727-7000.