An overview of the implant process
Implant treatment normally involves several stages that take place over a period of time from three to nine months. Although there are various implant treatment methods, a typical process often includes:
- Assessment and treatment planning:
At initial consultation, following full discussion of all possible alternatives, the dentist will assess the feasibility of providing implant treatment. X-rays will be taken and models of the teeth prepared. A written treatment plan will then be formulated detailing the sequence of treatment and associated costs.
- Implant placement:
Implant placement is a relatively simple minor surgical procedure that can be performed under sterile conditions in a dental surgery. The treatment is performed under local anaesthesia with sedation if required. If, during assessment, the underlying bone is deemed deficient, a number of options are available for bone regeneration. Bone regeneration is carried out prior to or at the same time as implant placement depending on requirements.
- Integration period:
Implants can take from six weeks to six months to fuse with the patient’s bone. During this integration period, temporary dentures or bridgework can be worn as appropriate. In some cases, temporary teeth can be fixed to the implants while they integrate in a process known as ‘immediate loading’.
- The restorative phase:
Once integrated, the implants can be brought into function with a variety of new teeth options (definitive restorations) ranging from a single crown, small or large bridge or a removable overdenture. A dental technician who works closely with the dental surgeon constructs these definitive restorations.
Following completion of implant treatment, the patient must regularly and thoroughly clean the new teeth (restorations) as instructed by their dentist. A dental hygienist may also advise on care and maintenance of the restorations and natural teeth. Regular visits to your dentist are essential so that the health of the soft tissue, bone levels and the integrity of the restoration can be reviewed.
Implant and abutment
Crown centred on abutment