Congratulations. You’re making a life-changing decision, one that will renew your self-confidence and enhance your quality of life. With dental implants, you’ll correct your oral health problems including failing teeth, bad teeth, missing teeth, gum disease, and/or bad breath. Whether you replace a single tooth, multiple teeth or all your teeth, or if you want to do away with old dentures or partials, you can. And it’s possible to in just one clinical appointment, in as little as one day.
The first step is an examination and consultation with your dentist to determine whether or not you are a candidate for implant treatment. This usually involves x-rays and may include taking impressions for models of your teeth. During the examination, your dentist will be evaluating the area(s) of your mouth where teeth are missing and the type of replacement teeth that will best meet your needs.
Following the initial consultation, you will be referred to one of our specialized surgeons for a comprehensive surgical evaluation. This will typically be for the purpose of further evaluating the quality and quantity of available bone to determine the number of implants necessary, as well as whether additional procedures may be needed to obtain the desired functional and esthetic result.
The doctors will often recommend 3D images of your teeth and jaws to provide more detailed information for developing the ideal treatment plan. Our office is equipped with the latest 3D imaging equipment, making it convenient for our patients who need these additional images during their consultation. Once the surgical evaluation has been completed, a treatment plan will be developed with your general dentist to meet your individual functional and esthetic needs.
Implant Placement Procedure
Most dental implant surgery procedures are performed in our office and occasionally in a hospital setting. Local anesthesia is usually adequate for these out-patient procedures but various other forms of patient sedation (such as nitrous oxide, and oral/or intravenous sedation) may also be used. Adjunctive surgical procedures, such as bone augmentation, may be performed as separate procedures or at the same time as implant placement. Each surgical procedure is different depending on the clinical situation as well as the preferences of the patient and dental practitioner/ surgeon.
The implants are placed in the bone using a gentle surgical technique. With the type of implant used by our surgeons, in many cases, it will not be necessary to place the implant completely under the gum tissue, which eliminates a second surgical procedure.
Following the implant placement procedure, the implants are left undisturbed for a period of several weeks so that the bone can remodel around the implants to form a strong biological bond to them. During this bone-remodeling phase, you will have some type of temporary replacement teeth, so that you never have to be without teeth during treatment.
Abutment Attachment Procedure
Following the appropriate bone-remodeling period, a small connector post called an abutment is attached to each implant. The permanent replacement teeth will eventually be attached to the abutments.
Fabrication of Replacement Teeth
Your dentist will then take impressions of your teeth and the implant abutments; place temporary replacement teeth and select the appropriate shade for your replacement teeth. The laboratory technician will fabricate your replacement teeth and the underlying structures that will be attached to the implants. Then your dentist will try the replacement teeth for proper fit and attach them to the abutment.
Maintenance and follow-up
You’ve made the decision, the right decision, to get dental implants to create a permanent, lifelong smile. It’s important to protect your new smile. But, that’s easy. Just brush and floss at least twice daily, and have regular check-ups and cleanings. Your dental implants look and act just like real teeth. Treat them as you would your natural teeth, and you’ll have a beautiful smile for life.