How Does the Implant Process Work?
1. Initial Consultation
The first step is an examination and consultation. This involves x-rays and may include taking impressions to create models of your teeth. If you have already experienced a significant amount of bone loss, additional x-rays (such as Cone Beam CT Scans or Panoramic Radiographs) taken at a radiology lab that specializes in this type of x-ray may also be recommended.
During the examination, we will evaluate the area(s) of your mouth in which teeth are missing, and we will determine the amount of bone available to support the placement of implants. We will also be evaluating the type of replacement teeth that will best meet your needs. A review of your health history will indicate whether there are any medical conditions that could prevent you from being a candidate for implant treatment.
2. Dental Implant Placement Procedure
The dental implants are placed in the bone using a gentle surgical technique. Depending on the type of implant, it may or may not need to be placed completely under the gum tissue.
After the implants are placed, they are left undisturbed for a period of 2-4 months so that the bone can grow 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.
Sometimes, when a dental implant is placed, it is necessary to build up the bone in the area to ensure success. The procedure of building up the bone is known as Bone Grafting. Bone grafting is a very common procedure in dentistry and it is used quite often for dental implants as well as in various periodontal procedures around natural teeth.
3. Abutment Attachment Procedure
Following the appropriate bone remodeling period, a small connector post called an ‘abutment’ is attached to each dental implant. The permanent replacement teeth will eventually be attached to the abutments. In some cases, a temporary crown or bridge is immediately placed on the abutments.
4. Fabrication of Replacement Teeth
A series of appointments will be needed to take impressions of your teeth and the implant abutments; place temporary replacement teeth; select the appropriate shade for your replacement teeth and try them in to insure a proper fit. In between these appointments, the laboratory technician will fabricate your replacement teeth and the underlying structures that will be attached to the dental implants.
5. Completion of Dental Implants
Once the above phases are complete, then your new dental implants will be fixed to the abutment and you’ll have a beautiful new set of teeth that look, feel and function just like your natural teeth.
6. Ongoing After Care
We’ll continue to provide care throughout all phases of your dental implant procedures, even after it’s completed so that you have the best experience possible.