Dental Implants Procedure
The procedure for dental implant placement requires accurate diagnosis and careful planning to suit the needs of each individual patient.
Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
Before a dental implant can be successfully placed, it’s critical for the dentist to:
- Carry out a comprehensive examination of the patient’s mouth and jaws,
- Evaluate the amount and quality of available bone,
- Determine if the patient is a suitable candidate for the dental implant procedure, and
- Plan the treatment carefully with the intention of achieving long-term success of the dental implant/s
Our dentists prefer to place dental implants into healthy, clean mouths. This is because the presence of plaque, gum disease or some underlying medical conditions can significantly reduce the chances of the implant integrating into bone and remaining in place for the long term.
Your dentist will
- Take a detailed medical history
- Determine the health of all remaining teeth
- Determine the health of the gum tissue
- Examine your bite and the degree of wear and tear on existing teeth
- Record the presence of other fillings, crowns, bridges or dentures
- Record the presence of dental plaque and calculus
- Take digital photos and make models of the upper and lower teeth
- Order any additional tests, including x-rays and a CT scan of the potential implant site/s
Evaluating Bone Quantity And Quality
Dental Implant fixtures need to be placed in a location that has sufficient bone of good quality to provide stability and retention on all sides.
If the bone is not of sufficient quality, an alternative treatment will be suggested.
If there is not enough bone available, the shortfall can be made up by placing a bone graft. The placement of a large graft requires an additional surgical procedure and will be carried out by a specialist. Small grafts can usually be placed during fixture placement surgery in our rooms.
Once a patient is assessed to be a suitable candidate for dental implants, the treatment must be carefully planned. Appointments can then be scheduled and an accurate estimate of costs can be provided.
How Are Dental Implants Placed?
Dental implant fixtures are placed via a surgical procedure. In our practice, all implants are placed under a local anaesthetic. It’s also possible to elect to have intravenous sedation for your appointment.
All surgical implant fixture placements are carried out using standard surgical conditions to minimise the likelihood of infection. Please see the section about Dental Implant Safety below.
Once the jaw has been numbed by a local anaesthetic, a small flap of gum will be lifted away to expose the bone. A hole of the correct size and depth will be prepared in the bone, and the sterile implant fixture will be screwed into place.
Depending on the case, the fixture will either be buried completely or will be capped by a “healing abutment” (an extension to the fixture designed to help the gum grow back in an aesthetically pleasing manner). The gum will be sutured into place. Post-treatment care instructions will be provided to ensure that the patient is comfortable and that the likelihood of post-treatment complications is minimised.
How Long Does It Take To Implant The Fixture?
We generally book a 90-minute appointment for the surgical placement of a single implant fixture. If there is more than one fixture required, your appointment will be longer.
After this appointment, a healing period will follow. The amount of time required for healing depends on several factors and may be different for each patient. We explain this in more detail towards the end of this page.
The Next Appointment
The dentist will check the implant to ensure that it has successfully integrated into the bone.
If the fixture is secure, impressions will be made to record the precise position of the implant fixture. These will provide the dental technician with the information they require to make the crown or prosthesis (bridge or implant-supported denture).
The Final Appointment
The dental prosthesis (crown, bridge or denture) will be secured to the precision abutment, which in turn is secured to the fixture. The prosthesis will either be cemented into place, or, more commonly, attached with a precision screw.
A Lifetime Of Care
While dental implants are immune to the ravages of decay, they can succumb to gum disease or be damaged by wear and tear. Just like a brand new motor vehicle, they will need ongoing care and maintenance.
Regular checkups, including x-rays, are very important for the long-term success of a dental implant.
Why Do Dental Implants Take So Long?
After the surgical placement of an implant fixture, the body needs time to heal. New bone needs to grow and mature so that it’s strong enough to hold an implant fixture firmly in place.
The healing time required is similar to that required for a broken limb.
When a healthy individual experiences a simple break of a limb, all going well, the bone will have knitted sufficiently to remove the cast in about 6 weeks. The limb may require another 6 or so weeks for the bone to fully mature, at which point the limb will be considered to have returned to its original strength.
An uncomplicated fixture placement in a healthy individual will see the bone take a similar amount of time to heal (12 weeks) to a point where it has completely integrated to the fixture.
Any complications will add additional healing time.
How Long Do Dental Implants Take (From Start To Finish)?
The time it takes to complete a dental implant varies from case to case. There are many factors to take into consideration, including:
- The medical history of the patient
- The number and location of each implant fixture
- The amount and quality of available bone
- Whether or not an existing tooth needs to be removed before the implant can be placed
- Whether or not a bone graft is required
- Whether the case is complex: for example, a case requiring grafting prior to fixture placement will take longer than a simple case
- How quickly the patient heals after placement of the fixture
- Whether the fixture successfully integrates into the jawbone
- The occurrence of post-surgery complications
Dental Implant Safety
Because the placement of an implant fixture requires surgery, there are inherent risks that you need to be aware of before you agree to treatment. Your dentist will explain all potential risks to you in detail during the planning phase of your treatment. You will be encouraged to ask questions, and are welcome to seek a second opinion if you wish.
Naturally, all practitioners and staff at Corinna Dental take your safety very seriously and follow strict protocols and standards to minimise all potential complications related to the placement of dental implants.