Over the last decade, however, technology has been the driving force behind improvements in the dental implant procedure. Nowadays, and in many cases, getting a tooth implant can be even less traumatic than having a tooth extracted. Moreover, this same dental procedure can be used to replace one, several, or even all of your teeth.
With this in mind, here’s everything you need to know about how a tooth implant is done and more importantly, whether the procedure is right for you.
Dental Implant Components
It’s worth knowing that during dental implant surgery your missing tooth or teeth will be replaced by 3 key component parts. These are:
- The dental implant fixture – Typically this is made from titanium and is designed to be inserted directly into the jaw bone.
- The abutment – Secured into the top of the implant with an implant screw, the abutment connects and secures the dental crown to the tooth implant.
- The fixed prosthetic – This is the final piece of the jigsaw and is the tooth-like replacement that you and others will notice when you smile.
So now we know what makes up a tooth implant, let’s dive straight in and take a look at the dental implant procedure itself…
The Dental Implant Procedure – How Long Does It Take?
You may be surprised to know that the time taken to complete a single tooth implant procedure can be incredibly varied depending upon the patient and their circumstances. The process can take as little as a few hours (in the case of immediate loading).
Yet, in another, it can take 9 months or more (if other treatments like bone grafting need to be carried out first). The beauty of dental implant placement is that each case is treated individually depending upon the patient’s needs, so careful-custom planning has to be in place and this all starts with stage
Consultation And Treatment Planning
The first time you’ll see an implant dentist is during a consultation. It’s not uncommon to see a few specialists or general dentists who all have a vested interest in your dental implant procedure. These can include a:
- General dentist
- Prosthodontist or an
- Oral surgeon
During this first visit, the dentist or dental specialist will undertake a detailed dental examination and talk to you about your overall and oral health. They will ask you about any underlying medical conditions you might have and whether you currently take any medications.
If no underlying conditions are found then a treatment plan is devised. If, on the other hand, you have periodontal (gum) disease then this will be addressed and treated first.
When a treatment plan is devised, you will be informed about what will happen in every stage of the process. This way you can ‘prepare’ – The most obvious factor being that if you are a smoker, you will be asked to quit.
Your dentist will also talk to you about the need for bone grafting where necessary, how long the process will take given your situation, and what you can expect after dental implant surgery. They should also discuss dental implant costs along with payment methods.
Dental Implant Surgery
The time has come to have your tooth implants placed. For many patients, this is an anxious time and is the part they worry about most. The truth, however, is that they needn’t be too concerned.
With computer-guided dental implants, for example, most of the placement planning is carried out without you even being present. So, when it comes to dental implant surgery, your implants are placed quickly, usually within about 20 minutes, and accurately to within a fraction of a millimetre.
Even with conventional implant methods, an experienced dentist will fit an implant within the hour and moreover, using the latest sedation methods, patients should feel minimum pain and little or no discomfort.
During the conventional dental implant surgery process, an incision is made through the gum exposing the bone underneath. A hole is drilled into the jaw and the implant is placed. The gum is then closed over the implant.
With digital implants, there is no need to open up the gum and instead a precision hole is drilled straight through the gum into the jaw. Then, using a surgical guide, the implant is placed to the exact depth and trajectory.
After dental implant surgery, there will be a period of recovery, during which time you should follow the detailed instructions from your dentist
Also during this period a process known as Osseointegration takes place. This is where the bone fuses with the newly inserted implant to create a strong and sturdy platform. This is a vital part of the process and on average, this takes around 3-6 months to occur but it will depend upon the healing capabilities of the individual.
Once your tooth implant is well and truly stable, you’ll be called back to the dental clinic to fit the abutment. Using conventional methods this means another quick dental implant surgery. This time the gum is cut once again to expose the tooth implant. Once exposed, the abutment is fitted and cemented into position.
In the case of digital implant placement, abutments can often be placed at the same time as the implant thus eliminating the need for another surgical visit. In some cases, temporary teeth are placed until your permanent crowns are made.
With conventional dental implant methods, you will need to return in 3-6 weeks to give your abutment chance to settle in.
Finally after, days, weeks, or months of waiting, you get to receive your permanent crown. Any temporary teeth are removed and your permanent crowns are checked for bite and cemented into position. Now you have a hassle-free, natural-looking smile that should last you for several decades or more.
So now you know how a tooth implant is done, you’ll also know that the actual process of getting a dental implant isn’t as scary as it sounds. Come and talk to our highly experienced team, contact us (02) 8294 5812 at the Digital Dental Surgery Sydney about how we can help you transform your smile today.