- Suitability and choosing implants
A dental implant is a method of tooth-replacement that has a close feeling to that like a natural tooth.
However, to be able to have the procedure, the individual should have a healthy oral condition in the mouth and around the proposed implant site. Some underlying conditions and habits such as gum disease or bruxism (grinding of the teeth) can lead to the demise of an implant. This will need to be assessed and managed prior to the placement of an implant.
Other procedures (such as treatment of periodontits, sinus lift surgery or bone augmentation surgery) may needed to be completed before the implant surgery can be performed.
There are several steps for the placement of a dental implant. The number of steps required for you depends on your individual circumstances.
If you have a non-viable tooth that needs extracting, it is sometimes possible to place an implant in the same appointment that the tooth is being removed - that is called an ‘immediate implant’ and is only possible if the level and health of the bone are in very good condition, it is done rarely as the results for final gum and bone tissue position is less predictable than a delayed procedure.
Typically, if you have a tooth that needs extracting, the bone will need around 2-3 months to heal before an implant is placed, this is a ‘delayed procedure’. However, periodontists often undertake what is called a ‘ridge preservation’ procedure at the time of removal (extraction) of the tooth, this is to counter the inevitable bone loss that always occurs after a tooth is removed and helps to preserve a volume of bone that helps to make implant placement a more straightforward procedure.
Once your mouth is healed after losing a tooth, and you have a healthy level of bone, you may be suitable for the placement of an implant. The procedure involves a hole being drilled into the regenerated bone and the implant is gently placed.
After placement, the implant needs to stay in the bone without any pressure being forced upon it for 3-6 months, so that the bone can integrate with the implant and develop an integrity of support. During this time, patients can be given a denture that has a false tooth which sits above the implant site. Once the implant is strong and secure, then a porcelain crown is made to screw into the top of the implant, resembling a natural tooth.