This section discusses the implant placement procedure. It can be performed under a local anaesthetic although in some cases, a general anaesthetic is required.
The insertion of a dental implant involves several stages which include:
- Insertion of the dental implant
- Fitting of the false tooth (crown)
HOW A DENTAL IMPLANT IS PLACED
The process starts with the dentist checking the state of your teeth and gums and taking an x-ray if necessary. If there is a dental problem such as tooth decay then this will be treated before the placing of the implant.
You may undergo a bone scan as well to assess the density of bone in your jaw. Bone grafting is required where there is a serious amount of bone loss in the jaw.
A small incision is made in the gum: the gum is lifted to one side which allows access to the jaw bone. The dentist then drills a small hole in the jawbone, ready for the placing of the implant. This hole is gradually enlarged to enable the implant to fit firmly and snugly.
The implant is then inserted into this hole and the gum replaced over this implant. It is stitched back in place and a protective cover placed over it to enable it to heal. A mini implant may be a better option in this case.
The dental implant is left in place for around 3 to 6 months. During this time a process known as ‘osseointegration’ takes place in which the implant fuses with the bone of the jaw.
You may be given false teeth (crown, bridge or dentures) to wear during this time.
Once this time has passed the dentist will revisit the site of the implant and attach a post or abutment to the implant. This is a junction between the implant and the false tooth (restoration). He or she will then attach a temporary false tooth to the abutment.
Around 6 weeks later, the dentist will then replace this with a permanent tooth or teeth.
Dental implants last for many years; in fact, they can last for up to 30 years which is why they are a popular form of treatment. But they are still vulnerable to tooth decay and other dental problems in the same way as natural teeth and so need to be cared for.