Dental implants are metal anchors, which act as tooth root substitutes. These are placed into the natural bone normally with local anaesthetic or intravenous sedation which is offered to all suitable implant patients. This makes the visit so much easier. Usually (but not always) you then have to wait three to four months before the implant can be loaded or restored. Dental implants can be used to replace one, two or all your teeth.
Small posts or “abutments” are then attached to the dental implant, which protrude through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth. For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves initially the assessment and treatment planning to determine the optimum placement of the implants. At this time we may take a Cat scan which enables us to see the available bone in three dimensions. We can then plan your treatment precisely on the computer and explain to you and refine the choices and agree how best to proceed. The in house Cat Scan allows us to determine the amount of bone and the best dimension o the best suited implant to maximise your chance of long term success. Usually this is then followed by two surgical procedures.
First, dental implants are placed. For the first three to four months following placement, the dental implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the natural bone. This process is called osseointegration. You should be able to wear temporary dentures or a temporary bridge and eat a reasonable diet during this time.
After the dental implant has bonded to the natural bone, the second phase begins. Your oral surgeon will uncover the dental implants and attach a small healing collar. Then, we will be able to begin making your new teeth. An impression must be taken. Then posts or attachments can be connected to the dental implants. The teeth replacements – either single dental crowns, multiple dental bridges or full arch options – are then made to fit over the posts or attachments.
The entire procedure usually takes six to eight months.
Most patients do not experience any disruption to their daily life.