The Process Involved in Fitting A Dental Implant

Fitting a dental implant – what is the process?

Image of a tooth shaped crown fixing onto a screw to be placed into the tooth.When it comes to fitting a dental implant, your recommended dentist will go through a multi stage process.

The planning stage

A full assessment is necessary in order for your implants to be successful. After discussing your needs with your dentist they will give you a visual examination of the area where you want the implant/s as well as take x-rays to check the quality of the bone the implant will be attached to.

Once this is done you will be given the results and your dentist will tell you everything you need to know. If the bone is suitable then great, it’s all systems go. If it isn’t, there are additional procedures which may be required if you decide to go ahead.

The most common one is a bone graft if the quantity of bone available is unable to withstand an implant. These are done in different ways depending on where they need doing. If the bone graft needs doing at the back in the upper jaw the amount of bone available could be due to the maxillary sinus, which is situated in the cheek bones. A sinus lift is performed in order to lift the bottom of the sinus to allow bone to be grafted into the site where the implant will be placed.

In other areas where there isn’t enough bone available your dentist may perform a procedure known as ‘ridge modification’. The ridge is the name given to the jawbone where no teeth are present, if you have a tooth or teeth missing and pop your tongue in the space you can feel the ridge with your tongue. Natural bone or a substitute is used in order to improve the quality of this ridge in order for a dental implant to be successful in this area.

Fitting your dental implant

At your appointment to have your dental implant fitted, you will be given a local anaesthetic to numb the area.

Using a special drill the actual implant itself, the titanium post, is placed into the jaw bone. The gum will then be stitched and the healing period begins. This greatly depends on the quality of the bone the implant has been placed in and complete healing takes, on average, between 2 to 6 months.

It is during this time that the process known as osseointegration takes place, which is simply the implant integrating with the bone to become one. You must take care not to put any stress or force on the implant while it is healing. Don’t worry, you will be fitted with a temporary cap while the healing is taking place.

Once your dentist has determined that the implant is fully healed a component known as an abutment is screwed into the implant. This is effectively the anchor to which the false tooth or crown will be attached. Your dentist will take an impression, or mould, of this abutment once in your mouth in order to get the crown custom made. So that it is not only a perfect match for your existing teeth but also a perfect fit on the abutments. When the crown has been made it will either be cemented, or secured with a screw, onto the abutment.

The result

From the moment you look in the mirror you will realise how worthwhile it was getting a dental implant to replace your missing tooth or teeth. It will look so natural. Unless people know you have an implant they will never be able to tell.

It will feel strange at first having a tooth there again, especially if you have had a gap for a long time, but the pleasure gained from being able to eat what you want again, having renewed confidence and not having to take any special care of it is priceless.

If reading this has helped you decide that a dental implant is for you then make an appointment with your recommended dentist and have a chat.

There is no reason for anyone these days to have gaps in their teeth or have to suffer the pain and inconvenience of ill fitting dentures. Chances are your dentist will also offer affordable payment plans. And as your implants can last you a lifetime they should certainly be considered as money well spent.

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