The implant process normally involves several steps that take place over a period of time from three to nine months. Although there are various implant treatment methods, a typical process often includes:
Assessment & Planning
Assessment planning - At initial consultation, after discussing possible alternatives, the dental surgeon will assess the feasibility of providing implant treatment. X-rays may be taken and preliminary models may be prepared. A written plan is usually then formulated detailing the sequence of treatment and associated cost.
Is There Bone Loss?
If after assessment the underlying bone is judged to be deficient, a number of options are available for bone regeneration. This may be carried out prior to, or at the same time as, the implant placement.
A relatively simple minor surgical procedure that can be performed under sterile conditions in a dental surgery under local anaesthesia and, if indicated, supplemented by conscious sedation. If after assessment the underlying bone is judged to be deficient, a number of options are available for bone regeneration. This may be carried out prior to, or at the same time as, the implant placement.
Although some implants can be loaded into function immediately or soon after surgery, it is often suggested that a period of three months or more be allowed for the implant to fully integrate before loading. The patient's own denture or in some cases a simple adhesive bridge, can be worn during this healing phase.
Once integrated, the implants may need to be uncovered and can be brought into function with a variety of restorations, ranging from a single crown, small or large bridge, or if preferred, a removable overdenture clipped to the implants. The replacement teeth are constructed by a specialist dental laboratory working closely with the dental surgeon.
Following the completion of implant treatment, patients need to clean thoroughly around the implants as instructed by the dentist. They should attend their dentist for regular review so that the health of the soft tissue, bone levels and the integrity of the restoration can be checked.