So you have made the decision to get dental implants – but what next? Whilst the prospect of showing off your new teeth is exciting, you may be feeling apprehensive about the procedure. You can relax – its easier than you may think!
- The first step on your journey to a new smile is to sit down and discuss the aims and objectives of your treatment. After that, a full x-ray of the jaw will be needed to check the condition of the tissue and will also help to determine the placement of the implant. An accurate impression of your jaw and existing teeth will then be created forming an important platform to ensure your implant looks, feels and acts as similarly as possible to your natural teeth.
- The next steps will depend upon your clinical situation. Both include first gently inserting the implant in the jaw. It is important that the implant is inserted deep into the jaw so it can simulate the effect of a tooth root. This procedure is all done under anaesthetic and is no more painful than tooth extraction! If the patient is suitable for the one-step procedure than a temporary abutment will be attached to the implant immediately. The abutment is a component which fixes the new tooth securely in place to the implant. If a two-step procedure is more suited than instead the implant is covered with gum. An abutment is then attached at a later date.
- In both of these cases, a prosthetic tooth is put in place allowing the healing process to begin. During this time the implant and bone will fuse together, and the jaw bone completely heal. Whilst there’s no predicting the amount of time this takes it is usually a maximum of three months for lower jaw and six months for the upper jaw. If the condition of the bone is exceptionally well the new dental implant can be loaded immediately.
- Once the jawbone has healed an abutment is placed on top of the implant and tightened. In the case of the one-step this is simply a case of replacing the temporary abutment, whereas another stage will be required in the two-step where a minor incision is made in the gum in order to attach the abutment.
- Another impression is then made so that it can be compared with the original. This examination means a final detailed impression of your mouth and implant can be made. Our dental technician will then carefully and expertly craft the crown, bridge or prosthesis that will be fixed to the implant. Special attention will be paid to the colour and shape of your natural teeth to ensure your new tooth blends in. It is then carefully attached to the abutment completing your new smile!
- We then follow up the process with a few follow-up visits to ensure the tooth is functioning properly and doing well aesthetically . From our initial examination, we will be able to tell from your bone tissue how long the healing process will take. This can range from 6 – 9 months.