Before a dental implants procedure is performed, it is essential for the oral surgeon to evaluate the healthiness of the gums and teeth. Any pre-existing decay or gum disease will first have to be treated prior to the dental implant being carried out.
Following any remedial treatment which may be necessary a CT scan of the jaw will be taken which provides a detailed three dimensional computer generated image. The image provided enables a full assessment of the bone structure and quality of the bone tissue to be determined. As an alternative, some dental clinics may carry out several x-rays, although this is now generally considered to be an outdated method of carrying out the assessment. The dental assessment is used to reveal the exact type of work to be carried out and for a full dental treatment plan to be created.
If the patient has insufficient jawbone for the implant to be seated, a dental bone graft may be necessary prior to the implant being placed. This will increases the treatment period as the graft will take up to 6 months to assimilate with the existing jaw and provide the new bone growth which is required. When a bone graft is required the overall cost of the treatment is also increased.
Following any necessary remedial treatment and/or bone graft the dental implant can be placed by the dental surgeon making an incision in the gum tissue to reveal the area of jawbone where the implant will be placed. This part of the treatments is commonly carried out under a local aesthetic, but if the patient suffers from dental anxiety or phobia it is possible that it can be performed under sedation. The incision in the gum reveals the bone enabling the surgeon to drill a small hole in the jawbone in the exact location of where the dental implant will be placed.
The implant, which has a screw thread, is inserted by screwing it into the cavity which has been previously made by the dental surgeon. After the implant has been placed the incision in the gum tissue is stitched over the exposed implant. The stitches can be removed around 10 days later.
Over a period of 6 months integration between the bone and implant takes place; this process in known in medical profession as osseointegration. During this process bone tissue grows and integrates into the rough microscopic surface of the dental implant providing an extremely strong bond. During this period patients often are provided with temporary dental bridges or they may wear dentures if they have them. Although to allow the implant to heal properly it is essential that no undue pressure or strain is placed on the area of the implant.
Following the six month healing period another incision made in the gum allowing a temporary crown to be inserted. This crown has a post which itself is inserted into a hole in the implant.