The Dental Implant Process in Brief
The dental implant process can be summarized in five basic phases:
- Healing and osseointegration
- Final restoration
- Care and maintenance
We include care and maintenance, even though that’s discussed on another page because it’s important to remember that caring for your implants is as important for ensuring quality results as placing them.
Planning Your Procedure
Planning for dental implants can be done in several steps. Often, we will begin with a simple consultation. Your initial consultation is free, and is a general discussion of your goals and the treatment options available.
If you decide to work with us, we will schedule a more comprehensive consultation to determine whether you’re a good candidate for dental implants. In this consultation, we will perform a complete dental exam to determine your oral health. We will decide whether gum disease needs to be treated before we can place your implants. We will also talk to you about your general health, including your medications, to determine whether there are any barriers to getting dental implants.
A CT scan will be used to determine the amount of bone you have at the implant site. Then we can decide whether we want to do a separate bone graft procedure, or if we can start planning your implant procedure right away. We will also decide whether we will extract your teeth at the same time we place your implants.
As part of the planning procedure, we will take impressions of your current teeth and talk about the design of your restorations. For full dentures, we will talk about the best attachment options for your dentures, and whether you want them to be fully fixed or removable. Dental hybrids are a form of restoration that is fixed most of the time with screws. Hybrid restorations can be removed by your dentist, but they are fixed most of the time for maximum bite force. We will also discuss the benefits of The Fountain of Youth Denture® and whether they are right for you.
Dental Implant Surgery
Depending on your condition and treatment plan, you may have one surgery or a series of surgeries. Whether you have one procedure or several, we will work to ensure that you always have an attractive smile when you leave our office.
Your surgery (or surgeries) will include the extraction of any failing teeth, bone graft procedures, and the placement of the dental implants. If you have one surgery, it can take from one hour to 8 hours to complete, depending on the complexity of the procedure. We’ll be able to tell you what to expect once we have completed your surgical plan.
We can use platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) to stimulate healing. To do this, we take a small amount of blood and spin it in a centrifuge to separate it into its separate parts. We remove the PRP and PRF and introduce them at the surgical site. Or, if you prefer, we can use stem cells, either harvested from your blood or purchased from a lab to help improve your body’s ability to generate new bone.
Once your dental implants are in place, we can evaluate their stability. Many dental implants are secure enough that we can place temporary dental crowns on them right away. This is promoted by some dentists as the “Teeth in a Day” procedure, but it can actually be offered by any dentist if your implants are stable enough. It’s often easier to place larger restorations that replace your full arch of teeth, similar to All-on-4, because the forces can be better balanced among the implants.
If we can’t place dental crowns on top of your implants right away, we will use healing abutments, small metal caps that preserve the place for your dental crowns. In some cases, we may want to conceal dental implants under your gums to protect them during healing.
Even if we can’t put temporary crowns on your implants, we have temporary options that will give you an attractive smile while you’re waiting for your implants to heal.
Healing and Osseointegration
The next stage of the process is healing. The day of your dental implant surgery, you will want to rest. But most people are able to go back to their regular schedule on the day following surgery. Whether work or play, you should be in good shape to enjoy the day. Some people prefer taking a few days off. It’s important to pay attention to what your body’s telling you about its needs.
Discomfort is typically minor, controllable with over-the-counter medications. If your procedure was more involved than most, we might prescribe analgesics.
Healing also involves your body building bone around your dental implants, a process known as osseointegration. It can take three to six months for this process to be complete. During this period, your dental implants are at their most vulnerable. More than half of all dental implant failures occur during the first year after placement, so it’s critical that you follow all your postoperative instructions.
PRP and PRF can speed implant healing to encourage the growth of gum tissue and bone around the dental implant. It can also help your body fight infection, increasing the odds of success in your procedure.
Final Restoration Placement
Once your implants are fully healed, we will place your final restorations. If your implants were concealed under your gums, we will first expose the implants, check their healing, then place healing abutments to shape the gums around where your final restorations will be.
Once your restorations are placed, we will check to ensure your bite is still healthy and won’t put adverse pressure on the implants.
Then you will take over the process for maintenance and care of the implants.
Start Your Dental Implant Process
If you are interested in dental implants in Savannah, GA, please call (912) 234-8282 today to start at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.