Dental Implant Procedure

The dental implant procedure includes two major steps:

  • Stage 1 – The dental implant placement.
  • Stage 2 – Dental implant restoration.

 

After you have been evaluated and both you and your dentist have come to the conclusion that dental implants are the right solution for you, the dentist will plan your case and will discuss it with you. Be sure to ask questions so that you know exactly what is going to happen and the anticipated length of time for the entire procedure to be completed.

The case should include the number of implants suggested, the position and places where the dentists intends on placing the implants, the structure or crown or bridge or denture that will be place on top of the implants. The case plan should include the expected x-ray or scan needed, the additional procedures that might be required (for example sinus lift or bone graft) and should also include the price you should expect to pay for the whole procedure, from beginning to end!

Once the plan is clear to you and both you and the dentist agree on it, then the actual procedure of implant placement can begin.

The dental implant procedure begins with a local anesthesia (sedation), just like any other invasive dental treatment. In rare cases a full body sedation can be done (that is only in real rare cases). Once the site is numb the dentist exposes the jaw bone by cutting the gums (upper side of the soft tissue). Now with the bone exposed, the dentist starts a sequence of drilling in the bone, using an increasingly wider drill until he reaches the required width and depth.

Dental implant procedure - stage #1

Keeping the site cool is very important for the success of the procedure as overheating the bone can cause damage or death to the bone cells. This can lead to implant failure. Many of the dental implant problems that occur are caused by implant failure due to overheating the bone at time of preparing the osteotomy (the hole for the implant). In order to keep the site cool, the drill is constantly hydrated with fluids.

When the hole is ready the dentist will place (screw in) the implant by using a hand wrench or motorized wrench called an implant motor. This is done very slowly and carefully, again trying to avoid the overheating of the bone. Getting a good grip and bonding between the titanium screw and the implant is important and is often called “initial stability”. Good initial stability means a good and tight fit between the implant and the bone.

After the implant placement, the top of the implant is covered with a temporary cover (cover screw) and the soft tissue is stitched back in order to cover the implant. After this stage the implant is completely covered and is not visible. Sometimes, the gum doesn’t cover the implant completely – this doesn’t mean that the implant will fail or that something was done incorrectly!

Some dentists like to use a healing abutment instead of a cover screw. In theses cases, you will see the temporary abutment sticking out of the gums. The dentists like to use this during the 3-6 month healing time in order to get good results with the gums surrounding the implant tooth.

dental implant procedure - stage 2

After this the patient is sent home for 3 – 6 months (with a one or two check ups in between). During this healing period) the bone and implant form a biological bond called osseo-integration – where the bone starts to grow and attach to the implant. This bond is most important for the next step and will determine the success of the implant (this is called secondary stability).

Achieving good secondary stability is important for the second stage of restoring the implant which means – placing the crown on top of the implant.