The dental implant process - placement and restoration

1. Consultation and Treatment Planning

The first stage of the dental implant process involves a full mouth assessment by the implant surgeon; X-rays and a CT scan if necessary. A treatment plan letter with exact costs and time scales is sent to you before your second consultation. At the second consultation we will take clinical photographs to record your progress and take impressions of your teeth to create models. This will enable us to assess the relationship between your teeth, their function and the space available, to aid thorough treatment planning.

2. Dental Implant Placement

This is a relatively minor surgical procedure. It is carried out using local anaesthetic. Once the implant has been placed, the implant surgeon will then close the gum over the implant or around a healing abutment (aids gum healing using fine, dissolvable stitches. These stitches are dissolvable and can take up to a week to disappear completely.
Patients usually spend 1½ - 2 hours at the practice for routine implant placements however, the time spent in surgery is usually a fraction of this time. Most patients are able to leave soon after their treatment and return to their daily activities providing they are not too strenuous.
If we are creating a temporary crown or a bridge restoration for you on the day of your implant placement, we ask patients to allow 3-5 hours (depending on complexity) for this to be fabricated by our in-house laboratory. During this time, you can relax in one of our private recovery rooms until it is ready to be fitted.

3. Review

The next appointment is usually around 2 weeks after the implant surgery and the purpose is for the implant surgeon to check the area where the implants have been placed and ensure you’re healing well. Any remaining stitches will be removed and if a temporary restoration has been provided, we will want to be certain that the biting surface is even.

Dental Implant process

4. The Healing Period

The healing period varies depending on the complexity and can be anywhere between 2 - 6 months. This process is referred to as “osseointegration” – where the implant integrates with the surrounding bone, and also allows the gums to heal. During the healing period, the implant area should be completely comfortable.

5. The Restoration Period

The implant surgeon will remove the healing abutment or temporary restoration; impressions will then be taken of the tooth/teeth which are sent to our laboratory to begin the process of making your permanent crown, bridge or denture. This can take between 2-6 appointments depending on the type of restoration required to restore your smile. Once you are happy with the look of your final restoration it will either be screwed into place or it will be cemented in.

6. Maintenance

Dental Implants and their restorations are susceptible to similar conditions to those that affect natural teeth such as gum disease. Regular visits to your hygiene therapist and excellent oral hygiene at home is a lifetime commitment that will help you give your implants the greatest longevity.