What Is the Process of a Dental Implant?

Hi, Dr Stephen Pearson here from Plaza Dental in Mackay. I was with one of my patients Sandra from Dolphins Head yesterday. She had a missing tooth and used a denture for a long time, and she decided she wants a more stable, comfortable and durable solution. So she came in for a consultation to explore her options. During this appointment, she asked me, “Steve, what is a dental implant and what is the process?”

For patients with a missing tooth or teeth who want a more stable and comfortable solution, I felt they might have the same question as well, so I thought I’d make a video outlining what is a dental implant and the process of getting a dental implant to replace a single missing tooth.

A dental implant at its most basic level is a titanium screw that is inserted into the bone where the root of the tooth used to be. The bone then grows and heals against this dental implant, fixing it in place, providing something that can support a crown or a new tooth.

The process here at Plaza Dental involves a number of steps.

The first step will be talking with your dentist about whether or not you are suitable for a dental implant. The dental implant is supported by the bone so obviously, we need to have a reasonable amount of bone available to be successful. The dentist will have a look in your mouth and will refer you for a three-dimensional scan called a cone beam x-ray, which will give us an exact picture of what the bone looks like underneath there. In addition, we will usually get a 3D scan of your teeth, which can be overlaid over this dental x-ray and allow accurate planning for the dental implant.

Once the planning is done and you understand the process, the dental implant is placed. This is generally done under the local anaesthetic and the procedure should be no more traumatic than having the tooth removed in the first place. In some cases, the tooth can be removed and the implant placed at the same appointment. Once the implant is placed, it is left to heal for a few months.

What we are waiting for is for the bone to grow and heal and stabilize the implant, so it will provide a strong and stable platform to support a tooth for many years. When we are replacing a front tooth, we will try to place a temporary crown at this stage so that you have a tooth that is fixed in place so that it is not obvious that you are missing a tooth. If it’s not possible to place a temporary crown at this stage, we will come up with some other kind of temporary restoration so that you can continue to smile and talk to people normally as you move through daily life.

Once the healing period is finished, a scan is again taken of the teeth with the dental implant in place. If you’ve had a temporary crown, a scan of that will be taken also. This along with some photos will be sent away to our dental technician so that he can make a perfect crown to fit in the place of where the tooth used to be. Once the crown is made, we try that in place. We are looking for the fit with the tooth next door, the bite against the teeth on the other side, as well as how the crown looks. Once we are happy with everything, the crown is screwed down properly and sealed in place.

While a dental implant is not an exact replacement for a tooth, it is the closest that we have with current technology, and with good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups and maintenance, it should provide you with a strong and healthy tooth replacement for many, many years to come.

If you are based around Mackay and have any questions about dental implants or if you want to know whether or not they’re suitable for you, why not come in and see us here at Plaza Dental. Simply direct message us on social media, call us on 07 4942 3272, or go to our website on plazadental.com.au and fill in the enquiry form, and one of our friendly team members will help you arrange your appointment.

 

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