What you need to know about your dental implant procedure
We understand that people for whom a dental implant has been prescribed may have concerns or questions about the procedure. If this is you, we offer the reassurance that our team will thoroughly explain the dental implant procedure so you feel comfortable and confident before, during, and after as you heal.
While implants are typically placed in a single sitting, they do require a period of some months (between three and six) during which the implant must integrate with the bone. This is known as osseointegration. It is when the dental implant root anchors to the bone of the jaw.
Once the implant has anchored with the jawbone, an artificial prosthesis (usually a crown) may be attached thereby completing the process. In circumstances where the implant doesn’t integrate correctly, the implant will fail. Implant failure can occur due to poor placement of the implant, infection, or because the crown becomes loose.
Want to know more about the dental implant procedure?
New strategies for dental implant surgery
It is now possible to place dental implants into locations where teeth have recently been extracted.
When successful, this new strategy can reduce the treatment time associated with dental implants because the implant’s integration with the bone is accelerated. This type of early intervention depends on certain factors associated with the extracted tooth site. We would determine your suitability for this type of treatment based on an initial thorough assessment before pursuing this pathway.
Dental implant procedure: Simple steps to transformation
The dental implant procedure is a multi-step process that we aim to keep as seamless and simple as possible.
- Step 1 - Assessing the suitability of dental implants for you
- Step 2 - Information gathering
- Step 3 - Preparing for the implant
- Step 4 - Placing the implant
Assessing the suitability of dental implants for you
Your first step is to book a consultation us during which we will examine your mouth and discuss your dental and general health. We explain the dental implant procedure, review any medications that could affect healing after surgery, and gather your medical history giving consideration to how it could affect treatment. At all times, your safety and wellbeing remains our highest priority. It’s also an opportunity for you to ask any questions about the treatment.
The next step is to take digital dental x-rays, impressions and a cone beam CT scan. Your CT scan allows us to identify the exact location of all the important structures in your jaws and what to avoid during surgery. It will also show the quantity and quality of healthy bone available for your implant surgery. This scan is particularly important, providing 3D images of your mouth that are used to plan computer guided implant surgery.
In some circumstances it may be necessary to perform a bone graft if there is insufficient bone to support a dental implant. Our dentists perform this procedure routinely and will support you through the process if you require a bone graft.
Preparing for the implant
Using computer guided implant surgery, we will plan exactly where to place each dental implant, making sure your treatment results in teeth that look and feel natural and which are fully functional.
Once surgery is planned, a surgical stent or guide is made utilising this information. A surgical guide is a sophisticated template that will be used during surgery, ensuring your implants are inserted into their preplanned positions. This helps surgery smoother, quicker and ultimately more successful.
Placing the implant
A dental implant is commonly composed of a titanium material screw and a crown. To allow the implant to be anchored to the bone, a small-diameter hole (pilot hole) is drilled to guide the titanium screw that holds a dental implant in place.
After the initial pilot hole has been drilled into the appropriate location, it is widened to allow for placement of the implant screw. Following this placement, a protective cover screw is placed on top to allow the implant site to heal and the dental implant to anchor (osseointegration).
After several months, the protective cover is removed and a temporary crown is placed on top of the dental implant. The temporary crown serves as a template around which the gum grows and shapes itself in a natural way. The process is completed when the temporary crown is replaced with a permanent crown.
What else you need to know about dental implants
How do you know if a dental implant is right for you?
The Dental Art St Kilda team will provide a comprehensive appraisal of your suitability for a dental implant. One condition which may preclude you from selecting this treatment option is whether you are a smoker. We may advise you against a dental implant procedure unless you are committed to giving up smoking as smokers face a higher risk of implant failure.
How long do dental implants last?
When properly cared for, dental implants should last for many years and some people will enjoy the benefits of treatment for life. The success rates of good dental implant treatment are very high. As an artificial prosthesis, dental implants are not susceptible to the formation of cavities like regular teeth. However, this is not a reason to maintain your regular oral hygiene regime. If you don’t, peri-implantitis may develop around your dental implant. This condition is similar to periodontitis (severe gum disease), which can occur around a natural tooth.
DentalArt – Dental Implants