Dental implant treatment is conducted over a period of months to allow adequate healing of the mouth, and for the implants to perform a process called osseointegration (integration with the jaw bone).
Titanium posts are inserted into the jawbone in the exact position where teeth are missing. Over time the bone bonds with the titanium, creating a solid, permanent foundation. Small posts are then attached to these implants, which poke through the gums and create a support for prosthetic teeth.
The procedure is performed over a number of dental appointments:
During this appointment dental X-rays are obtained and the jaw sites are evaluated to make sure that the quantity and quality of the bone is sufficient to support a dental implant. If there is not enough bone remaining, bone grafts may be considered.
2) Implant Placement
Surgery is conducted during this stage in the treatment and is performed under local anaesthetic to minimise any discomfort. We will carefully drill into the jawbone to create a hole for the implant, with special care taken not to overheat the bone. The titanium implant is then screwed into the jawbone, and allowed to heal and integrate fully with the surrounding jaw bone. This can take between three to four months in the lower jaw, and four to six months in the upper jaw.
Factors that influence healing times include:
- Location of placement
- Blood supply
- The malleability and softness of jawbone
- Dental health
- Oral hygiene
- Type of implant used
3) Attachment of Dental Posts
After the implant has fully integrated into the jawbone, the implants will be uncovered to obtain an impression and attach a tiny healing colour. Custom created posts are then attached to the implants, and poke through the gum layer.
4) Prosthetic Teeth
Prosthetic teeth or dentures are then attached to these posts, which provide a strong permanent foundation. These are carefully created to complement your bite, and perform like natural teeth. A prosthetic tooth should be maintained like any other natural tooth with flossing and brushing. An implant supported denture can be taken out and washed under running water with a denture brush, while the implants can be cleaned as individual teeth.