Dental implant fixtures are used to replace missing teeth when you do not have adjacent teeth to hold a fixed bridge or you do not want to prepare the adjacent teeth to accept a bridge. Implant fixtures can be placed anywhere in the mouth, provided that there is sufficient bone available. We will need a CT scan to determine if there is enough bone available in the jaw. We also use these scans to determine the location of vital structures in the jaws as well as the size of the implant to be placed.
If the CT scan shows us that there is enough bone to place an implant, the gum tissue is lifted back and the site is prepared by drilling a series of holes in the bone using specialized burs. When the appropriately sized hole is created, the implant is screwed into place and the gum tissue is stitched back into place. This procedure is done with local anesthetic and there is no reason for you to feel any pain during the procedure. Once the freezing comes out, most patients experience mild pain and mild to moderate swelling in the area of treatment.
We also place implants using computer guided technology that allows us to place implant fixtures without having to surgically open the gum tissue.
In most cases, we will check the healing one week after implant placement and then at appropriate intervals thereafter. Although situations vary, most implants will be healed (or “integrated”) within 4 to 6 months after surgery. At that time, you will be returned to your dentist to have the crown(s) placed on top of the implant(s) in order to complete the treatment.
In some cases there may be insufficient bone available to place an implant, either due to a lack of bone volume or the presence of a vital structure (nerves, sinus) nearby. If possible, bone grafting procedures, where extra bone is added to the proposed implant site, may be performed. This may involve gently pushing on the sinuses (“sinus elevation”) or placing bone particles around the site in question. Sometimes these procedures are done in preparation for the implant, and sometime they can be performed at the same time the implant is placed.
Our team will discuss your specific requirements at our comprehensive consultation appointment.