Having dental implants is not like other dental procedures, not like going to the dentist with a toothache. Dental implants need a lot more careful thought, because it is an expensive procedure and long-term results are the goal.
What you need first is a diagnosis and good planning which involves:
The First consultation
Almost any medical procedure needs an initial consultation. This is no different with dental implants. Before having your tooth replaced you most often need to be examined by a dentist. At this initial consultation, it will be determined whether you are a suitable candidate for dental implant treatment. It is common to have an x-ray done. This consultation also involves a discussion of the options of treatment and a further plan of preliminary treatment.
Evaluation by the surgical expert
If, at the first consultation, the dentist agrees that you are a good candidate for dental implant treatment, you will be referred to a dental surgeon for a full surgical evaluation. At this visit the surgeon will evaluate the state of your bone and will determine how many implants are needed. The surgeon will also determine if there is need for bone grafting. Now the rest of the planning is in the hands of your general dentist.
If the teeth have been missing for a long time, or if the surgeon has doubts about the state of the bone, he can do a 3D cone beam-imaging scan to make sure the quality of the bone is sufficient to maintain a dental implant. After studying such a detailed 3D image, the dental surgeon will have enough information to proceed
Planning the treatment
The dental surgeon, in cooperation with a restorative dentist, develops a plan for the procedures. Based on all the information gathered, the bone evaluation, whether the patient needs bone grafting and the number of implants needed, the dentists draw up a plan to achieve the best functional and aesthetic results possible.
After the planning stage there is time for surgical extractions and later, placing the implant.
The surgical extraction of the tooth is a very sensitive procedure. The tooth needs to be removed so the dental implant can be put in its place. This procedure is even more sensitive when the tooth that will be removed is a front tooth, if anything goes wrong and the bone is damaged, the aesthetic results could be disappointing. Furthermore, as a result of bone damage, grafting could be needed. Thanks to a special surgical procedure, the tooth can be removed leaving the bone and gum tissue intact.
After the tooth is removed, the existing gap needs to be preserved with a bone graft, a synthetic bone or a bone from a different area of the mouth until the dental implant is placed.
The dental implant placement
After removing the tooth and preserving the gap, the dental implant can be placed using surgery, so the bone is not injured. The implant must be stable and maintain natural contours. Perfect positioning of the dental implant is essential so the prosthetics look natural.