The process of diagnosis and planning is a very significant part of every treatment. A well-diagnosed and planned treatment could mean the difference between success and failure. Even dental implant treatments where the long-term success rates are very high (between 95% – 98%) owe their results partly because of good diagnosis and planning of the treatment. Every patient should keep in mind that the high success rates of dental implant treatment apply only to treatments that were properly diagnosed, planned and conducted by experienced dental specialists.
The initial consultation and examination
To start off with the treatment, the patient first needs to make an appointment for an initial consultation with a dentist or a prosthodontist. It’s good to do this before going into details about the treatment as it could turn out that a patient is not a suitable candidate for dental implant replacement, or that additional treatments must be performed before the actual procedure. Very often during those initial consultations, X-rays of the mouth are taken. Furthermore, the dentist will talk you through possible solutions to your missing tooth or teeth. After the patient and dentist agree on the chosen treatment option, it is possible to develop an initial plan of treatment.
Evaluating the case
During, or shortly after the initial consultation and examination, the patient may be referred to a dental surgeon, who will evaluate the surgical possibilities in the case. A highly significant stage in this process is the evaluation of the bone health. During this stage the dental surgeon must observe and judge the density and quality of the bone. This way he is able to determine if bone grafting is needed in order to successfully carry out the dental implant replacement. In the next stage, a dentist or prosthodontist may start developing the final plan for the treatment.
Sometimes, if the dentist has doubts about the state of the bone, or if the gaps from the missing teeth were unattended for a long period of time, causing further complications, he will need to perform further evaluation. For this purpose the dentist can perform a 3D cone beam imaging, which allows the dentists to have a much more closer look in three dimensions at the tooth and all the tissues and nerves surrounding it. Closely examining the site of treatment, the dentist will be able to come up with the most effective and satisfactory treatment plan.
The final plan
When the dentist and dental surgeon already have all the essential information, they will develop a detailed treatment plan for the implant dental replacement. This plan will include information about the additional requirements for the treatment, such as bone grafting. The patient will learn the estimated time needed for treatment completion (including the time the patient needs to recuperate between different parts of the treatment) and how many implants are needed for functionally and aesthetically successful treatment. In any case of doubts regarding the treatment planning, a patient should not hesitate to discuss them with the dental experts.