Dental Implants: The Process
Unlike other dental procedures, receiving dental implants is more of a process than a singular event. Here is a little more information on the process of receiving dental implants.
Your Initial Dental Implant Consultation
Before you are considered for dental implant surgery, our implant dentists will want to meet with you to see if dental implants are right for you. Your implant dentist will carefully evaluate the current health of your teeth, gums, and jaw tissue to determine which steps they need to take to place implants safely. During this consultation, the doctors will also talk with you about what to expect and answer any questions you might have about the procedure. You will also be asked to fill out a medical history form to see if you are eligible for the procedure. Depending on your oral health and history, implant placement can take anywhere from six months to a year to complete.
One of the most critical inspections during your initial dental implant appointments is to determine your oral health as well as the density, and depth of your jaw bone tissue.
If you have poor oral health, such as gum disease, we might need to treat it before proceeding. Gum disease is the leading cause of dental implant failure, so we want to eliminate it before we start your implant procedure.
Since dental implant posts fuse with your natural bone, they can’t be placed in an area that isn’t strong enough. You may have weak, porous, thin, or shallow bone tissue. If that is the case, you may need preparatory procedures such as sinus lifts or bone grafting before implants can be placed. Sinus lifts are designed to add more depth to the bone on your upper jaw, while bone grafts can be used to bolster jaw tissue throughout the mouth. If you need either of these procedures, you may need to heal for 2-3 months before we can place posts.
If you have healthy gums and adequate bone, you might not need any preparatory procedures. We can plan to place your dental implant at any time, including immediately after extracting teeth.
Dental bone grafting is a process in which a new bone is grown to correct damage and produce a healthier result. This can be achieved by using various grafting materials, while biologically active gels may be used to stimulate a more efficient growth. Once the bone has grown, it can serve the same function as the natural jawbone.
Given the significance of the procedure, it’s imperative that only a professional dentist with experience in this field is allowed to complete the process.
The Dental Bone Grafting Process Explained
Bone grafts are often required due to the shrinkage that occurs following tooth extraction. Sadly, this is something that can occur immediately after extraction and can shrink the jaw bone by up to 25% within just three months. Using a dental bone graft can shrink the cavity by over two-thirds, allowing patients to regain the opportunity to have tooth implants inserted at a later date.
Dental bone grafts can take many forms. Generally speaking, though, the process will be completed as follows:
- The gums are lifted, and the roots of the teeth are cleaned (if present).
- The affected area of the jawbone is prepared.
- The new bone graft is inserted into position.
- The new bone graft is treated with any materials that may aid growth.
- The graft is given time to grow before further treatments are used.
Bone grafting technologies have evolved at a rapid rate, allowing specialized dentists to complete a range of grafts. These include particulate grafts, block grafts, and sinus lifts. Westchester periodontist Dr. Kevin M. Loshak will discuss the possibilities at the consultation stage.
The Best Bone Graft for You
No two patients are the same, and damage to the jawbone can vary massively from case to case. Contributing factors include:
- Which teeth have been extracted.
- The level of gum disease.
- Whether the patient already has a false tooth or implant.
- The patient’s age, as well as their mouth size and shape.
With these issues in mind, it’s essential for Dr. Loshak to analyze the individual circumstances to find the right solution. Here are some of the graft types that may be suggested.
Sinus lifts are used to restore the maxillary sinuses in the upper jaw. This is most commonly required when a patient has lost several molars.
The maxillary sinus sits above the molars and can be compromised by the loss of those teeth, leading to drooping and bone loss that prevents implants from anchoring successfully. Sinus lifts are extensive grafting processes that involve an incision into the gum tissue before the maxillary sinus is cut and lifted. Finally, the bone graft is inserted in place.
Procedures take at least four months to be completed but may take longer.