The first step in the decision for dental implants is to make an appointment with a qualified dentist for an evaluation. He/She will examine your mouth and teeth and take a thorough medical and dental history. You’ll receive X-rays and possibly a CT scan, which will give the dentist a good idea of your bone density and the shape of your jaw.
Dental implants are usually completed in two phases:
- Phase #1 is the actual dental implant placement, a process generally performed in the office with local anesthesia or light sedation to help make the patient more comfortable. Using precise, gentle surgical techniques, the implants are placed into the jawbone for 3 to 6 months while osseointegration (bonding to bone) takes place. This helps ensure a strong, solid foundation for replacement teeth. During this time, temporary bridges or dentures may be used to minimize any cosmetic or chewing inconvenience.
- Phase #2 involves creating and attaching the new tooth or teeth to the anchored dental implant(s) in your jaw. Dental implants can replace a single tooth, several teeth or complete dentures. Your dentist can recommend the best choice for you.
Recently, an alternative to the two-step method has been developed that allows you to have the dental implant installed in one whole piece in one single session at your dentist. This new method has simplified the dental implant procedure a lot, both for patients and dentists.
The procedure is chosen depends on several factors, such as the patient’s dental health, the number of teeth involved and which teeth are replaced. These factors will also determine the total number of visits to the dentist throughout the dental implant procedure and treatment period.