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Dental implant smile journey
Serving patients throughout East Grinstead, Crawley and Royal Tunbridge Wells
The key to successful dental implant treatment is in the planning stages. At your initial consultation our implant dentist, Paul Cassidy, will assess your oral health, discuss your case and consider all of the implant treatment options available to you before issuing a treatment plan.
Dental implant treatment will typically take between 3 to 6 months to complete and include the following steps at Oakmead Dental Care:
- Consultation – Paul will start by listening to your requirements and address your questions as well as recommending which options will best suit you. During this appointment Paul will also conduct an assessment of your mouth, gums and bone structure using x-rays and scans. This will assess the bone support for a dental implant as sometimes it is necessary to carry out a bone graft or sinus lift to ensure we have the appropriate foundation into which we can securely place the implants.
- Pre-treatment – Patients must have healthy gums and enough jawbone to support dental implants. At your initial consultation Paul will use x-rays and scans to establish if pre-treatment is required and will explain this further.
Some patients may need to see a hygienist for a course of treatment to ensure their gums are strong and healthy before the dental implant process can begin.
Paul will also check that there is sufficient bone for an implant to be placed successfully at this initial consultation. If there is insufficient bone you may need pre-treatment before your dental implants can be placed. This may include oral surgery procedures such as bone grafting, bone expansion or sinus lifts. You may have to wait several months for this to heal prior to starting your dental implant journey.
- Implant placement – Once you are dentally fit and have healthy bone structure, you are ready for your implant placement. The process and length of appointment will vary depending on your individual requirements and complexity. Paul will advise in advance what to expect throughout this appointment. You will be given a local anaesthetic to ensure that you are comfortable throughout the process.
With All on 4 treatments (known as ‘same day smile’), the final replacement teeth are fitted the same day without the need to wait for healing and integration.
- Healing and integration - The titanium post (dental implant) needs to be left for a short time for the bone and gum to heal around it before it can be used to support a new tooth. Once that happens, the titanium becomes one with the bone around it… a key stage is known as biological integration.
This stage can take between 3 and 6 months. Once the implant has integrated with the bone, it provides a strong and stable platform for the new crown, bridge or denture.
- Restoring - Once your implant integrates with the bone, we are then able to restore the implant with replacement teeth. This stage is carried out over 2 appointments. At the first appointment we will take scans/impressions of the position of the implants in relation to your other teeth and structures, so that the crown/bridge/denture can be carefully crafted to best blend with your natural smile.
At the second appointment Paul will then securely fix your crown, bridge or denture to the dental implant. Most teeth attached to implants are fixed permanently and can only be removed by your dentist. However, if you have removable dentures attached to the implants, then you’ll be able to take them out for cleaning. In all cases, your dentist will ensure that your replacement teeth fit properly, match your other teeth and feel comfortable. Once in place, they will look, feel and function as a natural tooth.
- Aftercare - Implants are an excellent option and investment in your health. With the right aftercare, they can last for a lifetime.
For such a long-term success, taking care of your implant is important. As with natural teeth, implants require the same regular check-ups and conscientious oral hygiene. Once you follow these guidelines, your implants can be maintained for decades.