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What does dental implant treatment involve?

Root Form Implant

A thorough assessment with x-rays, and possibly CT scans is initially carried out and the treatment is carefully planned. The surgical part of the treatment can be carried out using either local anaesthesia or sedation. After administering anaesthesia, your dentist exposes an area of your jawbone and prepares the bone for the implant. The process is repeated according to the number of implants that you need. The screw-type titanium fixture is set into the bone and your gums are then closed with stitches. It takes between three to six months for your bone to heal completely. Your implant location is then uncovered and an implant crown or denture attached. Dentures require several implant anchors. While you are waiting for healing and osseo-integration to take place, you may have some form of temporary tooth replacement.


The actual implant procedure can take between 30 minutes to 4 hours, depending on the complexity of the work.


Recovering from implant surgery

In many cases, patients report that dental implants are less troublesome than having teeth removed. With modern anesthesia and close attention to post operative care, you can expect minimal discomfort. In any event there will probably be some dull pain, which can be lessened by taking pain relief tables over 2-5 days. The bone will feel sore and the surrounding gums tender and swollen. But during the first week, this discomfort will gradually subside. Depending of the type of implant and replacement teeth selected, the total healing time can range from a few weeks to six or more months.


Possible complications or problems

In the vast majority of cases, a dental implant will pass without incident. However you should be aware of possible complications.


  • Infection or inflammation
    The bone and gums surrounding a dental implant are very sensitive just after treatment and require a high standard of oral hygiene. There is always a small chance that the tissues can become infected of inflamed. The nerves may be damaged, even permanently. There may be a risk of Osteomyelitis (infection of bone or bone marrow). This is why careful follow-up is required.

  • Rejection
    Titanium is a material that has been shown over many years to be well tolerated by living bone. This is why it is used in dental implants. However there is always a chance that the body may reject it, treating it as a foreign body.

  • Overload
    You should take care, in the first few weeks after a dental implant, to ‘go easy’ on the biting pressure that you place on your restored tooth. Bear in mind that placing two or three teeth on one implant can cause overload as well. As in nature, each restored tooth crown should ideally have its own implant foundation.

  • Breakage or failure
    Most dental implants today are made out of high-performance titanium metal. However there is a small chance that the metal fixture coming out of a dental implant can break. This is easily corrected. Another worry can be having the jaw bone fracture over time because the implant has been badly fitted. 

  • Sinus Cavity

    The dental implant process bores a hole in the bone surrounding the teeth. Behind this is a cavity that leads to the sinuses. Great care must be taking in drilling to ensure that the sinus tissue is not penetrated.

  • Bone loss
    If you have periodontal disease, you can lose bone around your natural tooth. This bone loss can also occur around a dental implant. However, even with severe bone loss, your implant can remain immobile. You should have regular dental x-rays to constantly monitor the status of the bone that surrounds your implants.

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