At Saving Smiles we’ve found the best medicine to anxiety is information. We want our patients to feel that they know what is going on, and what will be happening next, at every stage of their treatment. This month, we thought we’d give you a start-to-finish account of the implant procedure from the patient’s perspective.
Some people find out about our services by web search or by recommendationfrom a friend, but the majority of our patients are referred to us by their own dentist.
The primary aim of the initial consultation is to put you at ease and get to know you. You will be introduced to our dentist who will review your dental history and ask about your aims and goals in having dental implants. The consultation is an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about the implant procedure. The dentist will conduct a full examination of the health of your mouth, teeth and gums, but there will be no treatment during this consultation stage.
If our dentist decides it is necessary at the initial consultation, the next stage is a full mapping of your mouth and jaw. The CT scanner takes X-ray images from all directions. This allows us to examine a full 3-dimensional picture of your jawbone, your teeth and all the connecting nerves. This is important because the jawbone is the site where your new implants will eventually integrate.
We will produce a report and treatment plan that details exactly what treatment we are recommending. Usually, there will be two or three options. You will be fully involved in the discussion as to which treatment will be best for you. We will make sure that you have all the information that you require. We are always upfront about the costs involved in a course of treatment and these will be detailed on your treatment plan.
We will book in dates for the implant procedure. This involves some minor surgery that can be performed under local anaesthetic. For those who feel a little anxious about undergoing dental treatment, we are able to prescribe an oral sedative that will relax the patient. The alleviation and management of pain is very important to us. For particularly nervous patients, we can even offer a full IV sedation administered by an anaesthetist. We believe in pain-free dentistry and we are prepared to take special measures to ensure that no pain is felt by a patient during our procedures.
‘Restoration’ is the technical term for attaching an artificial tooth or crown to the implanted titanium root. Restoration can take place as soon as the gum has healed from the surgery and the implant has been prepared to accept the crown. In many cases, your regular dentist will be able to perform this part of the treatment. Typically, the whole process from initial consultation to final restoration takes about 5-6 months. More complex restorations – such as the attachment of a half-arch, full arch or implant-retained denture – will be performed by our dentists.
Following treatment, to make sure that the gum around your new implant and crown stays healthy, you will have to learn some brushing techniques that may be new to you. It is essential that these new techniques are mastered as correct oral hygiene is absolutely pivotal to retaining implants for many years, if not a lifetime. Our team of highly-qualified hygienists can help you here. They will teach you how to use interdental brushes.
Quite a few of our patients opt for regular aftercare appointments with a hygienist to make sure that their new teeth are looked after properly. Implants will only be successful in a healthy mouth and some patients choose to continue appointments with hygienists to ensure that their oral hygiene is at ‘olympic’ standard.
Although implant treatment is a significant investment, it is an investment that proves life-transforming in patient after patient: restoring the ability to eat, smile and talk with confidence.
There’s loads more information on dental implants here. You can also request to have more implant information, emailed to you if you enter your details at the bottom of that page.