The procedure of placing and restoring a dental implant usually consists of two phases. Phase one is the placement of the fixture and phase two is restoration. In most instances, two separate practitioners will place and restore the implant. This means that the implant is placed in one office and the crown, bridge or denture is completed at another. In some instances a well-trained general dentist can perform both procedures. This can be appealing to many patients because they are familiar with the staff and the dental office environment.
A surgical placement of a dental implant is the first step in the overall procedure. This part is usually performed by an oral surgeon, periodontist or an extensively trained general dentist. This is usually referred to as the surgical phase of the overall procedure.
The second part consists of fabricating a crown, bridge, or denture, which will be supported by the implant(s). This is usually done by a general dentist or a prosthodontist. General dentists can complete most cases. Prosthodontists will handle more complex cases or those demanding a high level of esthetic expectations.
Taking an impression of the area and placing the final prosthesis (crown, bridge, denture) are the two steps completed during phase two.
In certain instances implants can be placed in the jawbone and restored temporarily or even permanently in the same visit. These are referred to as immediate loading dental implants. Immediate loading refers to applying pressure to the implant right after surgery without allowing the implant time to integrate with the surrounding bone. This is not usually recommended as they have a higher tendency to fail due to lack of integration between the bone and the dental implant.
Depending upon the location of implant placement (i.e. front tooth) sometimes a temporary crown can be placed to improve the esthetic appearance. In the case of multiple implants, a denture that does not engage the implants can be used to provide the patient with a pleasing appearance until the dental implants are ready to be restored with an implant supported denture.
Click on the link to review the step by step implant placement procedure from initial consultation to placement of the final crown, dental bridge or denture. You can also learn about the three main types on dental implant designs.