Dental implant procedure is the term used to describe the entire process you go through from the time you walk into the dentist’s clinic for the first time, when getting your dental implants, till the last time you walk out of there with your new beautiful smile.
The dental implant procedure involves 2 main stages separated by a minimum of 3 months healing time:
• Dental implant surgery – in which the implants are placed into the jaw bone.
• Implant restoration – the process in which a crown is built on top of the dental implants.
Both procedures are very common, and not too complicated. In some cases, depending on the patient’s jaw bone anatomy, a sinus lift or a dental bone graft is needed too.
The necessity for a sinus lift (A.k.a sinus augmentation) depends on the jaw bone anatomy. Replacing missing bone or adding mass to existing bone is often essential to the success of a dental implant. This procedure is done as part of the dental implant surgery when the patient does not have enough bone mass in the upper jaw, or the sinuses are too close to the upper jaw bone.
For successful dental implantation, most dentists would like to have bone that is at least 5 mm in width and 7 mm in height and the sinus lift procedure attempts to provide this critical bone mass. An implant needs a critical mass of bone surrounding it in order to bind (oseointgrate) to it and deliver enough strength and stability.
The need for a sinus augmentation is very typical to implants that are being placed in the back upper jaw – molars. The sinus augmentation procedure has proven to be successful and has become popular, allowing patients with insufficient bone to undergo implantation surgery.
The procedure takes place at the dentist’s office and begins with a local anesthesia to the relevant area. There are several methods for this procedure that are pretty technical but with all of these, the final outcome is that the dentist gets access to the lower part of the sinus (the membrane), that is located right over the jaw bone.
The dentist then lifts the sinus membrane and fills the gap with bone graft material. The space that is filled with the bone graft material will eventually form into bone tissue and increase your total bone mass in that area.
In some cases (when there is enough bone mass for initial stability) the dentist may place an implant during this stage (as part of the dental implant surgery) and then place bone graft material around the exposed part of the implant. The new bone tissue will then actually grow and form around the previously exposed part of the implant.
The area is then closed and stitched up. A healing period of at least 6 months is needed for recovery. Once the bone graft material has meshed into the bone and the total bone mass is sufficient, the dental implant process may be resumed.
DENTAL BONE GRAFT
The necessity for a dental bone graft depends on the jaw bone anatomy. Replacing missing bone or adding mass to existing bone is often essential to the success of a dental implant. An implant needs a critical mass of bone surrounding it in order to bind (oseointgrate) to it and deliver sufficient strength and stability.
If in the location where the implants sre intended there is low mass of bone (width or height) a bone graft must be applied in order to maintain this critical bone mass.
Lack of height or width of the bone might have been caused by:
• Missing teeth – with no teeth in the bone the tissue is not stimulated and there fore bone absorption accrues over time.
• Trauma – any incident causing bone loss.
• periodontal Disease or infection that affected the bone mass.
• Genetics – simply being born with that specific jaw bone anatomy.
The dental bone graft procedure usually takes place during implant surgery. During this process while the bone is exposed bone graft material is added to the site. B-graft material looks like graded cheese or „white colored parmesan“.
There are 3 typical types of bone graft material:
• Autogenous – meaning using the patients own bone that is taken from other areas in the mouth as the dentist collects it while he drills into the bone to prepare the site for the dental implants. In some rare cases bone is taken from areas outside the mouth (hip) – but that procedures is preformed at a hospital. this type of bone grafting is expected to give the best results.
• Allograft– synthetic bone. While using this type the dentist mixes in the patient’sblood to help the material accelerate and promote bone formation in the graft area.
• Xenograft – bone taken from cow. Sounds a bit disgusting but this is a very common source. This bone is harvested under very strict supervision and It is very safe.
After applying the bone graft material , a membrane is placed to hold the material in place. the membrane holds the material in place preventing soft tissue to blend in .enabling the material to regenerate and form new bone tissue(the membrane is absorbed into the body after a few weeks).
The incision is then closed up. And our patient is on his way home.
The duration of the whole dental implant procedure varies from patient to patient and depends, among other things, on the patient’s physical condition and anatomy. It can take three to nine months and sometimes even longer! Yet most of that time is spent on the healing of the tissue and waiting for the growth of new bone in your jaw.
In some cases the dentist may decide to restore the dental implants immediately after placing them in the process of the dental implant surgery. This dental implants procedure is known as immediate loading and it’s duration is very short – the patient can walk home the same day of the surgery with their newly restored teeth.