Begin at the End
The first step in planning your dental implants is to talk about what you want to achieve with your dental implants. What degree of function are you looking for? How important are appearances? What are your concerns about comfort? What level of maintenance are you prepared to perform.
We will talk about the possibility of removing or trying to rescue some teeth with root canals, and the possibility that some teeth might impact your dental implants.
We will talk to you about aesthetics and evaluate your gum tissue to determine whether you will benefit from metal-free dental implants. If you would prefer this option for other reasons, this is the time to let us know.
If you are getting a full-arch replacement with dental implants, we will have to decide if you want a fully fixed or removable denture. Removable dentures can be placed with fewer implants, especially if you just want the implants to hold your teeth in place, rather than support the denture and conduct bite force into the bone. Dentures that are fully supported require more implants and may require additional support structures, like a bar.
Evaluate Your Health
Next, we will assess the state of your overall and oral health. We will want to take a complete health history to determine whether your health might impact the success rate of your implants.
Of particular concern, we will want to learn about:
- Systemic illnesses (diabetes, heart problems, osteoporosis)
- Prior radiation therapy to the head and neck
- Salivary gland function
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Prescription medications
We will talk to you about these, and may if you allow, communicate with your doctor directly to get information that you cannot recall or don’t know. If you are a smoker, we will talk to you about quitting–smoking can significantly impact the success rate of your implants.
We will perform a comprehensive periodontal exam. We want to know the health of both your soft tissue and your bone. In early planning stages, we might take a panoramic x-ray, but later we will want a CT scan that can give us a detailed, 3D image of the supporting bone.
Surgical Dental Implant Planning
Once we have determined that you are healthy enough for implants, we will want to complete the imaging necessary for your procedure. We will determine whether you will need a bone graft or even a gum graft and whether it will have to occur before we place your dental implants or can be done at the same time. We will determine whether your implants can be placed at the same time as your teeth are extracted, or if your jaw will have to heal between.
We will do more planning for your final restorations. This will include taking digital images of your current smile, both with and without any removable prostheses. We want to make sure that we are accounting for the shape of your smile and how you tend to hold your lips. We also want to be sure that we restore your smile fully and provide support for your lips.
We will take impressions of your gums and teeth. Normally, these impressions are digital, but in some circumstances, we might want physical impressions. We will use these impressions to help us design surgical guides to help with implant placement.
Based on all the information we have, we will select the optimal implant to go with your restorations and your tissue.
We will schedule a date for surgery that is convenient to you and appropriate to your procedure. If we need to hurry because of changing oral health, we will expedite your appointment.
To start planning for your dental implant procedure, please call for an appointment with an implant dentist at the office of Nicolas A. Ravon, DDS MSD.