Replacing a single missing tooth with a dental implant and crown involves diagnosis and thorough treatment planning, a surgical phase and prosthetic phase of treatment.
Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
Before a patient can get a dental implant and crown, they must be thoroughly assessed for suitability. The patient must be medically and dentally fit and healthy. Medical conditions and medications may affect proper healing of the jawbone around a dental implant. Tooth decay and gum disease need to be treated first to limit risk of infection after implant surgery. The patient must maintain good oral hygiene before and after the implant for success.
Besides a thorough dental examination, impressions of the teeth to form study models, photos and x-rays are analyzed. In most cases a special 3D scan of your mouth called a Cone Beam CT is required for comprehensive planning of where the implant will go. As this is a special scan, you will need to go to a nearby x-ray clinic for this.
Under local anaesthetic and sedation, the sterile dental implant is inserted into the jawbone. The gum tissue is firstly opened to reveal the underlying jawbone. A small precision hole is prepared in the jawbone and the dental implant gently threaded into the prepared hole. A cover is screwed into the implant to protect it and the gum tissue stitched over or around the cover.
After letting the implant integrate with the jawbone for approximately 3 months, healing of the bone and stability of the dental implant in the bone can be checked. Sometimes a second surgery is needed to uncover the implant if the gum tissue had to be stitched over the top of the implant. This second surgery is not needed if the gum tissue was able to be stitched around the implant and its protective cover. If the bone has healed and the implant has integrated with the jawbone and is stable, the restorative phase can commence.
The restorative phase is usually done without the need for local anaesthetic or sedation as everything has healed. Impressions of the dental implant and the surrounding teeth and gums are taken to form models. On these models, the dental implant crown is made. At a second appointment, the crown is attached to the dental implant via a special connector. The crown replaces the original missing tooth.