Dental implants have many benefits, which is why people often want to upgrade from dentures. They look natural, let you chew naturally, don’t fall out of place, and they can last a lifetime. With all these benefits and the long lifetime of more than 20 years, some people feel that dental implants are well worth the wait.
However, other people are concerned that getting dental implants might mean living with a gap in their smile for months. But that’s not necessarily the case. For most people, getting dental implants will mean getting a replacement tooth right away so that your smile continues to look attractive and whole throughout the procedure.
What Is “Immediate Placement”?
Immediate placement of dental implants can be a bit of a confusing phrase. To understand what it really means requires understanding of the structure of dental implants.
Dental implants are composed of two parts. The first part, which is the actual implant, is designed to go into your jawbone to replace the lost tooth root. These are usually made of titanium, and they’re usually shaped like screws. Next, there’s usually a part that attaches to the implant, called an abutment. The abutment typically serves as an attachment between the implant and the dental crown. The dental crown replaces the visible part of the tooth, and they’re usually made of advanced ceramics so they look like natural teeth and are capable of withstanding high bite forces.
When dentists talk about “immediate placement” of implants, they usually mean just the placement of the implant itself at the time your natural tooth is extracted. Other parts, such as the abutment and crown, may come later. This means that even if you get “immediate placement” of implants, you might still have a gap in your smile while the implant heals.
So what determines when you get a full implant placed right away?
Can You Get an Implant Right Away?
When deciding if you can get your implant right away, we look at a few things:
- Health of the site
- Location of the site
- Overall oral health
When we consider timing your implant placement, we first want to look at the health of the site. If you had to have a tooth removed because it had gum disease, there might be bad bone loss on the area, which might also have significant gum disease bacteria, too. If the site looks unhealthy or doesn’t have enough bone, we may have to do a bone graft and/or wait before placing an implant.
The place where the implant goes can make a big difference, too. Some positions in the mouth, such as the molars, have to deal with more serious bite force than others. If you need implants placed in the molar areas, we might want to wait, but front teeth are more likely to get immediate placement.
We also have to consider your overall oral health before making decisions about your dental implants. The implant site might be healthy, but if there is infection elsewhere in the mouth, the implant can still get infected.
What about the Crown or Bridge?
Once you get your dental implant placed, we have to make the decision about whether to put the restoration on top of the implant. We can’t make that decision for sure until we actually place the implant and see if it’s stable enough.
Any restoration placed at this time will be a provisional–a temporary designed for long-term use. Provisionals often don’t fully connect when you bite and chew. That’s by design so the implant doesn’t get too much force that could keep it from integrating with the bone. You’re more likely to be able to get a bridge right away–two implants can steady each other.
If we can’t place the provisional right away, though, we have options to make it so your smile looks whole, even if it’s temporarily missing one or more teeth.
Learn Whether Immediate Implants Are Right for You
If you are considering dental implants in the Scripps Ranch area, we can help you figure out whether you’re a candidate for dental implants. Please call (858) 271-1010 today for an appointment with implant dentist Dr. Ramin Goshtasbi