Dental Implant Team
The process of having a dental implant placed requires multiple stages and will consist of different individuals performing different dedicated tasks. One of the first steps of having dental implants placed is taking diagnostic tests. Thanks to advancements in surgical techniques and dental technology and these types of tests, almost anyone can have a dental implant placed, even patients who do not have the necessary bone to support the implant. In addition to expanding the number of patients who are viable candidates for dental implants, these technological advancements have also improved the longevity of the dental implant and improved the aesthetic appearance.
For simpler cases, a general dentist who is well-trained may perform the full dental implant treatment. For patients who have lost jawbone or who have periodontal disease or other issues related to the periodontium, it will likely be necessary to receive care from a periodontist. Although every case will be slightly different, most dental implants consist of the following types of support:
- Dental technician
- Dental hygienist
- Dental nurse
- General dentist (responsible for diagnosis, therapy, and basic treatment)
- Periodontist (responsible for performing more advanced cases and treating periodontal issues)
If you are missing a tooth or teeth and are considering dental implants, it is important to receive care from a clinic that takes a team-based approach to ensuring you receive the care you need to get the smile you want. To learn more about the dedicated roles of individuals who will perform your dental implant procedure, please refer to the following.
A restorative dentist acts as the implant team coordinator and is responsible for understanding the surgical considerations of the patient, developing and coordinating a prosthetic treatment plan, identifying the necessary location for optimal implant placement, and developing and coordinating a restorative treatment plan once the procedure is complete. Your restorative dentist will also be responsible for continuing to monitor the health of your dental implant and address any issues that may develop, such as peri-implantitis or implant failure.
Your dental hygienist also plays an essential role in your dental implant process. The dental hygienist can fulfill a number of duties, including maintenance assessment, patient selection, and oral hygiene instruction.
Dental hygienists play an essential role in having a thorough knowledge of your medical history and a strong understanding of your unique needs and treatment goals. Having this information will ensure they are able to inform you of various treatment options and make suggestions for what procedures may be good fits for you. A good dental hygienist will also be able to identify potential issues that may make an individual a poor fit for dental implants, such as whether the individual is a smoker, has active periodontal disease, is unwilling to follow good oral hygiene habits, is not in a place financially to afford treatment, or who has underlying medical conditions that may preclude them from receiving treatment.
Following the placement of your dental implants, your dental hygienist will serve a critical role of conducting thorough assessments at each of your dental hygiene visits to ensure the health of your dental implants and identify any potential areas of concern. The frequency of your periodontal maintenance will also be determined by your dental hygienist, surgeon, periodontist, and surgeon, but should take place at minimum every six months. During these visits, your dental hygienist will also be responsible for ensuring that your implants are comfortable and fit properly and address any pain or sensitivity you may be feeling.
During your regular examinations, your dental hygienist will be responsible for evaluating a number of things concerning your dental implant, including whether there are issues around mobility, whether bleeding or suppuration is present in the margin vicinity, evaluation of adjacent tissue, and control of plaque.
Though the frequency will vary from clinic to clinic, radiographs are typically taken on the day the prosthesis is placed, six months following placement of the prosthesis, and one year following placement. Provided no changes occur during these evaluations, the frequency of radiographs can occur every three years. If issues such as advanced bone loss, mobility, clinical symptoms or pathology are identified, this will lead to diagnosis and treatment of the underlying issue followed by biannual radiographs until the problem has been corrected.
Schedule an Appointment
If you have any additional questions about the dental implant process and what temporary tooth options may be available to you while your dental implants are fusing with your jawbone, contact your periodontist today. They can provide you with additional information about the dental implant process and address any additional concerns you may have.