Understandably, patients who lose one or more teeth will want to replace them as quickly and as easily as possible. Dental implants often provide a suitable solution. An increasing number of dentists offer same-day dental implants using advanced techniques to place and, almost immediately, load the implants. This procedure relies on the implants being placed in such a way that they cannot move throughout the healing process. Although the implants are loaded with new restorations soon after surgery, they must still integrate with the bone; even the slightest movement could interfere with this process.
With same-day, implant-supported bridges, the implants are effectively locked in place by the bridge, ensuring no movement whatsoever. When this technique is used to restore a single tooth, the implant-supported crown is fabricated in such a way so it cannot come into contact with the opposing dentition. Sometimes small-diameter implants or SDIs are used for same-day treatments. Small-diameter implants are commonly used for implant-supported dentures using flap-less surgery techniques.
While this treatment may sound ideal, this treatment isn’t without its drawback. But first, let’s look at the advantages…
Pros of Same-Day Dental Implants
When successful, this treatment provides a high level of patient satisfaction because they can receive their implant surgery and their new teeth all on the same day. With same-day dental implants, patients will not need to wear an uncomfortable partial or full denture while their implants heal. Treatment is highly appealing for people who dread being without their teeth for any length of time. Patients can eat and talk in relative comfort during the healing process, with minimal disruption to everyday life. The techniques used for same-day dental implants are tested thoroughly and do not compromise the long-term success of treatment.
One of the most commonly used same-day dental implant techniques is “All-on-Four.” This is when a complete arch of teeth is supported by just four dental implants and the forces placed on the implants are directed at an obtuse angle. With this procedure, bone grafting is usually unnecessary because the placement of the dental implants maximizes use of available bone, specifically in areas where it is naturally thicker. This can help to reduce costs for patients without compromising the quality of results.
Cons of Same-Day Dental Implants
Same-day dental implant treatments cannot create a shortcut that will bypass the bone-to-implant integration process. This must still take place and cannot be rushed because the body needs time to produce new bone cells that will firmly hold the implant in place. Patient compliance is vital to ensure the dental implants do not move during a healing period, which may be anywhere between three and six months. During this time, it is often necessary for patients to stick to a softer diet, avoiding particularly hard or crunchy foods, such as carrots or almonds. This can last 6 to 8 weeks after surgery. Failure to adhere to a softer diet may result in the implants moving, negatively impacting integration and increasing the risk of treatment failure.
Often the restorative dental implants that are attached immediately after surgery are simply temporary, remaining in place until integration is completed, after which they can be replaced with more permanent implant-supported restorations. These immediate restorations are usually fabricated before surgery takes place and may not look as highly aesthetic as the final restorations.
While this treatment isn’t for everybody, the potential emotional benefits for patients receiving same-day dental implants shouldn’t be discounted. However, treatment is often extremely technique-sensitive and extensive skill is needed to ensure success.
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