Until 10 years ago the standard approach to providing implant restorations was to place the implants and wait six months for the bone to grow on to the surface of the implants, before loading with the “definitive” teeth; we call this “biological integration”. It is now our normal practice to restore implants much sooner.
Immediate implant teeth are restorations (‘teeth’) placed on to the implants on the day that the implants have been placed. Resin teeth are usually used at first, and then later on, the resin teeth may be replaced with a more robust definitive restoration which is usually based on a ceramic or titanium structure. For more than 10 years, this sort of treatment has been absolutely routine in our practice for patients who are missing anything from one tooth to all the teeth in one or both jaws.
For patients who are missing all the teeth in one or both jaws it has been in conjunction with Dawood and Tanner, our standard and routine approach for more than 10 years to place implants and provide bridgework in the course of a single day.
The shape of the gum and jaw sometimes changes quite significantly in the first few weeks after extractions or implant placement. Furthermore, scientific documentation has shown that implants that have survived the first three months are most unlikely to give problems later on; so if there is going to be a problem with an implant, it is very likely to be early on in treatment. For this reason we prefer to wait a few weeks or months before making the transition from temporary crown or bridgework to the definitive restoration.
Although in carefully selected situations early implant loading is a great way to treat our patients, this can only work if the fixtures are well-anchored. If the quality of the bone is not adequate to firmly anchor the implants than you may need to delay bridge treatment until healing has taken place, following a more ‘conventional’ approach to treatment.
Resin bridges may sometimes be used as for extended periods of time, allowing the cost of definitive bridgework to be deferred. This depends upon how challenging the ‘bite’ is, and how robust the temporary bridge may be. This sort of treatment is made that much more straightforward by the fact that we have our own laboratory and technical facilities.
Our practice in conjunction with Dawood and Tanner has been heavily involved with this kind of ground-breaking treatment for many years. In the year 2000, Dawood and Tanner received Millennium Product status for devising and patenting a drill unit incorporating proprietary technology, which allowed the implant surgeon to assess the potential for an implant to be immediately loaded. The “Osseocare” drill unit was displayed at the Millennium Dome. The dental practice frequently hosts educational events for reffering practitioners, outlining our approach to this treatment.