Considerations for treatment involve a good assessment of the overall health of the patient. Most people, even with moderate illness can withstand the minor surgery involved in placing a few implants. More extensive treatment requires more collaboration with physicians and good control of pre-existing medical conditions.
The next consideration is the present dental health of the mouth and each remaining tooth. This is done through a dental examination and some x-rays to visualize the anatomy of the bone and remaining teeth. After a treatment proposal is agreed upon, a more thorough assessment of the proposed implant sites is often made using tomographic imaging. This imaging technique gives measurable cross-sectional images of the proposed implant sites. Bony borders, nerve canals, sinus structure and other information can be gathered from these images.
If there is sufficient residual bone volume to accept the implants, the implant surgery becomes straight forward. Usually, using local anesthesia (freezing), the gums are reflected, a small hole is drilled and an implant is placed into the hole. The gums are sutured around the top of the implant, the patient is given home-care instructions, put on a soft diet and placed on antibiotics and medication to control pain. If a front tooth is involved, a temporary tooth or teeth are placed into the mouth while the tissues heal around the implant.
If the bone volume is insufficient in the proposed implant site, various approaches may be considered, including the use of more, shorter implants and various bone expansion techniques. There are a multitude of good techniques available today to achieve the results desired by the patient. Remaining bone volume is an important factor that determines the complexity and affects the cost of treatment.