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The Treatment Approach: 3 Stage Team-based Approach

Treatment with dental implants involves a small team, whose key members are:
Like a three-legged stool, each member is required for overall success.

Implant treatment takes place in a number of stages over a number of months. Before starting, a treatment plan must be finalised, and involves clinical examination of the mouth, x-rays, plaster models and photographs. A special type of x-ray examination, a CT scan, will often be required.

First Stage Surgery

The first stage consists of placing the implants in the bone (see Diagram 1 and 2). For a single implant, treatment is commonly carried out under a local anaesthetic (injection in the mouth). For multiple implants, treatment is carried out under general anaesthesia (fully asleep), usually as day surgery.

Diagram 1

Diagram 1: Implant being placed into the jawbone and being cooled by sterile water.
Diagram 2

Diagram 2: Once the implant has been placed, a cover screw protects the top of the implant allowing the gum to be replaced over the implant.

Second Stage Surgery

After 3 - 4 months, Professor Ferguson uncovers the top of each implant and an abutment is connected. The abutment (see Diagram 3) is the titanium metal post which projects through the gum, and on which the new crown or bridge will be built. Sometimes "healing" abutments are placed for a few weeks until the gum is tightly healed, before the final abutment is placed. This treatment is usually carried out under local anaesthesia, unless multiple implants are involved. More frequently now this "second stage" is eliminated by the healing abutment being placed at the time of "first stage" surgery.

Diagram 3

Diagram 3: This picture shows a healing abutment being placed on the dental implant allowing the gum to heal and giving Doctor Judge access to the dental implant.


This last phase of treatment is undertaken by Doctor Judge and involves construction of the final crown or bridge (see Diagram 4). This part of the treatment will start about 4 weeks following the previous stage of abutment connection, about four months after the implant fixture has been placed in the bone.

Diagram 4

Diagram 4: This crown is held to the implant by a gold screw or can be cemented in place.




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