What You Should Know about Same-Day Dental Implants
Same-day dental implants that offer immediate replacement of missing teeth are the next stage in implantology. Dental implants have become a hugely popular restoration treatment since they were first introduced in the 1960s. The success rate for this procedure is very high (90-95 percent). The results are typically long-lasting – especially compared to other dental prosthetics such as bridgework. However, there is one drawback to the traditional placement technique that causes some patients to hesitate in choosing this procedure. There is usually a three to six month healing period between the placement of the titanium implant and the attachment of the crown. During this time, the implant and the bone fuse together in a process called osseointegration.
Same-Day Dental Implants Meet a Market Need
Half a year can seem like a long time to go without a tooth. Patients must get used to walking around with either a gap in their smile or an unsightly metal abutment poking up above the gum line. Because of this, dentists are trying to shorten the time between implant placement and crown attachment. This search for a quicker solution has led to the development of techniques for immediate loading (putting a prosthetic crown in place right away). This approach is advertised as same-day dental implants or immediate-load dental implants. Achieving success with early loading is likely to make implants an even more popular option for patients – and benefit dentists who have the skill to perform the procedure.
History and Data Regarding Same-Day Dental Implants
Immediate-load dental implants is not a new concept. This method was tried (with poor long-term outcomes) during the early days of implant technology. Since that time, materials and techniques for implant placement have improved dramatically and dentists are trying again. Some designs such as the Sargon® Dental Implant have been created specifically for this purpose. The result of clinical trials for various same-day dental implants has shown that the success rate is comparable to that of delayed load implants (95 percent or better).
However, these are not 10-15 year studies like many done for traditional dental implants. Instead, the researchers often follow patients for only a short while. For example, a recent retrospective study published in 2011 in the Journal of Oral Implantology followed 206 immediate-load dental implants for an average of less than 24 months. In addition, this case only involved placement in fresh extraction sites. In other words, an existing decayed or damaged tooth was removed and the implant was installed directly in the socket. This is a very different scenario than replacing a tooth that has been missing for months or years. Large scale, long term studies that show results in a wider variety of patients is needed to determine whether same day dental implants really do perform as well as delayed-load implants.
Dentists who have tried immediate or early loading (any loading that takes place less than three months after implant placement) report varying levels of success with this technique. Some dentists avoid this approach altogether to avoid the risk of implant failure from inadequate osseointegration. Others see no problem with early loading as long as the implant feels stable and secure.
Are Same-Day Dental Implants Right for You?
Getting immediate-load dental implants is an exciting idea; but not all patients are good candidates for this procedure. Your dentist will need to perform a thorough examination of the treatment site and take a CT to check bone density first.
Whether you can get a same-day implant may also depend on the type of loading the dentist usually performs. There are two approaches to loading a same day implant. One is called immediate functional loading (IFL). The other is immediate non-functional loading (INFL). Functional loading means the tooth is exposed to biting or chewing forces right away. Non-functional loading means a crown is attached for aesthetic purposes but it is carefully designed and placed so there is no pressure placed on it until osseointegration is complete. In both cases, a crown is placed on the implant either right away or within the first two weeks after implant installation. If a crown is installed the same day, it is a temporary since the permanent crown still needs to be fabricated by a ceramist.
Immediate functional loading is still being investigated since current studies show conflicting results regarding the success for this method compared to functional loading that occurs after osseointegration is well established. It may work best for patients with excellent bone density who want a tooth extracted and immediately replaced. In any event, the implant must be fitted tightly into the bone with very little movement before any functional loading takes place. If you aren’t a candidate for IFL but you still want immediate tooth restoration for cosmetic reasons, you may wish to discuss INFL with your dentist.