What are Delayed Placement Implants?

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Delayed placement implants are essentially the opposite of immediate loading implants. Instead of the replacement tooth being placed immediately into the implant, the implant is performed and then given time to heal. After around 3-6 months the replacement tooth is then fitted.

Ask your dentist about the pros and cons of either procedure. Your case is completely individual and what works for one person may not work for you.

How delayed placement implants work

Delayed placement implants work in exactly the same way as immediate loading implants. The only difference is that there is a gap between introducing the implant and fitting the replacement tooth into it.

First, your dentist will cut into your gum to give access to your jawbone. Then the implant, which is basically a ‘slot’ for your new replacement tooth, will be fitted into your jaw. Once the implant is fixed, your dentist will then surgically stitch up your gum.

If you were undergoing immediate loading implantation your dentist would not stitch your gum and would instead immediately insert your new replacement tooth into the implant. However, in delayed placement implantation your implant is given a few months to heal and fully osseointergrate with your jawbone. This means that the implant will become fully anchored into your bone, allowing your new replacement to be inserted into a strong foundation.

The waiting period between implantation and your tooth replacement can range from 3-6 months depending on the strength of your bones, the success of your implant and the opinion of your dentist.

After the waiting period your dentist will reopen your gum so that your replacement tooth/teeth can be inserted into the implant.

Advantages of delayed placement implants

There are numerous advantages of delayed placement implants. The most convincing reason is that the more time your jaw and implant are given to osseointergrate, the more likely it is that your procedure will be a complete success. Immediate loading surgery can put strain on both your jawbone and your dental implant which increases the risk of complications. These complications could include rejection of your implant by your body.

Rejection and failure of dental implants is far more likely when you undergo immediate loading surgery. If your body rejects the implant, the fixture will not osseointergrate which means it will not fix successfully into your jawbone. If this happens it can lead to pain, discomfort and the ultimate failure of your dental implant. This can waste an awful lot of your time and money.

Another benefit if opting for delayed implantation is that it is a far more common practice compared to immediate loading implantation. Many dentists will feel much more comfortable performing delayed implant surgery, not to mention more confident that the procedure will be successful. Immediate loading implants are becoming more and more common but the majority of dentists will feel more confident performing delayed placement implants. This way they can monitor the healing and osseointergration process and have a better chance of success.

Yet another advantage is that delayed placement implants can be cheaper to perform, although this may vary depending on your practitioner.

Disadvantages of delayed placement implants

There are disadvantages to the delayed placement technique. The wait is an obvious downside and many people want their teeth to be perfect as soon as possible. Often people are unwilling to go through the hassle of wearing a temporary denture while they wait for their implant to heal and so opt for immediate loading implants.

That said, if you are patient enough the benefits of delayed placement are huge. There is a higher chance of success and you can save yourself the possible pain and expense of your implant being rejected.

Won’t I be left with a gap for months?

Not necessarily. Obviously you can choose to leave the gap unfilled but if you are not comfortable with this you can easily wear a denture for the months it takes your implant to heal and osseointergrate. Of course a denture is not ideal, often a patient undergoing dental implant surgery is trying to escape wearing dentures, but, on balance, the long-term benefits frequently outweigh the short term downside of wearing a denture. Your dentist will be able to recommend a suitable temporary replacement during the healing period.

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