Dental Implant Evaluation

Dental Implant Evaluation

Patients as individuals have varying needs and desired outcomes. Considering this, starting with a consultation and evaluation is vital to satisfaction and the correct plan forward for dental implant optimal outcome. Asking your questions will help the patient understand what the implant evaluation process of the patient’s existing teeth entails.

Implants serve as a foundation for the prosthetic support of missing teeth. However, in the partially edentulous patient, the existing teeth may often require restorations or treatment. The existing conditions of the patient’s dental health should be evaluated and treated, when necessary. As such, preimplant prosthodontic considerations are a vital phase of the overall treatment before implant surgery. For example, the surgical decision to augment or perform >osteoplasty (with bone repair or bone grafting) before implant surgery is primarily dependent on the desired prosthetic result. Most all conventional forms of construction, from buildings to art form, require a clear vision of the end result before the project is begun.

The preimplant prosthodontic evaluation of the patient’s overall condition closely resembles traditional dentistry. When a restoring dentist first evaluates the prosthetic needs of a patient, an orderly process is required, regardless of the current state of the patient’s dentition. In other words, regardless of whether the patient has all teeth or is missing all teeth after the dentist accepts the responsibility of long-term professional guidance and treatment as necessary, a consistent approach to care is beneficial in achieving a mutually desired outcome.


What are the elements that we need to evaluate for dental implants treatment?

There are five initial elements that should be assessed in sequence and treated when and if indicated. These elements include maxillary anterior tooth position, the existing occlusal vertical dimension, the mandibular incisor edge position, the maxillary occlusal plane, and the mandibular occlusal plane. These elements are evaluated in a partially edentulous patient during the initial clinical examination and on mounted diagnostic casts (which may also serve as diagnostic wax-up procedures).

What are the specific criteria for dental implant evaluations?

After existing teeth and any restorations have been evaluated and modified where necessary, several other conditions may modify and hinder the course of implant treatment if overlooked. These conditions should be considered before the final treatment plan is presented to the patient and include the following:

  1. Lip lines
  2. Maxillomandibular arch relationship
  3. Existing occlusion
  4. Crown Height Space
  5. Temporomandibular joint status
  6. Extraction of hopeless or guarded-prognosis existing teeth
  7. Existing prostheses
  8. Arch form (ovoid, tapering, square)
  9. Natural tooth adjacent to implant site
  10. Soft tissue evaluation of edentulous sites

A large number of these items may be evaluated on the mounted diagnostic casts. Others require the direct observation of the patient. An evaluation checklist is helpful to methodically gather the data, which directly influence the treatment plan.

Esthetic and appearance factors in implant evaluations are also critical factors. On occasion, a patient’s desire for esthetic improvement may be very demanding or unrealistic. In the completely edentulous patient, a treatment denture (partial or complete) may be used to satisfy those esthetic concerns before implant surgery. Tooth shape, surface quality, size and position, tooth color, lip and soft tissue contour, tooth position, gingival color, soft tissue contour, and papilla support may all be evaluated. If the patient cannot be satisfied with the pretreatment prosthesis, it is far better to realize this before implant placement.

A high lip line in the maxilla or low lip line position in the mandible may influence the need for a specific gingival contour and color in the restoration, yet the maintenance needs of the restoration may compromise the final esthetic result. A fixed restoration must be designed to allow access for proper hygiene procedures around the teeth and implants.

A pretreatment prosthesis may help determine whether an implant-supported removable prosthesis rather than a fixed restoration is required to satisfy the patient’s esthetic goals and desires for the restoration, yet may be removed to allow proper daily maintenance. The maxillary vermillion border of this lip is usually altered by the loss of the maxillary anterior teeth. After bone is also lost, the natural support of the entire lip is often deficient. A pretreatment prosthesis can provide the required information required to determine whether a fixed prosthesis will harm esthetic expectations, support, or hygiene, in the region above the teeth.

Careful communication with the patient is of primary importance. Open dialogue can help the patient understand the evaluation and the treatment plan so that the optimal outcome can be achieved.

You may want a little background information to help you determine if it’s right for you. We’ve put together a brief list of ten questions that our patients often ask to help you know about dental implants.

What Are Dental Implants?

If you are missing a tooth or will have one removed, a dental implant is a replacement that is the closest to a real tooth. With an implant, you will be able to smile, laugh, eat, and do nearly everything you could do with an actual tooth. The reason these implants are so close to the real thing is that they include an embedded “root” as well as a connector and “crown” (replacement tooth.) This connection system is similar to how a real tooth works. To anyone else, your dental implant will look like a real tooth—and to you, it will act like one too.

Who Needs Dental Implants?

Dental implants are potentially a solution for nearly anyone who is missing one, multiple, or even a mouthful of teeth. These implants can be utilized by youth (usually age 16 or 18 or older), adults, and seniors. Only after a consultation and thorough review of your medical and dental history with your dentist will determine if dental implants are the right treatment for you.

How Does Placement of these Implants Work?

After you have met with a dental implant specialist to decide on the right treatment plan, there are a few steps involved with placing the implants. First, the implant “post” is put into the jawbone. It will take a bit of time, but the implant will fuse with your natural jaw to create a strong foundation for replacement teeth. The healing process may take time (usually around three months), but you will be able to proceed with everyday life during this time. Once the implant has bonded, a connector (call an abutment) is used to connect the implant to a replacement tooth. Then, a new tooth (or teeth) called crown is attached to this connector.

What Are Styles of Dental Implants Available?

The implant itself is usually made of titanium. The reason for this is that it has been tested and proven to be an effective replacement for the tooth root. However, there are different styles of implants utilized, depending on the shape of your mouth and other elements. Endosteal implants are the most common. These cylindrically shaped implants allow a secure connection to the jawbone. However, in some cases, Subperiosteal implants are used—usually when the jawbone will not support the traditional implant style. Both types of implants come in different sizes.

Why Would Implants Be Used Rather than Other Treatments?

Quite simply, implants are the best solution because they are more like real teeth than other replacements. Over time, you, as the patient, will be able to forget that you have implants. Dental implants look real, and they are designed to be a long-term solution. If you properly care for these implants, they can last a lifetime. This is in dramatic comparison to standard bridges that may only last 5 or 10 years.

What is Life Like After Dental Implants?

For most patients, life is much like it ever was. You can eat, smile, and do everything you would have done with your real teeth. One additional benefit is that the teeth you still have will remain healthy, and your mouth will retain its given shape. You’ll not have to worry about having your jawbone cave in or change shape. Finally, you will have to take care of your implants, but cavities will no longer be a possibility—that’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about!

What is the Cost for Dental Implants?

This is a question that is impossible to answer. The reason for this is that no two patients are alike. The cost will depend on exactly how many teeth need to be replaced if any work must be done on the jawbone and the number of appointments required. However, in most cases, you could estimate the cost of around $3000 to $4000 per tooth. The good news is most cases. We can break down the cost in monthly payments as low as $100 to $250 per month, depending on your credit score and other factors.

Are Dental Implants Safe?

Ask any patient that has had implants over the last 30 years what they think! Time and time again, these implants have been proven to be a safe solution when installed by a skilled dentist in a patient that is the right candidate.

How Do I Care for My Implants?

Caring for implants is quite simple. The crown is bonded to the implant, and you should not have any worry about it breaking or slipping. Brush, floss, and maintain regular dental care. You and your dentist will work as a team to keep your implants looking good and feeling good.

Are Implants Right for Me?

You will have to discuss your situation with your dentist to find answers to this question. In a vast majority of cases, dental implants are a fantastic solution for effortless good looks and comfort.  If you would like to learn more about dental implants or to schedule an appointment for a free consultation and initial X-ray, reach out to us at Houston dental implant today or call us at 713-322-7474.

We look forward to helping you with more information about dental implants.