Dental Implant Problems

Immediate Loading of a Dental Implant

Though not common, "immediate loading" is a procedure where the surgeon may opt to build the tooth's crown right away after placing the implant into the jaw, or employing a "fixed prostheses," without the intervening recovery time for osseointegration. The benefits can include shorter treatment times, quicker recovery, less post-surgical care and preservation of the integrity of the patient's gums. Surgeons also report less expense and greater patient satisfaction [source: Leary].

Immediate loading is known as the surgery for the impatient patient, since it promises an "all-in-one" replacement procedure. However, there can be complications. Foremost is faulty or incomplete bone fusion, which can prevent the implant from developing an adequate bond with the jawbone.

That situation can lead to another potential pitfall with immediate loading. A phenomenon known as "overloading" -- or applying undue stress -- where the forces on the implant can potentially disrupt the bone fusion process, can lead to premature implant failure or rejection. As a result of this higher risk of implant failure, there is a greater likelihood that the patient will need more implants. In some respects, this is the dental implant version of "haste makes waste."

For this reason, patients with insufficient or inadequate bone mass may not be eligible for the immediate loading technique. Instead, surgeons will typically counsel patience, in order to develop a sound foundation for the implant.

Also keep in mind that the immediate loading procedure is often more expensive than conventional staged implants, which allow for more complete osseointegration [source: Dental Implant]. Since implants are not often covered by standard insurance policies, the additional cost could become an overriding factor.

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