The difference between two-stage and one-stage implants
Perhaps your tooth has already been taken out, or it’s about to be removed. The first decision you made is whether it’s a tooth you want to replace. Then, once you’ve decided to replace it, the next decision brought you to dental implants as your preferred solution.
Dental implants are the most secure, fully functional and permanent way to replace a tooth. But now, thanks to advancements in the field, you might have another decision to make: one- or two-stage implant surgeries.
In their modern form, dental implants are relatively new in medicine. It wasn’t discovered until the second half of the 20th century how well bone can adhere to titanium, which was later developed into today’s dental implants. The process of your jaw bonding to the implant—called osseointegration—is the key to the success of implant technology. If the bone and implant don’t bond properly, that can lead to an unsuccessful implant.
Surgical advancements have brought with them new options
Osseointegration takes at least a couple of months, and sometimes between three and six. Patients were traditionally left without even a temporary crown to fill the gap in their teeth while this bone healing was underway. Both aesthetically and functionally, this has been a challenge for patients.
After the implant undergoes osseointegration, in traditional two-stage implants a second surgery is required to uncover the dental implant before placing the core and the permanent crown.
With new technologies, we can now offer a single surgery to patients. The implant is placed, sometimes in the same procedure as when the tooth is removed. And then, a healing cap is put over the implant and sutured into place. This eliminates the need to uncover the implant once osseointegration has taken place and you’re ready for your permanent crown.
In some cases, a temporary crown can be placed over the healing cap. This is especially attractive for patients getting front teeth removed—given the option, most prefer to walk out of surgery with their smile in place.
What additional considerations are there?
Your doctor will discuss your options in detail. Depending on your situation and medical status, one-stage implants might be the best fit for you. Particularly for front-facing teeth, even when a temporary crown is not possible, the quicker healing process seen with one-stage implants can mean that your permanent crown is placed sooner.
For some patients, less stability in the bone can mean that a one-stage surgery isn’t an option. It will also depend on the height and condition of your gums—in every case, it starts with a conversation with your doctor.
One-stage implants and temporary crowns
In the case that you do opt for a one-stage surgery, and you have the option of a temporary crown, remember that the osseointegration process is still equally important as it would be with a two-stage implant. The temporary crown means that some patients may not remain conscientious, and ultimately chew as normal over the temporary crown. It looks normal, and feels normal—but it shouldn’t be treated as a normal tooth. Excess pressure can damage the implant and set healing time back.
Even if a temporary crown is not an option after the placement of your implant, the one-stage surgery can still mean shorter healing time—not to mention one surgery in place of two. Start with a consultation to learn about your options.