The Dental Implant Process – What are the next Steps?

Step One: FREE Initial Chat with Our Patient Care Coordinator, Sue

When you choose Kenilworth Dental Practice for dental implants, you’re in very experienced hands. We believe in a team approach where you’ll benefit from the knowledge and experience of a range of different experts along your journey with us (not just one person). We also believe in building a good, long term personal relationship with all our patients. This has been the foundation of our success both in our Dental Implant clinic as well as our Cosmetic Clinic.

In the spirit of a team approach and building excellent relationships, to find out a little bit more you’re first invited to book a FREE initial 121 chat, over a cup of (sugar free!) tea or coffee, with our very popular & tremendously experienced ‘Patient Care Coordinator’ and Practice Manager, Sue Sketchley. Sue has over 35 years’ experience and accomplishments in dentistry. She’s been at the forefront of helping us to devise and develop the unique role of a ‘Patient Care Coordinator’ exclusively at Kenilworth Dental Practice.

What does a ‘Patient Care Coordinator’ do?

This isn’t a clinical assessment with a dentist, it’s a FREE (non-clinical), informal & personal 121 conversation in a quiet part of our lovely building. Sue will find out more about you as a person and what your specific needs are. She’ll ask how you feel about your teeth as well as explaining more about how dental implants work. You’ll discuss whether dental implants in general will be the right solution for you as a person and what the next steps would be if you were still interested. You can ask as many questions as you like. Compared to a brief chat (e.g. at the end of a routine check-up with a general dentist), with a Patient Care Coordinator there are certainly no time pressures. Indeed, the sense of not being rushed is why feedback on our FREE Patient Coordinator Service is so great, our patients tell us that it actually allows them to properly understand what might be involved without committing to anything, and there is never any pressure or obligation from us to proceed. This stage doesn’t involve seeing any dentists. If you decide to go further, you’d then be invited back to have a thorough detailed (payable) clinical consultation with Dr. Arjun Kachhala.

You Don’t Already Need to Be a Registered Patient of Kenilworth Dental Practice

It could be that you’re already a registered patient and after a routine check-up, one of our dentists may have recommended speaking further with Sue about dental implants if you already have gaps. Or, you may be about to have a tooth removed and our dentists may have recommended booking a free chat with Sue to discuss the importance of planning its replacement in advance.

Alternatively, you might not be registered with us and you may have been considering the best way to replace a missing tooth or teeth for a while?

Either way, everybody is welcome to experience our FREE 121 Patient Coordinator service; you don’t already need to be a registered patient with us.

The chat with Sue takes place in a relaxing environment, where we really try to understand your requirements and answer all of your questions. Our patient feedback shows that this first step is a hugely popular and valued part of the overall ‘patient experience’. There is no pressure and no obligation to proceed any further after this stage. Based on other patients, you should allow for about an hour when you book your free chat with Sue.

Step Two: Photographs and Gathering additional Information

If you want to proceed further, the next stage is to find out even more detail about you and your specific needs, so that we can meet your expectations. We will ask you to complete a comprehensive questionnaire about your dental health, as well as a number of other important forms, including asking you about your daily tooth-brushing/flossing habits and your daily intake of sugar-this really is a thorough process!

We’ll also arrange for you to have a detailed series of digital clinical photographs taken of your teeth and mouth.

Feedback consistently shows that photographs help our patients to point to, describe or communicate their specific concerns in a much more enhanced way. Photographs also enable us as dentists to start considering the solutions that might be possible for you.

Step Three: Comprehensive Consultation and Assessment with Dr. Kachhala

At the next stage, after a few days, we’ll invite you to return for a detailed consultation and assessment, where you’ll finally meet with our award-winning owner, Dr Arjun Kachhala.

Dr. Arjun Kachhala will carry out a detailed, meticulous oral health assessment and diagnosis experience for you. The overall experience takes approximately 3-4 hours.

Before the Clinical Assessment: Meeting and Discussion with Dr. Kachhala

Firstly, on the assessment day itself, you’ll have the opportunity to sit down in a private, relaxing lounge (i.e. away from the dental surgery room) for a lengthy initial discussion with Dr Kachhala. Here you’ll have the opportunity to talk about your requirements and your ideal outcome directly with Arjun. This is another opportunity for us to get to know each other really well and to ensure that we’re available to answer all your questions without being rushed for time. This initial discussion is focused on you and your needs only.

During the discussion, we’ll also go through your clinical photographs with you. We will explain what they show and we’ll clarify exactly what we understand about the current state of your teeth and gums, without judgment.

To reduce the likelihood of future problems, during the discussion we’ll also be advising you in detail about ideal tooth-brushing and flossing habits, your intake of daily sugar and various other important factors which may impact on your future oral health, including smoking.

Our process helps us to build up an accurate picture of the likely risk of problems occurring in the future. Our aim is to educate you in a personalised and informative way and to stabilise the long term health of your mouth, such that the need for any unexpected future treatment is eliminated and your mouth becomes far more predictable. After you have been assessed by us we really want YOU to be in control of the future health of your whole mouth!

For example, during the discussion, it may be that you’re unaware of how to brush your teeth effectively or indeed it may be that you don’t floss daily. So, we’ll offer you advice and a demonstration on the best tooth-brushing or flossing technique. This is also so that if you have any complex treatment with us, it will last as long as possible. Additionally, any personalised preventive advice that we offer you will also give the rest of your teeth, fillings and gums the best chance of remaining stable, healthy and predictable in the long term.

This initial discussion segment takes around an hour, after which we then take you through to one of our cutting-edge dental surgeries for a full mouth clinical assessment.

Your Detailed Assessment

In great detail, Dr Kachhala will assess the health of your: Bite; Jaw Joint; Teeth; Existing fillings, crowns/caps; Soft Tissues; Chewing muscles; Plaque levels and Gum health and much more. He will also carry out a detailed Oral Cancer Screen of your mouth. To aid the final diagnosis you may then be referred for scans to gain further information about the quality and amount of bone available for dental implants.

Once Arjun has confirmed an accurate diagnosis, he will then begin to formulate his recommendations for your individual treatment plan, one which suits your needs. For a thoughtful treatment plan, Arjun will also include all the original information you’ve provided when speaking to Sue, as well as all the information in your questionnaires.

We will provide you with a transparent and unambiguous breakdown of the costs for your proposed treatment plan.

Before you can have dental implants, you need to be ‘dentally fit’, so your treatment plan may include some recommendations for additional preventative dental work. This is because we want to prevent problems for you moving forward and hopefully stabilise your dental health to the point that you may only need to see us for routine check-ups once per 12, 15 or 18 months, instead of every 6 months.

In summary, this really is a comprehensive appointment, not rushed, which also focuses on educating you in detail. It’s a carefully-designed assessment process, during which Arjun will consider your needs and how we can give your teeth and gums the best possible health for the long term future.

Step Four: Placing the implant(s) with Dr. Arun

After the diagnosis and treatment plan has been agreed, once you’ve confirmed that you want to go ahead with your treatment, you’d be referred to our implant dentist Dr. Srinivas Arun who with your blessing would take on the initial surgical phase of the implant treatment plan formulated by Arjun.

Dr. Arun is a senior dental associate at Kenilworth Dental Practice and he’s also exceptionally skilled and talented with dental implants. He’s been placing dental implants for nearly ten years and our feedback shows that he’s very popular because of his reassuring and gentle approach.

Typically, dental implant surgery takes one to two hours, and is carried out under very strong local anaesthetic by Dr. Arun. The treatment is pain free.

After the surgery, it will take approximately seven to fourteen days for your gums to heal. We’ll give you detailed post-operative care instructions and a course of antibiotics to help prevent infection.

It could take up to 4-6 months for the implant to fully integrate within your jawbone.

Dr. Arun will continue to review you until he has verified that the implant has fully integrated into the jawbone. Once this has been confirmed, you would be discharged back to the care of Dr. Arjun Kachhala for the final phase of treatment.

Step Five: Fitting the ‘restoration’ with Dr. Kachhala

Once we’re satisfied that the dental implant/s is secure and the bone has successfully integrated, Arjun would take a further 2-3 appointments over 4-5 weeks to take impressions (jaw moulds) and other records to make the final implant retained crown or implant retained bridge (in dentistry, this is fittingly termed the ‘restoration’).

Our skilled dental technicians will painstakingly create a bespoke implant retained crown (or bridge), which fits on to and is secured to the dental implant/s. It usually takes three weeks for an implant crown or bridge to be made.

The implant retained crown or implant retained bridge would be fitted and you would finally have a tooth/teeth to bite, chew, smile and talk with again.

A fully functioning Bite and Smile!

From your first chat with our patient care coordinator to finally having teeth fitted, it takes on average up to 5 or 6 months, but this depends on each individual case.

You will have a fully functioning tooth that should enable you to bite, chew, eat and talk with ease. Depending on the position of your implant, your smile will also look complete.