Delayed loading dental implant technique

The delayed loading implant procedure has been the mainstay of implant dentistry for many years. It is a two stage process in which the implant is inserted, followed by a period of healing (up to 6 months) before the replacement teeth are fitted. An alternative to this is the immediate loading implant technique in which implants and replacement teeth are fitted in a single procedure. 

The first stage involves placing the implant; the second stage involves the fitting of the abutment (small connector) to the implant followed by the replacement teeth (bridge, crown or denture). The abutment acts as a connection point or anchor for the replacement teeth.

Following implant placement the implant fuses with the jawbone in a process called ‘osseointegration’. This usually takes up to 6 months. Once this has occurred the implant is then ready for the replacement tooth.

For many dentists, delayed loading is the preferred choice of procedure due to a lower risk of implant failure. It is also seen as an easier procedure to perform than immediate loading.

Advantages of delayed loading

There are a few advantages to this procedure which include:

  • Less risk of implant fracture/failure
  • Cheaper than immediate loading
  • Fewer implants required which lowers costs in many cases with the exception of the All-on-4 procedure.

Plus osseointegration will have taken place which means that the implants have a firm base and will provide plenty of support to the replacement teeth.

What are the disadvantages of delayed loading implants?

The main one is that of having to wait until osseointegration takes place before the replacement teeth are fitted. The procedure is in two stages: the first stage involves the insertion of the implant which is followed by a period of ‘rest’ for 3 to 6 months. This rest period allows the implants to heal and fuse with the bone.

The second stage involves fitting the replacement teeth to the implant. You will be fitted with temporary dentures or a bridge in the interim stage whilst osseointegration takes place.

Most people choose the immediate loading implant for reasons of convenience. They don’t want to wait for up to 6 months to get their replacement teeth. Plus they dislike the idea of having to wear a temporary denture while they wait.

There are several procedures to choose from but learn as much as you can about them and discuss any concerns you may have with your implant dentist at your consultation. He or she will be in the best position to advise you about the most appropriate treatment for you.