Sometimes our practice runs into the situation where a patient is in the middle of dental implant treatment and has moved here from out of state.

In other words, the implant process was begun in the patient’s former locale, and the patient is in the healing period, waiting for the dental implant(s) to fuse to the bone.

Assuming the implant was placed in a reasonably acceptable position, a dentist elsewhere that has dental implant experience can restore the implant. This helps avoid possibly traveling hundreds of miles for the few visits it takes to place a tooth on the implant.

Although there are many different manufacturers, shapes and sizes of dental implants, most go together in a similar fashion.

Different types of dental implants need to be identified and the proper parts obtained in order to restore them. Most of the time there is an impression abutment. This is sized to a unique implant brand and placed on the implant to record an impression of where the implant is located.

Using this record, the dental laboratory can then manufacture precise fitting abutment and a final crown.

The teeth that show in the smile is called the “esthetic zone.” Since esthetics is of prime consideration, the lab will almost always construct a custom abutment for the crown to go on. In this area, it is of great importance that the implant was placed in a desirable location so that the final crown replacement appears to be growing out of the gum consistent with the adjacent teeth.

Another instance where dental implants can be a challenge is when they are very old or obsolete and there is no one to contact for information about what size and type they are. Usually there are more modern compatible parts for these situations and it can take quite an investigation to find them.

The technology with dental implants is constantly improving. Whether it is an implant placed 20 years ago or 2 years ago, most dentists with implant training can seamlessly pick up a case where another professional has left off and complete the restoration successfully.

James G. Jenkins, D.M.D. is the owner of Bluffton Dental Care in Bluffton.