Dental implants are becoming increasingly popular these days and it’s no wonder why. An implant is a superior tooth replacement to all other restorations on the market because they do something that the other replacements can’t – prevent bone loss.
Implants are stabilized by forming an artificial tooth root that firmly holds the tooth restoration in place so you never have to deal with embarrassing moving teeth when you speak or eat. However, you might be wondering what the implant process is like and how long the process will take. Read on in this blog from Heartwell Dental to gain a full understanding of the implant timeline.
If you have a tooth that is severely damaged or decayed and is unable to be saved with root canal treatment, it will need to be extracted. Whether or not implants can be placed immediately after extraction depends on a few factors, such as your overall health, the location of the tooth, and if you have an active infection.
Oftentimes, after a tooth extraction, you will need to wait 10 weeks for the socket to heal before implants can be placed. We can give you an accurate estimate during your consultation after performing an oral exam and assessing your jawbone.
A crucial aspect of being a suitable candidate for dental implants is having enough bone density to support the implants. However, if a patient has previously suffered from gum disease, has had missing teeth for many years, or suffers from teeth grinding, they may be missing adequate jawbone structure.
The good news is that we can create adequate bone support in the jaw by taking a bone graft from somewhere else in the body, usually the hip, and transferring it to your jaw. This is typically done several months before implant surgery to allow adequate healing time. Bone grafts need about 4 months to heal before we can place dental implants.
To begin the implant placement process, we will make an incision into your gums and implant a titanium post into your jaw. After this initial implant, it will take about 3 to 6 months for osseointegration to occur, which is when the implant fuses with the jawbone and forms an artificial tooth root.
After this has occurred, we can reopen your gums to perform the second oral surgery, which is the attachment of an abutment to the implant. This acts as the connection point between your implant and tooth restoration.
The implant procedure involves two separate oral surgeries that are performed months apart. The healing time after each surgery can range from a few days to 2 weeks depending on your overall health, the location of the implant, lifestyle, and individual healing differences.
Even though it only takes a maximum of 2 weeks to heal from the initial surgery, you will still need to wait for 3 to 6 months for osseointegration to be complete. After the second surgery, even after healing, you will need to wait about 6 weeks for the placement of the crown.
During this healing stage, you will need to stick to a soft food-only diet, avoid strenuous exercise and smoking, and in the first 24 hours, you will have limitations such as avoiding alcohol, all forms of suction, hot liquids, and rinsing your mouth.
Finally, a dental crown is fabricated at an outside dental lab from impressions that are taken of your teeth. We will match the shade of your crown to your natural teeth using a shade guide and the impressions are used as a model for the shape and size of your crown. About 6 weeks after the abutment placement, we can attach your crown to complete your entire tooth replacement.
One of the biggest advantages of dental implants is their incredibly long lifespan and low maintenance nature. You care for implants just like your natural teeth and they can last for 25 years to life with proper oral hygiene. Contact us at Heartwell Dental today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Abraam Girgis and find out if implants are right for you.