There are various reasons why people consider undergoing a dental implants procedure. For some, it's simply because they want to retain a new or existing denture, while others want to completely replace teeth due to tooth decay, infections, or gum disease.
The time frame of the procedure can vary depending on the health of the patient and the type of implant procedure required. In this article, we'll discuss dental implants in detail and take you through how long a dental implant procedure may take.
Dental Implants Explained
Dental implant surgery replaces damaged tooth roots using titanium with artificial porcelain or zirconia teeth that are exactly like real teeth, with the same functionality and appearance. A dental implant is an alternative for other cosmetic dentistry procedures such as dentures or bridgework.
As mentioned above, the stages, timeframe, and actual depth of the surgery depends on the condition of the patient's jawbone.
The prime benefit of getting dental implants is crafting solid support or base for your new teeth. This particular process needs the bone to heal around the implant fully. If the healing process takes more time, the dental implant procedure may be delayed by up to six months.
The Four Phases of Getting a Dental Implant
There's no fixed time frame for the procedure; but it can take up to three months for some, while other patients who need more time for their healing process may take over six to twelve months. Based on your oral health, the stages may vary.
1. Dental Assessment and Surgery Preparation
Your cosmetic dentist will first take a look at your oral health and examine your jawbone, gums, the condition of your roots, and finally, your tooth. Then, depending on your oral health, your dentist will run a few tests to verify and evaluate your dental condition before determining the procedures required.
Dentists need to be allowed time to prepare for the procedure of dental implants as they need to match the color of your teeth precisely and make sure that you are all set to start the surgery preparation.
Your dentist will prescribe medications and provide a surgery preparation checklist that may include taking antibiotics before dental implant surgery.
2. Artificial Root Placement
The second phase of getting a dental implant done is artificial root placement. This basically means inserting a titanium "screw" to fuse with the bone tissue, enabling a new "root" to form.
The procedure includes local anesthesia and sometimes pre-operative sedation. Your dental surgeon will then make an incision in to your gums, expose your jawbone, and prepare the implant site with a series of surgical drills. Next, it is screwed in, and the exposed gum is stitched back over it. This procedure can take up to a couple of hours.
Once this stage of placing an artificial root is complete, your dentist will then move on to crown placement, which is the third stage.
3. Post Surgery Care
Expect that you will experience some discomfort and pain post-surgery. For example, your gums and face are likely to swell, and bruises on your skin may appear, followed by pain and light bleeding. Sometimes people feel little to no discomfort but it is important to expect some pain which actually is a really good sign because it indicates healing is taking place.
Your doctor will prescribe post-care medications to ease your pain and advise you to take care of your dental health while you are still healing. For example, you may need pain medications or antibiotics after dental implant surgery.
4. Crown Placement
With the added benefit of a gum healing cap, 3 months post-surgery, your dentist can take an impression to make your final crown, bridge or implant retained partial or denture.
When Is Bone Grafting Required?
As explained earlier, bone grafting maybe added to the second phase of the dental implant procedure. It is required to hold your teeth in place when your jawbone does not have the strength in terms of thickness. A bone graft is done to improve the strength of the implant base.
There are a few bone graft materials that can be used to restore a jawbone. They are natural bone grafts taken from another part of your body or synthetic bone graft that uses a bone substitute.
The healing process of bone grafting can take months, as you need to allow the transplanted bones to grow properly before undergoing dental implant surgery. There are minor bone grafting procedures, too; it all depends on the jawbone's health.
What Is a "Same Day" Implant?
As outlined in the above sections, there is little to no room for same-day implants. Although some dental surgeons advertise to practice same-day implants on their patients, it does invite risks or implant failures.
For any surgery to be successful, doctors and patients need to understand that the different parts of the body take their own time to heal and grow, especially when procedures or implants are involved. Therefore, it's essential to assess, evaluate, and act accordingly.
Speeding the process or skipping necessary stages could lead to more complications and pain. We highly recommend you work with a doctor who will follow proper methodology to ensure long-term success.
Is A Dental Implant Worth It?
The answer is yes. Dental implants are mostly successful, and if you are concerned about having additional phases of treatment, you must discuss them with a doctor you can trust. In addition, cosmetic dentistry can be expensive and demands that patients cooperate with their surgeons by showing up for regular checkups and surgery stages.
Your implant will last you longer if you practice regular oral hygiene, avoid damaging habits such as smoking, and most importantly, see your dentist regularly.
Restoring your teeth should not be delayed if you have concerns about your dental health deteriorating or a missing tooth is bothering you in your daily life. Remember that failing or decayed teeth will eventually damage your gums and can lead to painful infections. They say, "Take care of your teeth, and they'll take care of you." So regardless of how long it takes to get a successful dental implant, you should get your teeth evaluated today!