Every patient presents with different circumstances and the duration of your dental implant procedure will depend on the type and number of procedures you need to replace your missing teeth. Dental implants are a permanent tooth replacement and can last for the rest of your lifetime with proper care. Let’s unpack the question of how long do dental implants take so you can prepare yourself.
How Does Dental Implant Surgery Work?
Dental implant surgery is a misleading term because the dental implant only makes up one step of the entire dental implant procedure. Before you can try to ascertain how long your implant surgery will take, you need to have a consultation with your dentist. During the consultation, your dental practitioner will inspect your mouth and teeth. He or she may take digital photographs and x-rays. Once the assessment is complete you will be presented with a treatment plan and cost estimate.
Your treatment plan will include all the steps that will be necessary to replace your lost tooth. These steps differ between patients and are dependent on your personal treatment needs. Some of the steps that may be required may include
Some patients may still have their damaged or diseased tooth and might need it to be extracted first. Other patients may have lost their tooth some time ago and as a consequence may experience bone loss.
Patients who have experienced underlying bone loss after the loss of a tooth or teeth may first need a bone graft to be able to support their dental implant. This happens often when a tooth has been lost for a long time. Without tooth roots to stimulate the jaw bone, these patients can lose bone density in their upper or lower jaw.
If you only need a minor bone graft it may be possible to do the grafting in the same sitting as the implant placement. If you need a major graft, your dentist will do the bone graft as a separate procedure. You will need to wait for a period of three to six months before your jaw starts to generate new bone tissue before your dental implants can be placed.
Placing The Dental Implant
During dental implant surgery, which is performed under anaesthetic, small holes are drilled through your gum and into your jaw. Your dentist will surgically embed your dental implants into these holes. The placement of your dental implant may only take 60 to 90 minutes, but you will have to undergo a waiting period of three to six months in order for your dental implants to be integrated by your k-jaw. During this process called osseointegration, the jaw bone grows around the implant, incorporating it and restoring bite function and jaw strength.
Attaching The Abutment
Once the dental implant has been integrated, your dentist needs to fit the abutment. This is the extension piece between the implant and the dental crown. In order to do this, the surgical site needs to be reopened and closed up again. You will undergo another waiting period so that your gums heal. While this happens, you will wear a temporary crown.
Placing The Dental Crown
When your dentist is satisfied with your healing process and your implant is ready, you will return for your permanent crown. Your dentist will match it so that it doesn’t stand out next to your other teeth. Once the crown has been placed you will be able to bite and chew with the same force as your natural teeth.
The duration of each stage of your dental implant procedure will be dependent on the number of teeth you are replacing. A full mouth restoration will take much longer to complete than a single dental implant.
What Are The Benefits Of Implants?
While it is true that dental implant surgery is a long term process, the benefits and advantages are unparalleled by other tooth replacements. If you do go ahead with implant surgery you can look forward to
- A realistic and natural tooth replacement
- A strong tooth replacement that is permanent
- An improvement in your self-confidence and facial aesthetics
How Long Does Recovery Take?
Because most steps are surgical in nature, you do need to factor your recovery time into your future plans. While the preliminary bleeding and swelling should improve in seven to 10 days after each procedure, it will take a few months for your gums and soft tissue to heal completely. You can expect to eat soft foods during this time and will need to exercise meticulous dental hygiene to ensure the surgical site is kept clean and free of bacteria.
Are You Eligible For Tooth Implants?
In order to be eligible for tooth implants, patients need
- Healthy gums
- To be non-smokers, as smokers have an elevated risk of complications
- Not to suffer from any unmanaged chronic health conditions or conditions that compromise the body’s ability to heal.
If you want to find out more about the dental implant procedure, or for a more personalised answer to the question of how long do dental implants take, you need to speak to a professional. Please contact us for an appointment: (03) 9626 9581.