If you want to know how long does a dental implant take, you should remember that although the dental implant procedure may take less than an hour to complete, collectively it could take up to 18 months from start to finish, depending on what you need done. Dental implants are not a quick-fix solution but they do offer the longest-lasting tooth replacement for lost or missing teeth.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is an artificial root that is surgically embedded into your jawbone. Once the root has integrated with your jaw bone, your dental practitioner will place a dental crown over the top. Its job is to function and look like a natural tooth, and it mitigates a number of the risks associated with other types of tooth replacement.
Why Does The Dental Implant Procedure Take So Long?
Much of a dental implant’s success rate is down to good planning. That means the correct type, size and shape of implant should be selected. It should also be surgically placed by a suitably qualified and experienced dental professional, in order for a number of potential side effects and complications to be avoided.
At your first consultation your dental practitioner will inspect your mouth and teeth. He or she will take x-rays and digital photographs to assess your jaw bone. In the event that you do not have enough jaw to hold the dental implants but you are otherwise a good candidate for dental implant surgery, your dentist may recommend a bone graft. If you do need one, this step will have to be performed first, and you will have to wait for a certain period of time before you can move forward with placing the implant.
What Steps Are Followed?
Once you have been assessed your dental practitioner will create a treatment plan that details your tooth replacement options. You will also be presented with a cost estimate and an timeline or completion.
The timeline for your procedure will depend on the steps that need to be taken in your treatment plan.
What Can You Expect From A Dental Implant Procedure?
Placing Dental Implants
Once you have agreed to the treatment plan, the first step is to place the dental implants into your jaw. In order to do this, little holes need to be drilled into your jaw, which is done under anaesthetic. Then your dentist will screw the implant in.
So, Just How Long Does A Dental Implant Take?
The actual placement of your dental implant can take around an hour. It may take up to two hours if you are having more than one implant placed, or if your dental implant procedure is complex.
You will need to undergo a period of healing, and everyone’s healing timeline is different. You can expect to recover from the surgery in a few days but your overall recovery after dental implants will take a few months. During this time it is important that you avoid an infection at the implant site as this can cause complications. You must keep your mouth clean and avoid touching the site unnecessarily.
In order for dental implants to be stable, they must integrate with your jawbone during a process called osseo-integration. This can take three to nine months to complete so you need to be patient.
Placing The Abutment
Once your dentist is satisfied with your healing it will be time to place the abutment. The abutment is an extension that connects the dental implant to the dental crown. In order for it to be attached however, your dentist needs to open up the incision. This means you need to go through another period of healing before your crown can be attached. You may wear a temporary crown during this stage.
Placing The Dental Crown
Once you have healed from the placement of the abutment it will be time to place the dental crown. Once your crown is affixed you can look forward to a fully functional tooth that can withstand the forces of biting and chewing like the other teeth in your mouth.
Speeding Up Recovery After Dental Implant Procedure
Some degree of swelling and bruising can be expected after dental implants. You may also consider some mild pain relief if you experience any pain. You may also bleed a little from the site.
While your dentist will do some risk management to endure your dental implant procedure goes smoothly, there are measures you can take yourself.
Remember to keep your mouth clean and not to touch the implant site with your tongue or finger. Avoid very hard, cold and hot foods and drinks. Stick to soft foods in the 48 hours after surgery and try to chew on the other side of your mouth.
If you haven’t quit smoking yet, avoid it after your surgery to minimise your chances of complications.
If you want to know more about how long does a dental implant take, and whether you are a candidate for dental implants it’s best to speak to a professional. Please call us for an appointment: (03) 9626 9581.