If you’re thinking about having dental implants, you probably already know dental implants are a great choice of tooth replacement. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots placed below the gums’ surface and secured to the jawbone. This means they look and feel just like natural teeth, but it is a multi-stage process and takes a while to complete. So, just how long does the dental implant procedure take? It’s best to get an opinion from a dentist that offers consultation appointments, but we outline how each stage takes below.
The Dental Implant Procedure Stages
The dental implant procedure involves several vital stages that typically take several months to complete from start to finish. This involves the initial consultation and suitability assessment, the dental implant surgery and the completion of the implant procedure with the attachment of your new artificial tooth.
Initial Consultation and Suitability Assessment
Dental implants are one of the most sought-after treatments for replacing missing teeth. It’s easy to see why. They are robust, stable, and look and act like natural teeth. Furthermore, with reasonable care, they can last a lifetime. However, although popular, they are not suitable for everyone. There is meticulous planning involved in the process to determine whether you are ideal for the procedure, which will help ensure your implant’s longevity.
During the initial consultation, an examination of your mouth and jawbone will be conducted, and tests, such as x-rays and CT scans taken of your mouth. The dentist will ask about your goals from the treatment and your health history, as these can affect the suitability for dental implants. This part of the process typically takes between 1 and 2 hours.
It’s necessary to have a clean bill of oral health before you are considered for a dental implant procedure. If you have tooth decay or evidence of gum disease, these will both need to be treated before the implant treatment begins. The treatment also requires a viable, healthy jawbone to hold the implant. If you have bone loss in the jawbone, it may be challenging to place the implant. However, it is possible to have a bone graft to increase bone availability, a standard dental procedure for patients with dental implants.
Some medical conditions may make it more difficult for dental implants. Still, as each case is taken on its own merits, if you have diabetes, auto-immune disease, blood clotting disorder or other long-term health issues, you may be suitable for implants, depending on how well managed your condition is. However, your answer to ‘how long does the dental implant procedure take’ may be several months longer than someone without any health issues. Get a consultation at your local dental clinic to discuss whether your health problems may be a complication.
The risk of implant failure in people who smoke is significantly greater than in non-smokers. We’re all aware of the damage smoking does to the body, but as the mouth is the first recipient of cigarette toxins, it can have far-reaching consequences for dental implants.
The implants are placed into the jawbone in a surgical procedure.
After surgery, the body requires good blood flow to transport nutrients to the wound site to help tissue repair and fight infection.
Smoking diminishes blood flow, putting this process at risk and increasing the risk of disease that may result in implant failure.
Furthermore, long-term smokers are more susceptible to gum disease that destroys the gum, bone and other tissues that support teeth. It can also lead to peri-implantitis—a similar condition that affects the tissue surrounding dental implants—eventually leading to implant failure.
Dental Implant Procedure Surgery
The dental implant procedure is performed in the dentist’s office—typically under a local anaesthetic. But, if you are anxious about the surgery, conscious sedation may be offered. This relaxes patients, so they are still aware of requests from the dentist to perform simple tasks, such as opening their mouths but are unlikely to remember anything. Many people feel as though they have been asleep when they have been awake through the whole procedure.
The procedure involves making a flap incision on the gum. This is so the dentist can access the jawbone. A hole is drilled in the bone, and the implant is placed. The implant is covered when the gum is stitched back into position and left to heal. During the healing process, osseointegration occurs— when the dental implants and jawbone fuse together, after which the artificial tooth can be attached.
How long does the dental implant procedure take to complete after surgery? Typically, osseointegration takes four to six months, but if you have had a bone graft, it could be as long as a year.
Attachment of Artificial Tooth
The final part of the dental implant procedure is completed once the artificial tooth is attached. This is a straightforward procedure performed in the dentist’s office under a local anaesthetic to numb the gum. A small cut is made to expose the implant, and the artificial tooth is attached using a connector (abutment) that joins them together. This part of the process takes less than an hour.
How Long Does The Dental Implant Procedure Take from Start to Finish?
To recap, the dental implant procedure generally takes four to six months from initial consultation to attachment of an artificial tooth. However, if you have health issues, it can take up to a year. Book a consultation near you to find out more about dental implants. Contact Pearl Dental Care in St Marys today.
Mayo Clinic: Cavities/tooth decay
Web MD: Gingivitis and periodontal disease (gum disease)
Healthline: What you need to know about a dental bone graft