How Long do Dental Implants Take?
Rockford Dental implants are a widely coveted solution for missing teeth. Not only do they perform head and shoulders above yesterday’s conventional dentures, they’re also far more comfortable and attractive, to boot! With all the functionality and ease of use that dental implants provide, it’s no surprise that many patients are eager to get the process of obtaining them started and finished. Surprisingly for some, the placement of dental implants is a process that takes months rather than weeks to complete. While they do take a while, most patients agree: they’re well worth the wait! This article will outline the steps and timeline of each stage.
Initial Consultation, Exams, and Medical Review
During the initial stages, you’ll work with your dentist to explore the viability of dental implants. In order to determine your candidacy for dental implants, your dentist will first explain the process, ask some questions, and allow time for you to ask questions, as well.
Next, she or he will perform and examination of your teeth and will most likely take X-rays, as well. This will help them to understand the underlying structure of the jaw as well as the availability of healthy bone mass. For those under the age of 20, this will also help your dentist determine if skeletal maturity has yet been met, which is an important condition of having dental implants placed. While there is no upper age limit for dental implants, it is imperative that the jaw be fully formed and no longer moving or changing by the time dental implants are placed.
If it is determined that you do not have enough healthy bone mass to support dental implants, it is possible that your dentist may recommend bone grafting before you are able to move forward with the process.
At this time, your dentist will also ask you about any underlying health conditions you may be experiencing. It is important that you are transparent with your dentist about these conditions; while most will not undermine your candidacy for dental implants, being aware of any medical conditions or medications taken to treat them can help them avoid any potential complications before or after surgery.
The first step in placing dental implants is the most involved and the mostly lengthy in terms of time to completion. While the surgical procedure itself takes only a couple hours, during which the implant fixture is embedded into the jawbone, the time between this initial procedure and the second step in implant placement takes anywhere from two to four months. While the healing of the soft tissues is much quicker to take place, the most important part of this stage is that of osseointegration; the fusing of the implant fixture with the bone of the jaw. Only once this process is complete can the next step be taken.
Following the integration of the implant fixure with the jawbone, the rest of the process is relatively quick. First, a small connecting piece is attached to the top of the implant fixture below the gum line. In some case, these tissues are first allowed to heal for a few weeks before proceeding to the next step; in others, progression to the next step can happen at the same time.
Lastly, the prosthetic crown or implant-retained bridge or crown is then attached, and the process is complete. All told, this is usually a process of 3 to 6 months, depending on individual patient needs. For a more individualized timeline surrounding the placement of dental implants, please call our office today for a personal consultation.