Dental implants are artificial, successful, long-lasting, and natural-looking substitute for missing teeth or for supporting dentures. Implants are highly successful, they are designed in such a way to look, feel, and act like natural teeth. Having a dental implant is more than just fixing some fake teeth in your mouth. The placement of implants takes time, it actually fuse directly to your jaw bone becoming one with your living bone structure. The placement involves surgical replacement of missing or damaged tooth and roots with artificial tooth and roots.
Dental implants procedure time
If you are planning to get an implant, it can be helpful to know about the required time commitment for the treatment. The required time for your implants will vary based on a number of factors, including your special needs and the condition of your jawbone and gum tissues. Before you receive your implants, your dentist must ensure that you are a good candidate for dental implants and begin planning your personal procedure.
If you have suffered jawbone recession and your jaw does not have sufficient bone to support implants, you may require a bone graft. Depending on the number of implants you are going to receive, it usually take about an hour to receive one implant. Also depending on the nature of your jawbone, bone grafting and regenerative treatments will affect your implant timeline. If there is need for a bone graft, the surgeon will remove a small amount of bone from elsewhere in your body (typically from your chin or hip) and surgically embeds it into your jawbone. (1)
After a bone graft, your jawbone will be given enough time to heal. After the first healing phase, the dentist will screw the metal implant into your jawbone to provide the most possible strength. After the placement of implants, it can upto 12 months for your bone and gums to heal completely and seal around the implant posts in a process called osseointegration.
The whole process can take several months, most of it due to the time needed for bone and tissues healing. It can take at least 4 to 6 months before your jaw is ready for the first implant. Having said that, let’s now look at some of the essential, several steps that are involved in placing a dental implant.
Dental implants procedure
Knowing how an implant can be placed, can help you to determine a good approximation of your dental implant timeline. I will try to break the whole process down step-by-step for better understanding. Each one of the following steps are essential to ensure the long term success of the implant. So, here are some of the things that you should expect if you are planning to get some implants:
1. Consultation Appointment
An initial consultation is very important, it should be the first thing that you should do. During the consultation appointment, your dentist will explain to you some of the things that you should know about having an implant. At this stage, the dentist will explain more on the available treatment plans, the steps of the procedure, the timeframe and the recovery process.
Still on that same day, the dentist will take some necessary diagnostic x-rays to know whether you are a good candidate for this type of procedure. The health of the surrounding gums, bone volume and density at the area where your tooth is missing are checked. To place an implant, you need to have a certain amount of bone and tissues available to support an implant. If it turns out that you don’t have enough bone and soft tissues to support the implant, you may need to have a bone regeneration procedure such as bone grafting.
2. Bone Grafting
Remember, bone grafting is only recommend if your don’t have enough bone to support endosteal implant. On my previous post, I explained more on different types of Implants. You can check here to see – available types of implants to choose from. Moreover, when there is insufficient amount of jawbone, it can be prepared for surgery using bone graft regenerative treatment. After undergoing a bone graft, it can take up to 4 months before your jaw heal properly for the first implant.
3. Implant Placement
On your next appointment day, let’s say that you now have enough bones and gums as required. At this particular stage, the implant post is inserted into your jawbone. The implant post is just a metal screw, it acts as the anchor for the whole prosthesis when it’s secured into the bone. Implant post placement is performed using local anesthetic, it can take up to an hour or more.
After you’ve had the implant placed in your jawbone, the site is then closed with sutures. Within the next 10 days you will need to return to have the sutures removed and the surgical site examined. After the removal of sutures, the site is then left to heal which takes upto 4 months or more depending on the location and quality of the bone. As the bone and tissues heal around the post, the post becomes firmly fused together, this will be needed for the next stage.
4. Placement Of Abutment
At this stage, the implant site is thoroughly checked to determine if the post and bone have successfully fused with one another. Normally, implant posts are made from titanium, they can actually fuse with our natural bone without causing any side effects or being treated like a foreign material in the body. If the required amount of fusion has been achieved, an abutment which will provide support to a crown is placed into the implant post.
After the placement, the abutment should extend slightly above the gum line. An accurate impression is taken and sent to the dental laboratory to be used to create your custom crown, bridge or denture.
5. Placement Of Crown
The final stage of the dental implants procedures, involves the placement of a custom crown on the abutment. The crown will be specially designed to feel and appear just like your natural teeth. Implant crowns are of two main types, it can either be removable or fixed crown. Removable crowns are typically mounted into the abutment by screwing. It is much easier to keep clean since you can easily remove it at any time.
Fixed crown on the other hand are cemented permanently to the abutment. Although, you will not be able to remove a fixed crown for cleaning but it’s also very easy to keep clean. In most cases, fixed crowns are usually made with more stronger and stable crowning material than the ones used in removable crown.
A dental implant is meant to last for a lifetime if it’s properly taken care of. You should try as much as possible to take care for your implant the same way you would care for your natural teeth. If you grind or clench your teeth (bruxism) at night, let your dentist know so that he will recommend a suitable mouthguard for you to wear at night while you sleep. You can check here to see – how to stop teeth grinding.
Regular brushing and flossing is also very important to avoid gum disease and gums recession. in addition, try to visit your dental regularly to ensure that your implants is always in good condition. Maintaining your regular dental re-care visits for every six months would allow the dentist to evaluate the stability and health of your implant, bone and gum from time to time.
How successful is dental implants?
There are numerous available tooth restoration treatments, dental implants is known to have the highest success rate than any other alternative. After getting an implant, regular re-care examinations and maintenance is very important. The site and surrounding areas needs to be monitored regularly to ensure that they are healthy. Sometimes, it is possible that your dental implant could fail, maybe due to infection, clenching or grinding of the tooth and chewing on ice or hard candies.
However, try practicing proper oral hygiene and habits by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day, avoid those things that can damage both your implant and natural teeth.