Dental Implant Treatment Timeline
Learn more about the main steps involved in getting dental implants
From start to finish, the dental implant process takes 5 to 8 months, which seems like a big investment. However, it gives you a lifetime solution to missing teeth, so many patients find it well worth the time. Here are some of the key steps in the process of getting dental implants.
The first step is to visit a dentist who specializes in dental implants for an initial consultation. The dentist will examine your teeth and gums and ask questions about your overall health to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants.
If you are a good candidate for dental implants and you decide you would like to go forward with the procedure, you can then schedule an appointment for detailed assessment with an expert dentist who will create a personalized treatment plan for you. This appointment can be scheduled the day after your initial consultation or several weeks or months later—it all depends on your comfort level in moving forward with the process.
Depending on your current oral health, you may need to have certain procedures done before the implant surgery can take place. For example, you may need to get a deep cleaning, including root planing & scaling, in order to speed a recovery from gum disease and get your tissues in a healthy condition. You may also need to have a damaged tooth extracted to make way for the implant or have bone graft surgery to strengthen your jaw to the point where it can support the implant peg.
Most patients are able to have implant surgery 2 to 3 weeks after completing their detailed assessment. If other procedures such as bone graft surgery were done, additional time will be required. The surgery itself can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 or 5 hours, depending on the number of implants being placed and the complexity of your case.
Most patients only experience discomfort for 2 to 5 days after their implant surgery. Then, they can typically place a temporary crown, bridge, or denture over the implant site. However, the recovery period generally lasts 3 to 6 months due to the process that is going on deep within the jaw bone. During this period, the bone will actually bond with the titanium implant peg to create a strong foundation for the replacement tooth.
If your gum was sealed up over the implant peg, you will need a second surgery to open the gum and have an extension post attached, followed by another 2 to 6 weeks of recovery. If, however, your implant was placed with the abutment showing above the gum line (which is more common for back teeth), you can proceed to the final implant crown placement sooner.
Final Placement of Implant Crowns
Once your jaw and gums have healed sufficiently, your dentist can then create and place your final implant crowns or implant-supported dentures. Typically, a series of appointments will be needed in order to ensure the best possible fit, function, and appearance for the finished implants. This typically takes between 4 and 8 weeks.