Dental implants have revolutionized how missing teeth are permanently replaced. They are the “Gold Standard” in teeth replacement because of how they look, feel, and function just like natural teeth. However, receiving dental implants is a process that many people are unaware of and are slightly shocked by how long the process actually takes. Dental implant surgery is typically an outpatient surgery that is performed in stages. The entire process can take quite a few months from start to finish, but when you stop to consider the end goal (having beautiful, natural looking and functioning teeth), six to nine months is worth the wait.
Many times dental implants require the extraction of teeth, which is the first stage. Perhaps you already have a missing tooth, but the adjacent teeth must be strong enough and the jawbone healthy enough to receive a dental implant between them. If any teeth are not healthy enough to support dental implants, they will need to be removed, as well as any damaged teeth that are intended to be replaced.
The second stage is the jawbone being prepared for surgery. If the jawbone is not thick enough or is too soft to support dental implants, bone grafting is often necessary to prepare the jawbone and make it a solid base for the implant. If bone grafting is necessary, it will take additional time for the transplanted bone to grow enough new bone to support a dental implant; this process can take up to nine months. Bone grafting is not always necessary, but the condition of your jawbone determines how a dental implant specialist will proceed.
Once the jawbone has healed, the “root” of the dental implant will be surgically placed in the jawbone. Once more, time is necessary for the area to heal and allow the process of osseointegration to begin – where the jawbone grows into and unites with the dental implant so that it becomes a permanent structure in the jawbone.
After osseointegration is complete, your oral surgeon will place the abutment, which will hold the replacement crown in place. This process also requires healing time, but much less than the previous stages. Once complete healing has occurred, the new artificial tooth will be placed and the process will be complete.
At Georgia Denture & Implant Specialists, we understand that instant gratification is often desired with tooth replacement, but that is not how dental implants work. While the process is lengthy and requires much patience, the results are undeniably astonishing. And when you think that taking nine months to achieve a smile that will last for a lifetime, that is really not that long. Contact our specialists today with any questions that you have regarding dental implants. We are here to restore your smile and your confidence.