According to statistics, the majority of Canadians brush their teeth 2 or more times per day, and 28% floss 5 times a week.
Maintaining good dental hygiene is vital for preserving your teeth and staving off dental decay. But, no matter how diligent you are at brushing your teeth, there still might come a time when you have to get a tooth removed.
When this day rolls around, you might need to decide whether or not you want to get an implant done. Implants mimic real teeth done to a tee, and they can also prevent bone loss and shifting of the teeth.
However, the dental implants procedure does take more time to complete than simply filling a cavity. If you need one or more dental implants done, it’s a good idea to get clear on the dental implant process so you can prepare yourself mentally for the timeline.
Get informed and keep reading to find out the step-by-step dental implant process and healing timeline.
Advantages of Dental Implants
Before we get into how the dental implant process works, here are a few of the reasons why it might be a good idea to consider dental implants in the first place.
The dental implant process can be quite lengthy. Dental implants also cost more than simpler procedures, usually between $4,000 to $7,000 each.
However, dental implants can be pivotal for your oral health. Dental implants can:
- Reduce bone loss after tooth extraction
- Act as anchor points for bridges
- Last for the rest of your life
- Prevent gum disease
- Prevent facial sagging
- Stabilize adjacent teeth
Stages of the Dental Implants Procedure
Unlike simpler dental procedures like cavity filling, the dental implants procedure involves a number of stages and can take a few months in total.
Here is a breakdown of the step-by-step dental implant process.
First, you will need to have an initial consultation. During this, your dentist will evaluate the problem tooth, and surrounding teeth to establish the best treatment plan for you. They’ll also analyze your overall oral health and establish whether or not you’re a good candidate for the dental implant process.
If you’re getting dental implants to replace a tooth that’s decayed beyond repair, the next step will be extracting the decayed tooth.
If it’s a simple extraction your dentist will be able to do this in the chair and recovery time should be minimal. However, if the tooth is severely damaged or impacted, you might need to have oral surgery to have it removed.
If this is the case, you will need to go under general anesthetic in surgery. Extractions via oral surgery require a little more preparation than regular extractions at the dentist’s office, as you won’t be able to eat 8 hours before the procedure. You’ll also need to allow yourself some time to normalize from the effects of the narcotics and any pain medication.
If you’re getting a tooth extraction for the implant process your dentist will also probably advise you to quit smoking at some point before the extraction or oral surgery. Studies agree that smoking cessation is vital for healing after implant placements, so it’s advisable that you don’t use any tobacco products until a couple of months after the dental implants procedure is complete.
Bone Graft (Not Always Required)
If you’ve experienced bone loss in your jaw, then you may need to undergo a bone graft. For an implant to fuse with your jaw there has to be a certain amount of bone mass present.
If you have to get a bone graft this will add to the total healing time of the dental implant process and increase it by anything from a few weeks to 12 months.
The exact bone graft implant timeline will depend on how extensive the graft is, your age, and rate of healing.
In some rare cases, dental implants might also require bone smoothing (alveoloplasty).
Inserting the Implant
The next stage of the dental implants procedure is inserting the implant. If you don’t need a bone graft or smoothing, this will usually happen 2-3 weeks after any initial extractions.
To place the implant, your dental surgeon will insert a screw into your jaw. The area will be sterilized and stitched to promote healing. Your dentist might also place a temporary crown onto the base of the implant.
After your dentist places the implant screw you will then need to give your jaw time to heal and fuse with the implant.
During the initial healing stages your dentist might advise you to follow a soft food diet. Initial healing usually takes 1-2 weeks.
After the initial healing, your jaw will still need some time to fuse securely with the implant screw. This typically requires 3-6 months, depending on your specific case.
During the healing period, you might need to go in for a couple of checkups with your dentist. During these checkups, they will evaluate the healing and fusion progress. They might also take impressions of your teeth, gums, and implant to send away to the lab.
These impressions will be used to form the abutment and permanent crown.
Attaching the Abutment
Once your jaw has fused with the implant screw your dentist will then attach an abutment onto the screw. The abutment acts as a base that joins the screw and the permanent crown on top.
After the abutment is in place, you will need to wait another week or two for your gum to heal over the abutment.
Attaching the Crown
Once your gum has healed over the abutment, the final step in the dental implant process is to place the crown.
After your permanent crown is in place the only thing left to do is attend your routine dental checkups. During these, your dentist will check on the state of your implant and make sure that the bone and gums around it are staying healthy.
Are You Looking for a Dentist You Can Trust?
The average dental implants procedure involves quite a few appointments and more than one healing timeline. However, these steps can be well worth it. Dental implants will last a lifetime and help to maintain the integrity of your jawbone. They can also be invaluable anchor points for bridges.
Are you on the hunt for a dentist you can trust with the dental implant process? The Dental Team has a number of convenient locations throughout Milton, Mississauga, and Brampton. We pride ourselves on our high-quality services, attention to detail, and patient care.
Contact The Dental Team today for more information about our compassionate, specialized dental care services.