The process of getting dental implants installed often takes approximately five to eight months to complete. From placing the implants to attaching the crown, several phases must be finished before a patient can fully enjoy a new prosthetic addition to the mouth. Learn about the different stages of this common procedure and discover why the entire process is so lengthy.
In a majority of cases, implants are installed in multiple phases over time and can take five appointments or more to complete. There are three main stages involved in the dental implant process.
The preparation process for dental implants is unique for each individual. For some people, this might include the removal of any existing teeth that are currently occupying the space where the implant will be placed. Often, a dentist or oral surgeon will complete a comprehensive examination of the teeth, take X-rays or a computerized tomography and make impressions of both the teeth and gums. In some situations, a person’s jawbone is not strong enough to hold an implant. Bone grafting is used in these circumstances to strengthen the area. It can take anywhere between four and 12 months after a bone graft before an implant can be placed, depending on the location of the graft.
Next, an artificial root that is often a titanium screw is placed in the jawbone and then covered by the surrounding gum tissue. The procedure itself typically takes approximately an hour per implant to complete, but the healing process following placement requires several months. Lower jaw implants often take four to five months to complete, and upper jaw implants take six to seven months. During this time period, the implant is undergoing osseointegration, which is the process of the dental implant fusing to the bone.
After the implant has fully integrated into the bone, an abutment is placed onto the gum. While a temporary crown or bridge is often used to hide gaps in the mouth during the healing process, a permanent crown is made using impressions of the mouth. It takes two to three weeks for the dental laboratory to create the crown. Once completed, the crown is either cemented or screwed to the abutment.
Depending on the patient’s mouth and the procedures offered by the dental clinic, some individuals may be candidates for one-day dental implants. This involves placing the crown the same day the root is installed. Since this option depends on each person's unique situation, a consultation with the implant dentist is necessary.
Also, some individuals may experience implant failure, which occurs when the bones and implant do not fuse correctly. In this situation, the dentist will need to remove the implant and repair the surgical site. It can take several months for the area to heal before the implant process can begin once more.
Except where one-day dental implants are possible, it often takes several months to install traditional implants in the mouth. Once the implant is placed in the jaw, the mouth needs sufficient time to heal. After the healing is complete, the dentist attaches the abutment and crown to complete the procedure.
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