Patients looking for a permanent replacement for missing teeth can benefit from getting a dental implant. The implants are inserted into the jaw during a surgical procedure, so some degree of discomfort and swelling may occur afterwards. This article contains tips on reducing discomfort following the surgery and the steps to take to help ensure…
The Typical Timeline For Getting Dental Implants
It is possible to replace teeth that are missing with dental implants. A metal rod is implanted in the jaw to act like the root of a tooth. The tooth prosthesis placed on this rod with an abutment restores chewing function and looks like the other surrounding teeth in the mouth.
There are many advantages to dental implants. For example, there is no need to take them out for cleaning. They can be brushed and flossed like regular teeth. Placing a dental implant is a process that can take from six months to over a year to complete. From that point, the implant should last for the rest of your life.
What are the steps for placing dental implants?
The success of an implant depends on carefully following the established process. Any attempts at shortcuts or omitted steps could result in the implant's failure. When it comes to the basic process for placing a dental implant, you can expect to follow roughly the following steps.
The first step in the process is an initial consultation. The dentist performs a comprehensive oral exam to determine whether you are a candidate. If so, the dentist works with you to derive a treatment plan.
Assuming there are no other complications, you can schedule surgery for your implants within a few weeks of your initial consultation. During the surgery, the implant, which resembles a small metal screw, is placed directly into your jawbone. The gums have to be incised to reach the jawbone, and once the implant is in place, the gum may be sewn back over it for healing.
Osseointegration is the process by which bone tissue grows around the implant until the two are completely bonded together. The process usually takes about three to six months but can take longer.
Building a restoration
Your dentist uses the time during osseointegration to build your restoration. You will have images and impressions taken of your implant, gums, and teeth. This information is used by lab technicians to create the prosthesis. In the meantime, your dentist monitors the osseointegration process to determine when the implant is ready for the prosthesis to be placed.
Abutment and prosthesis placement
Once your dentist determines that you are ready, you can have the abutment placed in preparation for the prosthesis. The final step involves permanently bonding the tooth prosthesis to the abutment after confirming the fit.
What extra steps can lengthen the process?
If the tooth to be replaced by a dental implant is still in the mouth, this has to be extracted first. This is a separate procedure, and the mouth needs some time to heal from it. If the tooth has been missing for a while, the jaw may have experienced bone loss. Surgical grafting, followed by several months of osseointegration, may be necessary to strengthen the jaw enough to support a graft.
Dental implants can last a lifetime, but placing them may require a time commitment of a year or more to complete the process.
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