A dental implant procedure is actually a series of mini procedures that are performed to replace missing teeth. The duration that it will take depends on the mini procedures you need for tooth replacement – and this is different for every patient. We’re going to give you some answers to ‘how long does dental implant procedure take’.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are small anchors or screws that are embedded surgically into your jaw bone. Over time they will become part of your jaw when they osseointegrate and bone grows around them, making them robust and stable. On their own, they only replace your tooth roots. In order to fill the gap left behind, they need to have a dental crown placed on top. But your dentist can’t place the crown directly onto the implant; it needs an extension piece first. Each dental implant procedure needs to be staggered so that your soft tissue has time to heal, and your jaw has time to grow around the implant.
So, How Long Does Dental Implant Procedure Take?
Placing a dental implant only takes an hour or two, depending on the complexity of your procedure. For an accurate idea of the entire procedure, from start to finish, you need to understand how the mini procedures are planned.
Dental Implant Procedure Timeline
Do you need a tooth extraction before dental implants?
Sometimes patients still have a dead or decaying tooth in place, and it needs to be extracted. Many dentists prefer to wait for the socket to heal before placing dental implants. If you need an extraction first, you might wait three to six months before your implant can be placed.
Do you need a bone graft?
When patients have had a missing tooth for a while, it’s likely that bone deterioration has taken place and sometimes you won’t have a thick enough jaw to support dental implants. If this is the case, you’ll need to have a bone graft first, and you will probably wait for three to four months after bone grafting before you can move forward with the rest of the dental implant procedure.
In some cases, if only a minor graft is required, it may be possible to do the bone graft and place the dental implant in one procedure. If you need a major bone graft, you will need to go through the waiting period before you can proceed.
Placing the dental implant
Once your dentist is satisfied that your bone graft was successful or that you have healed well enough after a tooth extraction, you will proceed with dental implant surgery. In order to place the artificial tooth roots, your dental practitioner will cut away at the gum and drill into the underlying bone before placing the implant and stitching the area up. Everyone heals differently so you will need to wait for another three to six months, depending on your rate of healing.
Placing the abutment
Once you are fully healed, your dentist will attach the abutment or extension piece. This is what connects the dental implant to your dental crown. But in order to access the implant, the surgical site must be reopened and, again, you need to undergo a healing period. For most patients, this is around three months of healing.
Finally, it’s time to place the dental crown
Once your soft tissue has healed and your jaw has osseointegrated around the dental implants, you will be able to have a dental crown made. Your dentist will match it to the size, shape and colour of your natural teeth so that no one knows the difference.
How Long Does Dental Implant Procedure Take From Start To Finish?
Osseointegration is an essential process that needs to happen in order for your dental implants to support you in biting and chewing your food. If your dental implant isn’t strong enough and reinforced by your jaw, the procedure will fail.
Patients who only need to have the dental implant, abutment and dental crown placed may complete their dental implant surgery in six to nine months.
If, however, you need a bone graft or tooth extraction, your procedure could take 12 months to complete.
Is It Worth The Wait?
Dental implants do require a considerable time investment from the patient but if they are well cared for, they can last for the rest of your lifetime. When the procedure is carefully planned and performed by an experienced dental practitioner, you should only need to go through it once in your lifetime.
For a more personalised answer to the question of ‘how long does dental implant procedure take’, please contact us for a consultation: (02) 8203 8760.
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