The days when patients with lost teeth had to go with bridges or dentures as the only options are far gone. Today they can totally consider dental implants for their problems. However, this treatment takes time as it involves multiple stages. As the process stretches over a long time, it is a must that the patient sticks to the dental provider’s instructions to ensure a smooth, complication-free treatment. This read will provide you with the dental implant timeline so you will know what to expect at each stage of the treatment.

dental implant timeline

Knowing what to expect prior to dental implants can help you prepare well mentally. Typically, the entire treatment takes as long as 6 months to complete. Wait no more, read on and find out with us Sydney Dental!

Dental implant

1. What are dental implants?

Generally speaking, dental implants play as the substitute roots for your teeth. They bring patients a strong base for permanent or detachable false teeth that are designed to match your original ones.

Those who have lost one or more teeth can find dental implants helpful. A dental implant is also needed if you have missing teeth as a result of:

  • Tooth decay, also called cavities;
  • Breaks in the tooth roots;.
  • Teeth grinding or clenching, also known as bruxism;
  • Periodontal conditions;
  • Injuries to the face;
  • Innate tooth loss (born with some teeth missing).

2. Dental implant timeline

2.1. Initial consultation

At your initial visit, the dental provider will examine your mouth and jawbone to decide if dental implants are a good fit for you. If you don’t have enough jawbone to hold the implants in place, the dentist may recommend another procedure prior to the implants to fix this, such as a bone grafting surgery.

2.2. Removal of damaged tooth (as needed)

If you have damaged teeth, the dental care provider will extract them to make space for implants. This procedure can be done using local anesthesia, also known as numbing medication. The patient will be given prescription pain medications and antibiotics to take at home to keep infection away. The recovery time from the tooth extraction is typically 1-2 days.

2.3. Bone graft surgery (as needed)

If the jawbone is too weak and thin, you may need a bone grafting procedure before you are qualified for a dental implant surgery. This is because the aggressive chewing of the mouth imposes great force on your bone, and if it fails to hold the implant, the surgery is not likely to succeed. The bone graft helps give a stronger support for the dental implant.

Several months may be required for the grafted bone to grow sufficiently to hold an implant. In some cases, only a small bone graft is needed and that can be carried out at the same time as the dental implant procedure. 

dental-implant-timeline
dental-implant-timeline

2.4. Dental implant surgery

During the surgery, the dentist will do the following to place your implants:

  • Put you under anesthesia. They will calculate the right dose of local anesthesia to numb your gums up. If you want to be sedated, meaning you’ll fall asleep during the procedure, the provider may accommodate that request as well;
  • Make a cut in your gums. As soon as you feel comfortable with the help of the numbing medication, the professional will create an incision in your gums to give space for the upcoming dental implant. This will reveal the bone underneath for the implant to be located;
  • Prepare the jaw. Your dentist will use specialized tools to make a hole in your jawbone. They’ll expand the it until it is of the exact diameter for your the implant;
  • Position the implant. The provider will place the dental implant into your jaw with extra care;
  • Seal the cuts. Finally, your dentist will reposition the gums and stitch the incision shut.

If general anesthesia is used, you’ll get slightly dizzy for a couple of hours following surgery. Therefore, don’t forget to ask someone for a ride home afterwards.

Some side effects like a little bleeding, swelling, bruising, and pain, may occur following the procedure. The dentist will advise you to go with liquids and soft foods as you enter the healing phase. Any pain you may experience can be alleviated by OTC medications like Advil (ibuprofen).

2.5. Osseointegration

The patient will have their recovery at home and come back for the second stage of the treatment after several months. This healing time is also referred to as osseointegration, which is the process of the new implant becoming fused with your jawbone. This creates a stable base for the post and the restoration. The osseointegration duration can range from 8 weeks to 9 months, depending on the patient’s immune system and the number of new implants.

It is important in any stage that you maintain proper oral care and hygiene to prevent any disruption and speed up the process. In order to achieve this, you should:

  • Take medications exactly as directed by the dental provider;
  • Refrain from exercise and heavy lifting for at least 72 hours because a fast heart rate can elevate the level of pain and swelling;
  • Chew foods with the other side of the mouth. If you have had implants on both sides, have soft foods for a couple of days then go back to your normal diet little by little according to what you are comfortable with;
  • Brush and floss your teeth thoroughly on a daily basis;
  • Keep the implant area clean as directed by the dental care provider.

2.6. Abutment placement

Once the implant has anchored securely in the jaw, you will have a follow-up visit with the dental provider to have the abutment placed. The abutment is a part that connects the received implant post to the dental restoration, like an artificial tooth, bridge, or crown. This procedure is only a minor surgery where the dentist will open the gum tissue to reveal the implant post. After putting the abutment in place, the gum tissue will be closed. At this point, the healing entails a duration of 2 weeks to a month. Patients may have slight swelling or discomfort following the abutment placement that can be helped with OTC pain medications or ice therapy.

2.7. Prosthesis attachment

As your gums around the new abutment is healed, you can come back to the dentist’s to get the dental restoration on top. During the appointment, impressions of your teeth around the implant area and the abutment will be taken to ensure that the restoration is well fitting.

The restoration part may take 2 weeks to be created. Then the dentist will attach it to the abutment, connecting it to the implant post. And the happy ending is you leave the clinic with a shiny, flawless smile.

dental-implant-timeline
dental-implant-timeline

3. The aftercare

Considering dental implants are like the real deal, proper care includes brushing, flossing, rinsing on a daily basis and periodic oral visits.

You can help your dental work — and remaining natural teeth — last longer if you:

  • Commit to thorough oral hygiene. Try to keep your dental implants, false teeth, and gum tissue clean just like your original teeth by bruising, flossing, and rinsing on a daily basis;
  • Pay regular visits to the dentist. Have checkups with the dental provider to make sure your implants are functioning properly and healthy. Also receive in-clinic cleanings as advised by the dentist;
  • Avoid poor dental habits. Avoid chewing on hard foods, like ice or hard candy because these can cause breakage to your restoration like crows or even your original teeth. Also refrain from tobacco and products containing caffeine to prevent staining of teeth. If you have bruxism, meaning you grind or clench teeth, seek medical attention.

4. A word from Sydney Dental

Hopefully this read has provided you with a good idea of the stages involved in a dental implant and how to maintain the results as well as if it is something you need for the time being. If you are still unsure of which treatment to go with for a new unforgettably stunning smile in your particular case, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are at 499-501 Ba Hat St, Ward 8, District 10, HCMC looking forward to your visit. You may also call us at (028) 3504 9440 for a free no-obligation comprehensive consultation. Your pretty, shiny smile is 100% guaranteed at Sydney Dental!

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