Dental implants are by far the most effective way to replace a missing tooth, but many patients are put off by the very lengthy process described by their dentists when describing the complete procedure that can take as long as 6-8 months to complete.
Here’s a list of dental implant recovery timeline FAQ, including what to expect during the implant healing process and if dental implants are worth the healing time and upfront costs.
Why Do Dental Implants Take So Long To Heal?
Several factors impact the exact length of time it will take to complete your specific implant procedure. For example, the process will take considerably longer if you require a bone graft first before any actual implant procedure can begin. To have a successful implant, you must have sufficient jawbone density to accommodate the dental implant.
What’s the Healing Timeline of Bone Grafts?
If you have advanced stages of gum disease or wait a long time to replace a missing tooth, it can result in an erosion of the bone structure beneath your missing tooth. In this type of situation, you may require a bone graft to restore the strength and density of the bone in your jaw before undergoing the dental implant procedure. A bone graft allows your dentist to use your bone or a processed bone material to rebuild your jawbone structure. Requiring a bone graft extends the length of time it will take to complete your implant because your body needs to be completely healed before the implant procedure can begin, which generally takes 3-4 months.
How Is Dental Implant Placement Decided?
Once your jawbone and gum tissue is healthy and completely healed from your bone graft, the first phase of your dental implant procedure will be to insert the dental implant into your jawbone surgically. It generally takes about an hour to place a single implant, and once placed, it will take roughly 4-6 months to heal.
What is Osseointegration?
After your implant has been successfully placed during the healing process, the bone will then fuse around your new implant. This process is called osseointegration, and it’s what allows your dental implant to function just like a regular tooth root. One of the primary reasons dental implants are so much more effective than other alternatives is because they are the only option that replaces your root and the tooth, creating a complete restoration.
When Will an Abutment Be Attached?
One of the things most patients don’t realize before having a dental implant is that the actual implant isn’t a tooth but a post that fuses to your jawbone. Once osseointegration is completed, and your jawbone is healed, you’re ready for the final stages of the implant process - getting a prosthetic tooth.
An abutment will be attached to your dental implant and your new prosthetic tooth, connecting the two together. Once again, your gums will go through a healing process after the abutment is attached, which typically takes a few weeks. During this healing time, your new prosthetic tooth will be crafted, creating a dental crown. Once the crown is complete, and your gums are healed from the abutment, you will have a finished implant and a fully functional replacement tooth.
Are Dental Implants Worth the Investment of Time and Money?
While the implant process takes a long time, it’s well worth the wait to have a restoration that feels and acts just like a natural tooth. If you need to replace a missing tooth, contact Tompkins Dental today to schedule your consultation appointment.