Time after Time: How long does it take to place a dental implant?
Between depictions in pop culture and advertisements promising “teeth in a day”, the completion timeline of a high-quality dental implant confuses a lot of patients–and for good reason! The most intricate (and time consuming) part of placing a dental implant happens below the surface of the gum, unseen by the patient.
High quality dental implants do not happen in a single day. The average timeline from consultation to completion is 9 months. Depending on patient variables, an individual’s timeline from implant consultation to completion can range from 6 to 12+ months.
At Southern Maine Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery (SMOMS), we want our patients to feel confident in their procedure, and that starts with having all of the facts! Keep reading for a realistic, general timeline for dental implants:
1. Consultation: Every patient walks into our office with a different degree of overall oral health; a patient’s oral health is the single greatest variable for their independent timeline of implant placement. During this initial consultation, one of our SMOMS surgeons will complete a thorough oral exam to determine a patient’s oral health, and to decide if they are a good candidate for dental implants.
1A. Pre-Implant Treatments: Depending on the results of this exam, pre-implant treatments such as tooth extractions or bone grafts may be necessary. These procedures can add anywhere from 3 – 12 months to a patient’s individual implant timeline. However, they are absolutely necessary for the patient’s overall oral health and the success of the implant.
2. Fixture Placement: Our SMOMS surgeon will place the implant fixture into the patient’s jaw bone. The implant fixture is the screw-like part of the implant that holds the entire implant in place–just like the root of a natural tooth. After the fixture has been placed, it must fully bond with the patient’s jaw bone during a process called “osseointegration.” The osseointegration process takes roughly 3-6 months.
3. Abutment Placement: Once the implant fixture has osseointegrated with the jaw bone, our SMOMS surgeon and team will place the implant abutment into the fixture. The abutment serves as a sort of landing pad for the implant crown. After the abutment is placed, the patient’s gums will need about 2 weeks to heal around the surgery site.
4. Crown Placement: Finally a tooth! The crown of the implant is the part that can be seen above the gum-line. This is the part of the implant that will chew a patient’s food, be brushed and flossed, and smile at their friends and family. At this point in the procedure, the patient’s restorative dentist takes the wheel, and will place the crown on the abutment. This is a rewarding–and sometimes emotional–day for the patient!
A high-quality dental implant is an investment in a patient’s oral and overall health. When placed properly in a healthy mouth–and treated with good care by the patient and their dental team–a dental implant is a smile solution that will last a lifetime. For more information about smile solutions, check out our Blog SMOMS Post: “A Tale of Two Smiles.”
If you are a current implant patient with SMOMS and have questions about your individual timeline, please ask! We look forward to answering every one of your questions. If you or a loved one would like to become an implant patient with SMOMS, call us at 207.774.2611 to schedule your consultation with our team.
(Images courtesy of Wilson Dental Group)
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