Dental Implant Timeline
Depending on the current condition of your smile and the complexity of your case, your dental implant timeline can span several months. To ensure the success of your implants, you should maintain realistic expectations and remain fully committed to the treatment plan recommended by your dentist. Treatment typically begins with a consultation and preparatory procedures. Surgery is followed by a recovery of approximately six months before you can receive your permanent dentures, bridges, or crowns. For patients who want a faster treatment option, All-on-4® implants can be a good alternative to traditional dental implants for patients who qualify.
An implant-supported restoration can often be affixed within three to six months of your initial surgery.
Consultation to Restoration
The Initial Consultation
During your consultation, your dentist will evaluate the health of your smile and identify concerns such as gum disease. If you have any preexisting oral health issues, these will need to be treated first to ensure the success of your treatment. Your dentist may also perform:
- A medical history evaluation: To receive implants, you must be healthy enough for oral surgery. Your dentist will review your medical history and list of medications.
- Advanced imaging: X-rays or computed tomography images can show the quality and quantity of your jawbone as well as the health of your remaining teeth. If you have insufficient jawbone, you can still be a good implant candidate with the help of preparatory procedures.
These procedures will help your dentist determine whether you are a good candidate for dental implants. He or she will also be able to provide you with a proposed treatment plan and an accurate timeline. If you require preparatory surgery, your doctor will schedule these. Otherwise, your dental implant surgery can be scheduled soon after the consultation.
Preparing for Surgery
Soon after your consultation, your dentist will perform or oversee any necessary preparatory procedures. The most common preparatory surgeries are bone grafting and sinus lifts, but not all patients will bone augmentation prior to implants. If you have degenerated jawbone or poor density, these procedures can help you restore your candidacy for dental implants. The length of each procedure will vary from patient to patient, but each can typically be completed in under two hours. After each procedure, you will need approximately six months for your jawbone to heal before your doctor can schedule your implant surgery.
Once your jawbone is healed, your dentist can place your implants. The length of the procedure will depend on how many implants your doctor is placing, but will typically last approximately one to four hours. If your dentist is using a surgical guide to complete surgery, this can substantially reduce the length of your procedure.
Immediately following surgery, it will take about 2 weeks for the incisions in your gums to heal. Over the next four to six months, your implants will fuse with the surrounding jawbone in a process known as osseointegration. During this time, you will have follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and determine when are ready for your permanent restoration.
Although the actual length of your recovery will vary from patient to patient, most patients will be ready to receive a permanent restoration after six months. This is a two-step procedure.
First, you will be fitted for abutments. These will anchor your restoration securely to your jawbone and take approximately two weeks to heal. Once your abutments are in place, your dentist will take impressions of your smile and design your custom crowns, bridges, or dentures. Depending on the type of restoration you choose and whether your dentist works with an offsite lab, restorations can take one to two weeks to manufacture. For a full set of dentures, you may need several fittings and appointments to ensure that the dentures fit properly and match your facial features.
Expedited Treatment with All-on-4
All-on-4 can be a great option for patients who do not have sufficient jawbone, are receiving a full set of dentures, and do not want to undergo the preparatory procedures necessary for dental implants. The All-on-4 technique, also known as teeth in a day, uses four strategically positioned implants to secure a full arch of teeth. If you are a good candidate for All-on-4, you can receive your temporary dentures on the same day of your surgery.
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