Dental implants are one of the best ways to replace missing teeth. They look, feel and function like your own teeth, and you don’t have to worry about them slipping or falling out like dentures. Furthermore, unlike a dental bridge, they do not compromise the structure of surrounding teeth. The only downside to dental implants is that they’re not a quick option, and you must be patient throughout the treatment process. How long does the dental implant procedure take? It varies. But let’s take a look at the various stages and what may affect how quickly the treatment is completed.
What typically affects how long the dental implant procedure takes?
Although the surgical implant procedure is usually completed in a couple of hours, this is only part of the process. Generally, from initial consultation to completion of the procedure with the attachment of an artificial tooth, it takes around six months. For some patients, it will be longer – particularly if they need additional treatments to get their mouths healthy before the dental implant procedure, such as treatment for gum disease or tooth decay.
Others may find the procedure takes even longer—if, for example, they have bone loss in the jawbone, which means there is insufficient bone to hold the implant. In these circumstances, a dentist can augment bone with a bone graft. However, this increases the duration of the overall implant procedure and means it could take up to a year or longer to complete.
What are the Various Stages of the Dental Implant Procedure?
Examination & Consultation
This initial appointment may take an hour or two. The dentist undertakes a thorough examination of your mouth to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for dental implants and to check that the mouth is healthy with no active signs of gum disease or tooth decay. Further tests, such as x-rays or CT scans, may be taken to assess your jawbone density and identify the location of nerves. During the consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions, discuss treatment options, and raise any concerns you may have.
If dental implants are deemed a good option for you, a treatment plan is created, and you will be given a date for implant surgery
Dental Implant Surgery
The surgical procedure for dental implants varies depending on the type of implants you have and how many. As a general guide, a single implant takes up to an hour to place
Surgery is typically performed under a local anaesthetic, but conscious sedation may also be considered, particularly for nervous patients. Once the anaesthetic has been administered, the surgery starts with an incision in the top of the gum where the missing tooth once was. This gives access to the jawbone, where the dentist drills a hole to accommodate the dental implant. The implant is a small, screw-like device made from titanium—a biocompatible metal readily accepted by the human body. Once inserted, the gum is closed with sutures to cover the implant.
The area is left to heal where the implant and bone fuse together (osseointegration) over the next few months to form a solid platform that can support an artificial tooth (crown). It can take between 3 and 6 months for osseointegration to take place and for an abutment to be placed that connects the implant post to the artificial tooth replacement.
Attachment of Crown
The dentist connects the dental crown to the abutment and cements it in place to complete the dental implant procedure.
How Long Does Dental Implant Procedure Take?—The Bottom Line
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Colgate – Bone Resorption: Why It Happens And What To Do Next
Mayo Clinic – Jawbone graft