Dental implants need no introduction. They are easily the most popular means of replacing missing teeth in the current scenario and have rightly earned the reputation to do so. However, a successful dental implant procedure can take anywhere from 6-8 months. While the replacement option offered by dental implants is permanent, it requires a significant investment of time on behalf of the patient. One might wonder, ‘why do dental implants take so long?’. Here, we have detailed the complete timeline for a dental implant procedure.
Dental Implant Procedure Steps
Step 1: Consultation and Evaluation
The first step in the dental implant procedure is general health evaluation and treatment planning. Your dentist will examine you to assess your suitability for receiving dental implants. These usually include oral and medical check-ups, diagnostic tests like X-rays, CT scans, etc. Factors like age, oral habits, and overall health status play a substantial role in deciding whether you are a good candidate for dental implants.
Your dentist will also discuss with you any queries you may have about the procedure, and what you should expect out of the treatment outcomes. This is also an excellent time to discuss costs and financing options since dental implants can often be an expensive investment.
Step 2: Surgery
Once your dentist has deemed you fit for the procedure, the next step is the surgery. Dental implants are placed in your jawbone by being drilled in the regions of the missing teeth. The surgery is a minor, outpatient procedure that is usually completed in just a couple of hours.
The surgical procedure is followed by a healing period of about 4-6 months. This is done to allow for osseointegration to take place. Osseointegration is a process by which the implant fuses with the surrounding bone, leading to increased stability of the dental implant. Osseointegration is also the main factor that allows dental implants to function very similar to natural teeth.
Step 3: Placement of Permanent Teeth
Once the surgical site has healed completely, and osseointegration has taken place, the abutment is placed onto the dental implant. Abutments serve as a connector between the implant and the dental crown. A small wait period may follow the abutment installation as well. Your dentist may send you home with temporary dental crowns, which will give you a reasonably good idea of what your new permanent teeth will look like.
Before the final restoration, the dentist takes an impression of the abutment in the mouth and sends it to the dental lab for fabrication. The dental crown can then be cemented or screwed onto the dental implant, taking the place of the missing tooth in the mouth.
Same-Day Dental Implants
Same-day dental implants, also known as one-day implants, are often advertised as a quicker alternative to the conventional ones by many dental practitioners. They involve getting the dental implants surgically placed in your mouth and the delivery of the dental crown on the same day. While some dentists do perform this type of dental implant procedure, it should be noted that such cases are at a higher risk of dental implant failure.
Dental implants need sufficient time to integrate into the bone they are placed in. This is an essential step that contributes to the stability of the implant and allows it to withstand biting forces.
Placing the dental crown on the same day as the placement of the dental implant may lead to movement of the implant and hinder the osseointegration process.
Same-day dental implants are usually given for anterior teeth. Compared to posterior teeth, anterior teeth are not required to withstand heavy biting forces and hence, have a higher chance of success.