The dental implant procedure can be a long one, but it’s completely worth it in the end.
Imagine getting rid of that partial and never be embarrassed by your missing teeth ever again. That’s the purpose of this service. Granted, it takes a lot more time to get the final result— so if you’re looking for a quick fix for your broken tooth, this isn’t the solution for you.
But, if you’re someone who wants a permanent fix to your teeth problems, the dental implant process is something you should be aware of. It can take up to a year to get your final results because there are weeks of healing time in between.
To give you an idea of what it’s like from start to finish, we’ve broken down each stage of the process!
The Dental Implant Procedure
Before you call up your dentist to book a procedure, keep in mind that you have a long road ahead of you. Whether you’re looking for one or multiple implants, the process can take up to a year.
The reason for that is mostly due to recovery time. This allows you to keep your regular schedule and helps to make sure the implants are secure in your mouth.
Think you’re ready for the commitment? Here’s what you need to do:
Week 1: Find a Dental Implant Dentist
You don’t want any Average Joe dentist providing you with this service. You don’t have to go to a dental implant specialist, but we highly recommend looking for a dentist who has a long history with this type of procedure (if you’re in the Los Angeles area, give Dr. Lasry a call). Always make sure to thoroughly read their reviews and look for some dental implant before and after pictures!
Once you’ve found the perfect dentist, you’ll schedule your first appointment. On this day, we’ll pick out the type of implant you want, create an impression of your mouth, and do a full scan. This helps us determine what steps we’ll need to take to come up with an estimated timeframe.
The scan is essential because we’ll need to determine if your jawbone is strong enough to withstand this procedure. If it’s not, we’ll recommend a bone graft (more on that next).
Lasry Dental Clinic is offering free 3D scans for dental implant patients, by the way!
Week 2: Teeth Pulling and Bone Grafting (Sometimes)
Let’s say you’re interested in a permanent tooth replacement because you’ve already lost that tooth. That’s actually a best-case scenario because it saves you a ton of time.
However, if you’re looking to replace a fragile or broken tooth, we will need to pull it first. It takes 7-10 days to fully heal from tooth extraction, so it may be a few weeks or months before the next step in this procedure.
And as we mentioned, your jawbone strength will determine how long or short this entire process will be. If it’s too weak to undergo drilling, then you’ll need a bone graft. There are three types of bone grafts, which you can read about here.
A bone graft is the one step that will extend the timeframe in which you get your final results. You’ll need to allow a minimum of four months to heal from a bone grafting procedure.
Week 3-4: Placement
Whether or not you need a tooth pulled, it’s likely that your next appointment won’t be for another month from your initial consultation.
During that time, we’re doing our due diligence to prep your permanent crown. However, we need to do a few more things before we put in that final placement.
The next time we see you will be for the implant of your titanium rod. This is a permanent piece in your gums that will hold the final crown in place. After giving you some local anesthesia, we’ll drill into your gum and jawbone (or graft) before securing in the rod placement.
The time frame for healing after the rod placement varies depending on your age and overall oral health. However, we like to wait anywhere between 4-7 months for your gums and jawbone to heal around this new addition. It’s a process known as osseointegration.
This means your next appointment may be quite a ways away.
Week 16: More Healing
If you had braces as a kid, you know how important it is to take your time with adjusting your teeth. Yes, the dental implant process is long, but just think: a year from now, you’ll never have to worry about them again.
Even though we’ve waited a few months to make sure the rod has healed properly, now we need to make sure the cap itself will heal nicely with your gumline.
That’s why the next step is the placement of an abutment. An abutment is screwed into the rod implant along with a healing cap. This cap will be flush with your gums, giving them time to adjust and prepare for your permanent crown.
Thankfully, you only need to wait 2 more weeks for this stage to heal.
Week 18: Crown Placement
The time has finally come to put the final building blocks into place! Now that we have your permanent crown made and your gums have completely healed, we can screw in the final crown(s).
And that’s it.
Healing from the crown placement is usually only a week to let the inflammation or soreness die down.
RELATED: WHAT IS BONE GRAFTING?
Dental Implant Before and After
So, what can you expect before and after your dental implant procedure? Here’s a photo of one of our more recent patient smile transformations!
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Recovery for Dental Implants
As you can see, recovery for dental implants takes place during each step of the process. This makes it more comfortable for you and ensures that you won’t need to take much time off work. You won’t have to worry about missing big events or holidays, either!
Just to reiterate, here is the timeline for recovery for each stage:
- Teeth Pulling (optional): 10 days recovery time
- Bone Grafting (optional): 4-12 months recovery time
- Dental Implant Placement: 4-7 months recovery time
- Healing Cap Placement: 2 weeks recovery time
- Permanent Cap: 1-2 weeks recovery time
The longest time this process takes from beginning to end is 18 months (that’s with teeth pulling and bone grafting). But chances are, you’ll be able to see your new smile in as soon as 6-12 months.
RELATED: WHAT IS A FULL MOUTH RECONSTRUCTION?
Can you get more than one dental implant at a time?
Yes, you can get one or several dental implants at a time. If you’re looking to get several implants in a row, then we would give you a bridge.
How much does a dental implant cost?
The New York Times and American Academy of Implant Dentistry say that a single tooth implant can cost between $3,000 to $4,500. Read here for more details.