Dental implants are one of the best ways to restore a natural-looking smile. A dental implant looks, feels, and functions just like natural teeth.
The process for receiving a dental implant is one that typically involves multiple outpatient surgeries with periods of healing in between. The amount of time and healing needed does vary depending on your jaw and gum health.
How Long Do Dental Implants Take?
How long it takes to get a dental implant depends on many factors such as which teeth need to be replaced and the type of implant placement. Implants are typically either traditional or same-day. Traditional implants can take months while same-day implants are more immediate.
Both traditional dental implants and same-day dental implants boast an extremely high success rate, from 95-100%, but traditional dental implants require a more lengthy process of several months before you see a tooth.
To find out which type of implant is best for you, your dentist will first take a comprehensive examination, including x-rays of your mouth and jaw to determine whether you’re a good candidate for implants. At this exam, they will also determine which type of implant will be best for you and if you need a bone graft surgery prior to the implant procedure.
Sometimes patients need to have a bone graft done before an implant can be placed to prepare for the future implant. If you’ve suffered from bone loss in the jaw due to missing teeth or other diseases, you may first need to have bone graft surgery done to ensure the implant has a strong foundation. This step may be a determining factor in the traditional vs same-day implant choice.
Traditional Implants Timeline
If you have an already missing tooth or even if the tooth with the issue hasn’t been removed yet, you may still need a bone graft to fill the empty tooth socket. After this procedure, you will most likely need to allow 2-4 months for the socket to heal after extraction and fill with new bone. After this time, your oral surgeon will place the implant into your jawbone and will allow 3-6 more months for the implant to settle into your bone. Once the implant is firmly integrated into your bone, a final tooth replacement called a crown can be placed on top of the implant post. A crown is a part that looks just like a natural tooth and completes the look and function of your smile. In total, this adds up to a process that may take between 5 and 10 months to complete, with the result being a restored mouth, both functionally and aesthetically.
Keep in mind that although a crown cannot be placed when doing traditional implants, a temporary removable replacement can be made so that you are not without a tooth if replacing one that is noticeable when you smile.
Same-Day Implants Timeline
Compared to traditional dental implants, same-day dental implants offer you a much faster timeline. You’ll go through the same consultation, examination, and x-rays as with traditional dental implants, but the procedure to actually place the dental implant and add a crown on top can be completed in one visit. Typically, a same-day implant can be done at the time of the tooth extraction and a temporary crown is placed that same day. Keep in mind that a permanent crown will be placed later when the bone has fused more firmly with the implant.
How are Same-Day Implants Different from Traditional Implants?
The main difference between traditional and same-day implants is that same-day implants can be performed all in one day with a collaborative effort between your implant surgeon and implant dentist. Generally, this means that the process comes with fewer surgical steps.
In this method, dental implants are placed immediately after the diseased tooth is extracted. Although a permanent crown is not typically placed immediately, a temporary tooth replacement tooth can be made during the healing process. That means that when you leave, you don’t have to spend months with a missing tooth, which reduces concerns about appearance. It also means that your replacement is generally not something that you take in and out during the healing process.
While same-day implants can do all of this in one appointment, keep in mind that it still takes months for the implants to fuse properly in the bone, which is about six weeks. So, during that time, those implants are vulnerable and could fail if you do not follow post-op directions very carefully.
In addition, during the six-week period, gums are also healing and changing as well, which can alter the implant’s appearance and function. Therefore, your implant dentist makes a temporary crown on the day of your implant surgery. A permanent restoration is always best after complete healing.
Keep in mind that not every patient is a candidate for same-day implants. Whether your implants will be traditional or same-day will depend on the tooth to be replaced, the number of implants needed, or your general oral and medical health condition.
Although the process of receiving a dental implant can take some time, the result is a crown that looks and functions just like one of your natural teeth. As long as all recommendations are followed along the way, the chances of success with your dental implant are high.