A Timeline for Dental Implant Treatment
Tooth loss affects daily life in so many ways. For some, eating is painful and smiling can make them feel self-conscious. Dental implants are a transformative treatment for missing teeth, making it possible for those with tooth loss to enjoy their favorite foods and smile without embarrassment.
When considering dental implants, it’s important to be aware that treatment can be a rather long but rewarding process. The team at Lake Area Dentistry would like to take a moment to review what to expect with this general dental implant timeline. If you live in or around Lake Charles, LA, DeQuincy, LA, or Sulphur, LA, and would like to receive a more personalized timeline, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists.
Preparing for Dental Implant Placement
The timeline for dental implant treatment begins before the surgery itself. During the preparation stage, the jawbone is assessed to make sure that there is sufficient bone tissue to support the implant.
If too much bone loss has occurred, which is common when tooth loss has persisted for years, an additional procedure, called a bone graft, will need to be performed. Adding a bone graft to dental implant treatment can add a few months to the dental implant timeline.
Some patients may also need to have one or more teeth extracted before dental implant placement. If extractions are not performed at the time of implant placement, it can add six weeks or more to the dental implant timeline.
Dental Implant Procedure
The dental implant procedure can begin once the jawbone has sufficient mass to support an implant.
During the procedure, a small incision is made in the gums, a hole is made in the jawbone, and the dental implant is screwed into place. The incision is then closed and the patient will be given instructions to follow during recovery.
Two Weeks After Surgery
Most patients will feel mostly recovered from dental implant surgery about two weeks after treatment. Some may take longer depending on individual healing times and how well aftercare instructions are followed.
Although patients will feel back to normal, it’s important to note that it will take longer for the jawbone to integrate with the implant.
Three to Nine Months for Osseointegration
One of the most important stages of the dental implant timeline is a process called osseointegration. Osseointegration is when the jawbone heals around the implant, creating a bond as the bone tissue integrates with the titanium implant.
Osseointegration is essential for dental implant success and usually takes three to nine months to complete, but may take longer depending on the individual.
Abutment Placement and Recovery
Once osseointegration is complete, an attachment piece called an abutment may be placed. Placing the abutment requires a minor incision in the gums to expose the dental implant.
After the abutment is placed, most patients will require two to four weeks for their gum tissue to heal. Once healed, the final restoration can be placed.
After the gums have healed from placing the abutment, treatment can be completed by attaching a dental restoration to the abutment and dental implant. At this time, patients should be able to use their new restorations just as they would use their natural teeth.
Although several months will have passed since the start of dental implant treatment, the time is well worth it when you’re able to eat your favorite foods in comfort and smile with confidence.
Contact Lake Area Dentistry
For answers to your questions about dental implants or to discuss your personal timeline, please call (337) 478-8470 or contact us online.