What To Expect — Dental Implant Process Timeline
Initial Consultation (One Day)
During the initial consultation for dental implants, your dentist or oral surgeon will assess your oral health and determine if you’re a good candidate for dental implants. Consultations for oral surgery typically include thorough examinations of the teeth, gums, and jawbone.
X-rays or other imaging tests are taken to get a better look at your jawbone and your surrounding oral structures. These tests help determine the best location for the implant and whether or not you have enough jawbone density to support it.
Your dentist will also discuss your medical history and any medications you’re currently taking, as certain medical conditions or medications can affect the success of implant treatment.
If you’re deemed an ideal candidate for dental implants, your dentist will discuss the different types of dental implants available, and explain the benefits and risks of each option. They’ll also explain the surgical procedure, recovery time, and estimated cost of treatment.
Finally, the dentist may take measurements or dental impressions of your teeth and jaw for use while planning your implant placement.
Pre-Implant Treatment Surgeries (Dependent On Patient Situation – 3 to 12 months)
In certain cases, patients may need to undergo pre-implant treatment surgery. Also known as supplemental procedures, patients may need one depending on various factors:
- Insufficient Jawbone Density: Dental implants require a certain amount of healthy jawbone to securely anchor the posts. If you lack adequate jawbone density, bone grafting may be needed to build up the jawbone.
- Gum Disease: Gum disease can lead to the loss of bone and tissue in the jaw, making it difficult to place dental implants. If you have gum disease, you’ll need treatment to address the infection.
- Sinus Augmentation: When placing an implant in the upper jaw, the implant may need to be placed in the sinus area, a hollow area behind the cheekbones. In some cases, this area may not have enough bone to support an implant. A sinus augmentation can add bone to the sinus area and provide enough support for the implant.
- Ridge Expansion: When the jawbone is too thin or narrow, ridge expansion can add width to the jawbone. This procedure is performed before or during implant placement.
If you need any of the procedures mentioned above, expect a longer dental implant process timeline. Each patient’s dental implant timeline will be dependent upon the condition of their oral health and the type of dental implants they’re receiving.
Dental Implant Placement (One Day)
The specific steps of dental implant surgery may vary depending on the type of implant and your individual needs. The dental implant procedure timeline only takes one visit, but patients will need to plan time for healing.
Generally, the dental implant procedure can be completed in the following steps:
- Anesthesia/Dental Sedation: You’ll be given local anesthesia or other dental sedation to ensure you’re comfortable during the procedure and feel no pain.
- Incision: The surgeon will make a small incision into the gums to access the jawbone.
- Implant placement: The implant (a small metal post) is placed into the jawbone deep enough to ensure it’s stable and secure.
- Suture: The incision will be closed with sutures, and the surgical area will be cleaned and dressed.
Once the implant surgery is complete, you’ll go home to begin recovering. To help ensure a successful recovery, make sure to prepare for your dental implant procedure. Your dentist will provide you with instructions at your initial consultation.
Recovery (3 to 6 Months)
Immediately after dental implant surgery, you’ll likely experience discomfort and swelling around the surgical site. This can be managed with pain medications and cold compresses.
During the first few weeks following surgery, you’ll want to eat soft foods and avoid biting or chewing on the surgical side. You’ll also want to avoid smoking and practice good oral hygiene habits.
Once the implant is placed, and the incision has healed, your body will begin the natural process of osseointegration. Osseointegration occurs when the bone starts to grow around the implant and fuse with it, creating a strong and stable base for the replacement tooth. This process typically takes several months to complete.
Creating Your Custom Restoration (During Recovery)
Your custom restoration will be created during the recovery period. Your dentist may instruct you to come in for a few follow-up appointments to ensure you’re healing well. The custom impressions taken during your initial consultation will serve as a guideline to create your custom restoration. Depending on your needs, this may be a dental crown, dental bridge, or dentures.
Restoration Placement (One Day)
After the healing process is complete, you’ll return to your dentist’s office. Your custom restoration will be placed on top and secured. You’ll leave the office with a beautifully complete smile and improved oral health.
Schedule Your Dental Implants Appointment
While the dental implant procedure and the process can take up to nine months to complete, the time investment is worth it. To learn more about dental implants and to see if you qualify for treatment, contact our Seattle dentists. We’ll always review your treatment plan and give you an estimated dental implant process timeline to ensure you have the knowledge you need to make an informed decision about your dental health.