If you’ve visited our website before you know that implants are the preferable tooth restoration for most people with a missing tooth.
The dental implant process can take several dental visits over a period of months.
Don’t let this discourage you. Each stage of the procedure is vital.
Remember that the tooth implant timeline is not a drawback. It is indicative of the permanent nature of a tooth implant.
The Dental Implant Timeline
1. Dental Implant Examination and Assessment
A complete tooth implant and restoration consists of the post or root replacement, the abutment, and the final restoration (crown, denture, bridge, or partial denture).
It all starts with a consultation.
At your first visit to Dr. Bill Dorfman, DDS – Century City Aesthetic Dentistry, we’ll take X-rays and assess your mouth. We will examine your teeth, gums, and jawbone.
Be prepared to discuss your physical health in general and your medical history.
If you don’t have sufficient bone at the implant site, we may recommend bone grafting surgery. This common procedure is described on our website.
2. Tooth Implant Placement
The first step is to insert the titanium alloy implant into your jawbone. This is not as difficult or painful as it sounds. Most patients are surprised at how rapid and easy the procedure is.
- First, we’ll use local anesthesia to numb the implant site.
- Dr. Dorfman will make an incision in the gums. This opens the gums so the bone is accessible.
- Then, we drill a small hole. The hole is the precise diameter and depth of the post.
- The implant post is screwed into the hole in the bone.
- We’ll take an X-ray to confirm the implant is in the correct place.
- We will then sew the gums back over the implant.
The tooth implant procedure will take from one to two hours.
OTC pain relievers are usually adequate for post-surgery soreness. Most dental implant patients can go back to work after the surgery.
Soreness and swelling should subside after a few days. An ice pack (used on the cheek, not inside the mouth) can ease swelling.
If the implant site (and missing tooth) is visible when you smile, we will create a removable partial denture or flipper. You can wear this while you are waiting for the final restoration.
Make sure you practice daily oral hygiene but be extra gentle when cleaning around the surgical site.
Implant surgery would not be successful if your jawbone did not welcome a non-biological tooth root. Amazingly, in the vast majority of cases, the jawbone tightly fuses with the implant. This is necessary to create an extremely durable foundation for the last restoration.
Titanium readily integrates with bone. The official term for this quality is ‘osteophilic’. For most patients, it takes from three to six months for the post and jawbone to become inseparable.
4. Placing the Final Restoration
The concluding step is a crown, bridge, or denture. A connecting piece called an abutment attaches the restoration to the artificial root(s). The crown, bridge, or denture is all that is visible at the end of the process.
When you have your new smile at the end of this process, it will all be worth it!