Dental implants are being turned to more and more for their ability to bring back the function, beauty, and health to an imperfect smile. Knowing what to expect on your journey to smile restoration will help you better prepare and make the most out of your path to beautiful pearly whites. A great place to start involves an understanding of the timeline for dental implants. To optimize healing and increase the success rate for implants, the process will take place over the course of four to six months. During this time, you’ll go through tooth extraction (if necessary), implantation, healing, attachment, and finally crown placement.
The path to dental implants begins with an initial consultation with your dentist. During this consultation, your dentist will take a thorough look at each area of concern and all smile imperfections that stand between you and a perfect smile. Any gaps caused by missing teeth, broken teeth, damaged teeth, or teeth suffering from decay will be carefully assessed. Your consultation will also be an opportunity to talk about what to expect as you move forward towards a restored smile. For many individuals, the different phases of dental implantation will take several months depending on the healing process and the needs of the patient.
During your consultation, your dentist will carefully assess the current state of any teeth needing repair or replacement. For a lot of dental implant patients, achieving a healthy-looking, functional smile may require the extraction of broken or damaged teeth. Prior to the implants being placed, your dentist will schedule the extraction of those teeth and leave time for the gum to heal.
First Appointment & Implant Placement
During the first month of the dental implant process, an appointment will be scheduled to insert titanium implants into the socket where your previous tooth once sat. Implantation will be scheduled after any necessary post-extraction healing has taken place. Before the procedure, your dentist will determine if a general anesthetic or localized anesthetic and conscious sedation are needed for your procedure. The type of anesthetic will depend on the number of implants being placed, the health of your jawbone, and the expected complexity of the implant.
During the procedure, a small incision will be made in your gum and holes will be drilled into the bone where the metal screws will be placed. Since these posts will act as tooth roots, they will be implanted deeply into the jaw bone.
Healing & Osseointegration
After your implants have been inserted, the next step of the process is all about healing. The stability of the titanium implants and health of the surrounding bone are crucial for the success of your new teeth, making this step of the process extremely important. Though this point in the timeline varies from patient to patient, the standard amount of time required for healing is 4 to 6 months. Throughout this time, a period of bone growth called osseointegration will take place. During this process, the implants will fuse with the surrounding bone as it grows over the surface of the metal screw. This will create the necessary strength and stability (similar to a tooth root) that will be the foundation for your new tooth.
During the sixth month, after healing and osseointegration have taken place, a second appointment will be scheduled to attach an abutment to each implant. The abutment is the small metal piece that will act as an anchor, eventually attaching the crown to the titanium screw in your jawbone. To place the abutment, your dentist will once again make a small incision in your gum, exposing the implant. The abutment will then be attached and the gum tissue closed around the new metal piece.
Another Round of Healing
After attachment of the metal anchor, your dentist will leave space for another round of healing. Over the course of two weeks, your gums will have time to heal as your dentist designs and constructs custom crowns for your smile restoration. After the abutment attachment, impressions will be taken to help with this step of the process. Your dentist may work with a lab at this point to help with the construction of your new, custom-made teeth.
After healing is complete and your crowns are ready, your final appointment will be scheduled and your new teeth finally placed. The artificial tooth will be attached to the titanium implant via the abutment. While the titanium post acts as the root for your new tooth, the crown will serve functionally and aesthetically, acting as your original tooth once did. Your new tooth will also be customized to match the appearance of the surrounding teeth, both in color and shape, so you’ll be the only one to know that your new tooth is artificial.
Dental Implants at Champions Dental
Dental implants are an excellent tool utilized for their ability to bring a smile back to life. If you suffer from missing or damaged teeth or smile imperfections, dental implants can restore both beauty and function. At Champions Dental, we commit ourselves to providing premier dental services aimed at enhancing the health and appearance of your smile. With more than 15 years of experience and hundreds of successful implant procedures, we work hard to impact our community with a compassionate approach to dentistry.