Braces or Invisalign: A ComparisonMarch 8, 2023
Dental implants can give you a healthy smile without empty spots where you have missing teeth. However, if you want a permanent solution to a lost tooth, you must understand that the dental implant process timeline requires several months. With the great team at Trailhead Advanced Dentistry, you will have professionals to help you every step of the way.
What Is a Dental Implant, and Who Might Need One?
Dental implants are artificial roots placed into the jaw to replace one or more missing teeth. If you need dentures, four implants can serve as the support for a full arch.
A missing tooth is unsightly. Those that have lost a single tooth benefit from filling that dental gap with an implant. Adults with this issue may no longer have the confidence to smile.
Even if a missing tooth is not visible when smiling, it can cause other complications. Other teeth in the mouth will naturally try to even out their spacing with the new gap. Such movement can lead to alignment problems that may need straightening.
For years, bridges or dentures that sit atop the gums were the only ones available to people with missing teeth. However, they caused problems due to their inability to help the body retain bone. When you lose a tooth, the jaw does not have anything to hold. Over time, the body will absorb the jawbone in the missing tooth area. This problem becomes worse when you have multiple teeth missing. Denture wearers need their appliances refit every few years to accommodate the lost bone. Refitting is necessary for dentures to become loose and comfortable to wear.
Dental implants solve many of the issues inherent in dentures or bridges. Since implants use a screw placed directly into the jawbone to support the artificial tooth above, they stimulate bone growth. Therefore, those with implant-supported dentures don’t have bone loss and subsequent fit problems over time.
The best candidate to receive a dental implant is someone who has had a recent extraction and still has ample jawbone remaining to support the screw. Additionally, because the complete process may require months, patients must be confident that they want to dedicate the time needed toward getting a permanent replacement for missing teeth.
What Are the Steps in the Dental Implant Process Timeline?
The process will require several months and surgeries to ensure that the implant fully integrates into the jawbone and becomes a permanent fixture. Healing between procedures makes up most of the time for the implant process.
The only difference in the process if you have implant-supported dentures is the number of implants you receive. Instead of separate crowns for each implant, you will get one arch that fits on top of the abutments to replace all the teeth for the top or bottom half of your mouth.
Extraction and Healing
The first step is pulling the tooth if you have yet to lose it—several months of healing following the extraction. The dentist will assess the state of your gums and jaw to determine when to begin the dental implant process after the extraction.
You might need a bone graft if you don’t have enough bone to provide adequate support for the screws. This separate procedure can add six to twelve months to your implant timeline. However, it will ensure the success of the implant. Your dentist will let you know if you need a bone graft. Most patients don’t require this step.
Implanting the Screw
The first main step in the process is inserting the titanium screw into your jaw. This step requires outpatient dental surgery.
During this surgery, the dentist will open a hole in the gum to access the jawbone. They then will insert the screw that will replicate the root of your artificial tooth.
The titanium screw does not react with tissue or bone. Instead, the bone treats it as another part of the body and grows around it in a process called osseointegration.
Osseointegration occurs during the next few months. Depending on your body, healing may require two to six months before the dentist feels ready to add the abutment to the implant.
Adding the Abutment
Your subsequent surgery involves the placement of the abutment. This piece serves as the junction between the implant and crown or dentures.
The process of placing the abutment requires the dentist to open the gum tissue over the implant screw. They will then place the abutment on top and replace the tissue surrounding the abutment.
During this visit, the dentist may also take imprints of your teeth for the custom crown to place on top of the abutment.
After the abutment installation, you will need another two weeks for the gum to heal before getting the final implant crown. The dentist also waits for the crown’s creation during this healing process.
Completing the Tooth with a Crown
Finally, you’ll get the crown on top of the abutment. This crown matches your surrounding teeth in color and size. Many people who have their implants completed forget that they lost a tooth in that spot. The replacement feels as strong as a regular tooth. It also looks just like a normal tooth.
If you got implant-supported dentures, the full arch of teeth would have a more secure hold than adhesive-held dentures. Plus, since you have implants to keep your body from absorbing the jawbone under your dentures, you will maintain a superb denture fit for life.
Start Your Dental Implant Process Timeline Today with Us at Trailhead Advanced Dentistry
Losing a tooth does not mean that you have to hide your smile. A better smile awaits you. You can get your smile back with a dental implant to replace the missing tooth. Contact us at Trailhead Advanced Dentistry for an appointment to see if you can get implants in your mouth. We can get you started on your personalized dental implant process timeline. You can get back your smile. Our team at Trailhead Advanced Dentistry can help. I am proud to be a dentist near Ballantyne and the surrounding area in the Charlotte Metro.