Before patients proceed with dental implant surgery, we know it’s critical for patients to understand the various healing stages of implant placement, which depending on your overall treatment plans can take between six and twelve months.
If you’re here, you’ll likely know that dental implants are the most modern, realistic tooth replacement option in today’s dentistry.
But as advanced as the method is, don’t feel concerned about the procedure at all. Many of our past patients have been so surprised about how straightforward implant placement is and how little discomfort can be afterwards.
Technological advances in the field paired with detailed preparation beforehand means that the entire process is a relatively minor surgical procedure, which has an UK average 92% success rate.
When you have decided that implants are the right solution for you, the next focus will be on what the implant procedure holds – however, we’d advise also thinking about the immediate and long-term effects and aftercare of your new replacement teeth.
After our implant and gum specialist has conducted a thorough examination of your mouth with radiographs, x-rays and CT scans of your jaw, we’ll be able to accurately assess the condition of your bone. With the information in hand, we’ll be to plan out a treatment timeline detailing how, where and when your implants will be placed.
Common implant stages look like this:
Following implant placement, patients will experience recovery in two stages. First, you’ll need to allow the surgical site to heal, which can take up to two weeks. The best way to speed up your recovery is by carefully following post-operative instructions like keeping your head elevated, modifying your diet and rinsing with saltwater.
The next stage, is the most crucial as it will defines whether your implant placement will be a success or fail.
Following the first stage (surgery), the implant will be inserted into your jawbone – this is where we will need to take a break from treatment to allow the implant enough time to fuse and heal (a period called osseointegration).
Osseointegration is critical as it will provide a stable foundation for the abutment and final restoration. This healing stage will depend on how your body and immune system reacts (and the number of implants) and can take anywhere from nine weeks to nine months.
Once the implant has successfully fused with the jaw, we’ll ask you to return to the practice to undergo a minor surgery to place the abutment, which will connect the implant to the final restoration (usually a crown).
This stage of healing can delay the final restoration for a further two weeks to a month. Minor swelling and discomfort can be expected following the procedure but is easily managed with OTC medication. Ice packs can be used to minimise inflammation.
Additional pre-implant procedures like sinus lifts or bone grafts can increase your treatment length as we will need to wait for these separate procedures to heal before we can place an implant.
Sinus lifts and bone augmentations are recommended for implant patients, who have a diminished amount of bone in their bone caused by tooth loss. Sinus lifts and bone grafts can take up to 12 months to heal properly.
Without the need to restore bone, the implant surgery is fairly straightforward and should take no more than a few hours in our dental office.
That said, your implant is made up of three parts (implant rod, abutment and restoration crown). In the first stage, the implant will be placed and will require 3-6 months to heal perfectly.
Additionally, tooth extractions can also delay implant placement. In some instances they can be done simultaneously and in others, patients will need to wait around 7 weeks for the area to heal.
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After dental implant surgery, it will be your responsibility to practice good oral hygiene daily to ensure the optimum implant health. That said, implants need no special care outside of ordinary oral hygiene routines as they look and function just like natural teeth.
To keep problems at bay, patients will need to commit to keeping their teeth and mouth healthy by brushing twice a day and visiting a dentist and hygienist regularly.
Some slight discomfort can be experienced – a feeling often compared to a tooth extraction and you’ll be advised to take it easy for a few days. Otherwise it should cause no disruption to your daily life and routine.
Immediately following the procedure, the dentist will detail instructions on how to look after your mouth to protect the implant site.
Dental implant maintenance tips and aftercare guidance to follow post-surgery. In the long-term dental implants won’t need any special maintenance or care. However, the dentist can advise on certain instruments to prolong the life of your implant.
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