Dental implants are a great treatment option for people seeking full restoration of missing teeth. But how long does it take to complete the process? While the answer can vary from one patient to the next, a good rule of thumb is to expect between 5 to 8 months from beginning to end.
How the Dental Implant Process Works
Your journey to receiving your dental implants begins with your initial visit to an implant dentist. He or she will do a complete workup of your oral health, ask you some questions, and discuss your treatment goals and options with you.
If you’re in good general condition and the amount of bone in your jaw is sufficient to support your implants, then the next step is to embed the implant itself. Implants are made from a special titanium alloy, the same material used in joint replacement procedures. The procedure itself takes about two hours. Recuperation time is normally from 3 to 6 months.
During your next appointment the dentist will make an impression of your mouth and do some other measurements. He or she will also make sure that your body is fully adjusted to the implant.
Assuming everything looks good, the next step is to create your actual restoration. Usually a separate lab performs this work. Once your dentist receives the appliance, then you will return for the fitting. Time in between these two visits is typically between 10 days and two weeks.
A dental implant does require sufficient amount of healthy bone to support the restoration. On occasion this may necessitate a bone graft procedure and some additional recuperation time. Your dentist will discuss this issue with you at the time of your examination and answer any questions you may have.
One factor that can enable you to start enjoying your implants in less time is to start the process as soon as possible. This will minimize your risk of bone loss from missing teeth.
You should also do everything possible to safeguard your existing teeth and your overall well-being. A healthy body is the foundation of healthy bone structure. Here are some things you can do right now:
- Eat a nutritious, well-rounded diet with plenty of lean protein, fresh vegetables and fiber. This will give your body the raw material it needs to keep you in good shape.
- Avoid illicit drugs, tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption. All these products can rob your body of the vitamins and minerals it needs to maintain your bones and muscles.
- Even a brisk walk several times a week can make a major difference to your health. Physical activity helps to keep your bones, muscles and nerves in good condition, an essential prerequisite for any type of surgery.
- Get plenty of rest and avoid stress. Adequate sleep is essential for maintaining your physical and psychological well-being. If you have trouble sleeping, then talk to your dentist or general care doctor about treatment options.
Dental implants are a great way to enjoy better health and improve every aspect of your life. Make an appointment with your dentist soon to discuss this gentle, effective form of oral therapy.
About the Author
Dr. Anthony Bailey has been practicing dentistry here in Bedford since 1979. He earned his DDS degree from Medical College of Virginia School of Dentistry. You can reach his office online or by calling (540) 586-8106.