If you are missing a tooth (or more) but don’t like dentures, you would be delighted to know there is a much better option now available at your disposal—dental implants. While dental implant costs more compared to other alternatives, it has a very high success rate.
Unfortunately, aside from dental implant cost, some are intimidated by the procedure because they think it’s time-consuming and complicated. While there is truth to this and the procedure is considered invasive, recovery is often straightforward. However, many factors can impact your dental implant recovery time.
Dental Implants in a Nutshell
Dental implants are considered permanent alternatives to dental bridges and dentures. They are surgically embedded into the jawbone. The small metal rod functions like the root of the natural tooth. Aside from mimicking the look and feel of the natural tooth, dental implants offer many benefits.
A missing tooth can cause the jawbone to weaken but the metal rod sits in the jaw, it will give the bone something to grow around. This process is called osseointegration. Once the osseointegration process has been completed, the dental implant is firmly integrated into the jaw, creating a strong anchor for the artificial teeth.
Step 01: Consultation
Before the procedure begins, you need to schedule a consultation with your dentist. They will examine your teeth and mouth and determine the number of dental implants required. From there, they will make a recommendation.
If you have healthy gums, your surrounding teeth are healthy, and you have good bone density, you are considered a good candidate for the dental implant procedure. If your dentist finds a problem that can hinder the success of your dental implant, your dentist can recommend procedures to ensure your mouth and jaw are healthy enough.
Step 02: Dental Implant Surgery
If your dentist believes your mouth is healthy enough, they will schedule the dental implant procedure. The procedure will require local anesthesia. Anxious or nervous patients may be given sedation. A small incision in the gums will be made to expose the jawbone. The jawbone will be drilled and the titanium rod is embedded into place.
Typically, you will be asked to follow a diet of soft foods. Make sure you follow any guidelines your dentist provides to prevent infection. This is important so you don’t lengthen tooth implant recovery time. You might also experience some swelling and discomfort but they can be resolved by taking over the counter pain relievers.
Step 03: Placing the Abutment
Once the dental implants and the jaw have fused, a second procedure will be scheduled to attach the abutment. The abutment is attached to the implant and it connects to the crown. The healing process after the abutment is placed can last for at least two weeks. However, you might need to wait for six weeks before the crown is fitted.
Step 04: Choosing and Inserting the Artificial Teeth
Before the artificial tooth is placed, your dentist will create a mold using X-ray or 3D imaging. This is done so a custom crown can be created for you. The process will take around six weeks. Once ready, an appointment will be set to have the teeth fitted. Once done, you need to practice proper dental hygiene.
Dental Implant Recovery Time
If no extra surgeries are required for your case, an average of four weeks is needed for your active dental implant recovery. However, the osseointegration process can take from six to nine months so the whole dental implant process might require a year or more. Talk to your dentist so you will get an individualised timeframe for your case.