How Long Does Dental Implant Treatment Take?
Are you considering dental implant treatment? There are all sorts of reasons why somebody might want dental implants – as an alternative to dentures, to eat their favorite foods, or to get their smile back and regain their confidence. But one of the most common concerns prospective patients have is how long the dental implant process will take.
If you’ve been putting off getting dental implants out of fear, you’re not alone; this post is for you. We’ll explain everything you need to know about dental implant treatment and how long it will take from start to finish. With this knowledge, you can make the best decision for your dental health and well-being.
What Is Dental Implant Treatment?
Before diving into how long the process takes, let’s cover the basics of dental implant treatment.
Dental implant treatment is a surgical procedure that replaces missing or decaying teeth. For years, dentures or a bridge were the only way to fill in the gaps left by missing teeth. While these are still viable solutions, dental implants offer a permanent and natural-looking result.
The dental implant itself is made up of two parts: a titanium implant post that’s implanted into the jawbone and an attached prosthetic tooth. The post acts as a replacement for the root of your natural tooth and provides a secure base for the prosthetic.
During the healing process, your implant will fuse with your bone. This process, known as osseointegration, ensures a strong, secure bond between your implant and bone. It’s this bond that gives dental implants the stability they need to act as a replacement for your natural teeth.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implant Treatment?
Dental implant treatment might sound scary – especially if you haven’t been to the dentist in years. However, there are many benefits that make it an excellent choice for the estimated 178 million Americans who are missing one or more teeth. These include:
Dental implants are designed to look and feel just like your natural teeth. As such, they provide a superior aesthetic result over dentures or bridges. This helps to boost your self-confidence and restore your beautiful smile.
Preservation of Jawbone Structure
Unlike a bridge, having implants won’t affect your nearby teeth. Instead, the implant post acts as an anchor to preserve your jawbone’s structure. This prevents shifting of your nearby teeth and keeps your bite in alignment.
Dental implants are more durable than dentures, making it easier to eat your favorite foods that you may have had trouble with before. This allows you to enjoy your meals the same way you did with your natural teeth.
Once fused to your jawbone, dental implants can last a lifetime with proper maintenance. A well-cared-for implant can provide years of service and make you forget it’s not your natural tooth.
How Long Does Dental Implant Treatment Take?
The reality is there’s no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question. From the procedure itself to the healing period, every aspect of this treatment will depend on you as the patient.
If you’re missing a lot of teeth, it will take longer to fit your implants. However, many people decide that the process’s length is more than worth it for the results.
In general, dental implant treatment involves four stages:
The first stage is to call a nearby dental clinic to arrange an initial consultation. During this appointment, your dentist will take some advanced imaging scans of your mouth, which will help create your personalized treatment plan.
Your dentist will also discuss your options with you and answer any questions you may have about dental implant treatment. This is a great opportunity to clear up any of your concerns about the procedure and gain more insight into what to expect.
2. Pre-Procedure Appointment
If you decide that you’d like to move forward, the next step is to attend a pre-procedure appointment.
Here, your dentist will examine your teeth again to finalize your treatment plan and get you ready for the actual procedure. You’ll also be given specific instructions on how to take care of your teeth before and after the implant placement.
3. The Dental Implant Procedure
Now, it’s time to get your dental implants. The length of your appointment will depend on how many implants you’re having fitted.
Generally, each implant will take around half an hour to complete. Your dentist may have scheduled more than one session if you’re replacing several or even all of your teeth.
If you’re anxious about your appointment, dental clinics might offer you the option of being sedated. This option will mean that your procedure takes a little longer, as you’ll need time to wake safely afterward.
4. The Healing Process
Once your dental implants are in place, your mouth will need to heal. Again, the length of time this takes will depend on how many implants you’ve had fitted.
Immediately after the procedure, you’ll naturally be a little sore. However, this discomfort will quickly improve.
Initially, you’ll receive temporary crowns (false teeth) while your mouth adjusts to the implants. After about three months, or when your implants have fused with your jawbone, your dentist will replace the crowns with your permanent prosthesis.
Are There Any Factors That Can Make Dental Implant Treatment Take Longer?
In addition to the number of implants you need, there are some other factors that can make dental implant treatment take longer. These include:
- The location of your implants in your mouth.
- Whether or not you require bone grafting. This surgical procedure will help to build up the bone in your jaw if you don’t have enough bone density naturally to support your implants.
- The level of infection if you have required tooth removal due to decay.
If any of the above applies to you, your dentist will inform you and provide a more accurate timeline for your treatment.
Call Us Today to Start Your Dental Implant Treatment
Getting dental implants is a personal process. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us today or take our virtual consult quiz online. We’ll be able to give you a more accurate idea of how long your dental implant treatment will take.
We don’t believe that fear should hold you back from having your best smile. At Jones & Copeland Smiles, we will never judge you for not visiting the dentist sooner – whether it’s been three years or thirty since your last appointment.
Ready to take your first step? Call us at (770) 965-3048 to arrange your in-office consultation today!
First Published: August 21, 2020
Updated: April 4, 2023