Once you have decided to replace your missing teeth with dental implants, you might be eager to show off your smile, but you are going to have to wait a while. Learn more about how long the dental implant process will take.
The Different Phases of the Dental Implant Process
There are multiple steps involved with getting dental implants. Each step must be successfully completed, before you can advance to the next step.
How long it takes to advance through the different phases of the dental implant process will vary depending upon the following factors:
- Number of dental implants that are being placed
- The need for a bone graft or sinus augmentation
- Length of time teeth have been missing – placing dental implants at the time of dental extraction can speed up the process, but if teeth have been missing for a while, that is no longer an option and the process will take longer to complete
- The speed at which it takes to heal from the extraction, bone graft/sinus augmentation, and dental implant placement
For some people, the dental implant process can be completed in three to six months. For others who may require more procedures or be slower to heal, it may take closer to nine months or even a year.
Dr. D. Timothy Pike at Pike & Valega, DDS in Rockville, Maryland will discuss with you during your consultation how long you can expect the dental implant process will take. He will break down the entire process into phases and explain how long each phase will take to complete.
Taking a Closer Look at the Dental Implant Surgery Phase
The surgery phase is often the most complex and nerve-wrecking part of the dental implant process. To help you feel more comfortable with the process, we will explain what occurs and how long you can expect it to take.
Surgery Length Depends on When the Dental Implants are Being Placed
When the dental implants are being placed will determine how long your surgery takes. If you are having the dental implants – the posts which will hold the crown in place – placed at the same time as a tooth extraction, the surgical process may take longer as the teeth not only need to be completely removed, but the posts have to be properly placed.
In situations where the dental implants are being placed at the same time as the teeth are being extracted, the surgical procedure can take anywhere from an hour to several hours. It depends upon how many implants are being placed and how many teeth are being extracted. The more implants that are placed, the longer the surgical procedure will take. The more teeth that are removed, the longer the procedure will take.
Needing a Bone Graft or Sinus Augmentation Adds Time to the Dental Implant Process
Bone grafts and sinus augmentations are additional surgical procedures that may need to be performed in order to make you a good candidate for dental implants. If you need these procedures, more time will be needed for you to complete the dental implant process.
The dental implant process takes longer because you not only need additional surgical procedures, but you need to wait for those procedures to fully heal before you can proceed with the next oral surgery.
The bone graft or sinus augmentation must fully heal before the dental implants can be placed. Failing to wait until the area has fully healed can cause the dental implants to fail. The dental implants fail because the bone doesn’t have the strength or stability to support the implant post. Over time, the dental implant may loosen and eventually fall out.
The actual procedure for bone grafts or sinus augmentations takes just over an hour to complete. In some cases, where only a small amount of bone needs to be grafted, the entire procedure could take just 20 minutes. It can take an hour to an hour and half for the surgery to be completed in situations where more bone is needed or the location of the graft placement is more complex.
Healing from Bone Grafts and Sinus Augmentations Takes Months
Expect it to take anywhere from three to six months for the bone to fully heal after a bone graft or sinus augmentation. Our dentist will schedule regular visits with you to monitor the healing process. If we notice you are healing faster than expected, we may be able to proceed to the implant placement stage earlier than planned.
Placement of Dental Implants
The lengthiest part of the surgical procedure is the placement of dental implants. It is estimated that it can take an hour to two hours to place just a single dental implant. However, the time varies depending upon the experience of your dentist.
To speed up the surgical process, Dr. Timothy Pike uses advanced digital images to map out exactly where the dental implants need to be placed. Doing this type of advanced planning, helps to speed up the surgical process as our dentist doesn’t have to spend time figuring out the best areas to place the dental implants. All of that had been decided before the day of the surgery.
Dental Implants Take Time but The Final Results are Amazing
From start to finish, the entire dental implant process can take months or even up to a year. However, the way your smile looks when the entire process is complete will have made it worth the wait.
Interested in getting dental implants? Schedule an appointment for a dental implant consultation with Dr. Timothy Pike at Pike & Valega, DDS. Dr. D. Timothy Pike can help you determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants and explain the process to you. Consultations can be scheduled by calling our dental office or by submitting our contact us form.