Good Things Come To Those Who Wait: Your Dental Implant Timeline

If you've coped with one or more missing teeth for longer than you'd like to contemplate, you may feel excited about the notion of receiving permanent replacement "teeth" in the form of dental implants. These crown-topped posts not only look, feel and function just like the real thing; they're also meant to last a lifetime. But it's important to remember that good things come to those who wait because dental implantation can be a considerably lengthier process than simply having a bridge or dentures made. Here are the steps you'll likely take toward your goal of receiving dental implants.

Step 1: Determining Whether You're a Good Candidate

Before you can go ahead with your dental implant strategy, your dental specialist must check your jawbone density. If your jawbone has thinned out after many years without teeth, it may not be able to support the implantation of posts until you have gone through a bone grafting procedure. You'll also have to treat any periodontal disease or other dental health issues before proceeding with implants.

Step 2: Bone Grafting (If Necessary)

If you need bone grafting, your dental specialist will open the gum tissue and install a small amount of graft material into the part of your jaw that needs more density. the material may be derived from human bone, or it may be synthetic in nature. The gum is then stitched up, and the graft is allowed to integrate with the rest of your jawbone. Expect this process to take a total of several months, since your bone must be completely healed before moving on to the implantation stage.

Step 3: Implantation and Osseointegration

Once your jawbone has developed the proper density to support an implant, and assuming that your mouth is still healthy, it's time to receive your dental implants. Screw-like titanium posts are drilled down into the jawbone, with their tops sticking up above the gum line. these posts need time to fuse with the surrounding jawbone, a process called osseointegration. Over a period of 2 to 6 months, the bone grows into the threads in the screws, fixing the posts securely in place. In some cases, you might be able to receive immediate load dental implants, in which a temporary crown can be fitted to the post that same day. (Check to see whether your dentist offers this option and whether you're a good candidate for it.)

Step 5: Permanent Crown Placement

After you've given your implants a few months to become a permanent part of your mouth, you can receive the permanent crowns that turn them into natural-looking artificial teeth. Your dentist will do everything possible to match the crown color to the color of your surrounding teeth. As is usually the case with permanent crowns, you may need to have your crowns adjusted in the following weeks until the bite is perfect.

While dental implants may take 6 months or more to complete, they can give you many more years of service than other forms of tooth replacement ever could, and without the need for special cleaning solutions or the worries over slippage and damage. Get all of the facts from your dentist today!