Post by: / July 20, 2018

Restoring your smile How long does a dental implant take

Once you and your dentist have agreed that dental implants are right for you, make sure you clear your diary because it’s not a quick process. From start to finish it can take up to 6 months and several visits for just a single implant to be fitted completely to both yours and your dentist’s satisfaction. If you also need a bone graft to improve the strength of your jawbone in preparation for an implant, you can safely add another 4 or 5 months.

It’s a surgical procedure and although it can be done under local anaesthetic (much like an extraction), you will be making more than one visit:

  • To fit the implants
  • To attached the abutment (see below)
  • To attach the porcelain crown

In some circumstances the full implant can be done in one visit (called an “immediate implant”), but it depends on condition of jawbone and the technique used.

An implant is a titanium rod 8-16mm long that is anchored into your jaw upon which a porcelain crown in fixed. Titanium is known to be compatible with body tissue which is why it used in hip replacements.

Here’s the basic process.

By the time surgery day arrives your dentist will have taken xrays and possibly a 3D scan of your mouth so he has a good overall view of the shape of your mouth, the condition of your bone tissue, and a view of what needs to be done. It allows him to plan exactly where the implants need to be placed.

Stage 1: Inserting the implants (Month 1)

The dentist will make a small incision in your gum to expose the bone then drill into the bone to make room for the implant before stitching the gum closed again. This process alone can take up to 2 hours per implant.

You will now have to wait for the gum to heal and for your jawbone to fuse with the implant, which will be anything from 6 weeks to 6 months depending on whether the implant is in the upper or lower jaw, and your own capacity for recovery.

Stage 2: Modelling the new crown (Month 4)

Once bone fusion is complete, the dentist will expose the gum again and fit an abutment to the implant. This is the device that will hold your new tooth. He will then fit a temporary cap or crown and at the same time take an impression of your mouth. This will be used to make a model of your existing teeth so that the new crown can be constructed to match.

Stage 3: Fitting the new tooth (Month 6)

On your final visit the dentist will cement your new permanent crown onto the abutment. He will make sure everything fits and that you can bite comfortably.

After that you will need to have several follow up review visits to make sure that the implant is working and that you are happy with the finished result.