Though considered “new” in comparison to the alternative solutions of dental bridges and dentures, dental implant treatment has been a tooth replacement solution for 50 years now. With a half-century successful track record, dental implants are an incredibly safe and highly recommended restorative solution by dental professionals, as they are the most “tooth-like” replacements available. The dental implant treatment sequence can be perceived as a long, confusing process, so the following timeline will give you a better understanding of what to expect during the dental implant treatment process.
The Dental Implant Treatment Timeline
Extraction and/or Bone Graft — If not already removed or lost, the tooth being replaced will need to be extracted by a dental professional before the implant procedure can take place. If the quality and quantity of bone is inadequate for the placement of dental implants, you may require a bone graft before your dental implant surgery.
Dental Implant Surgery — Popular to contrary belief, a dental implant is actually a replacement of the root of the tooth. Once the bone graft has healed, your oral surgeon will place the dental implant in the bone using a gentle surgical technique. Depending on your needs and the recommendation of your surgeon for your comfort, the procedure can be performed under local anesthetic, a light sedation, or general anesthesia.
Healing Period — For three to six months following surgery, the implant must remain undisturbed in order for the implant to bond properly to the bone and stabilize. Once your oral surgeon has decided the implant has properly fused with the jaw, the final phase begins.
Replacement Tooth — At this point, enough bone has grown into the surface of the implant to anchor it and to safely allow normal chewing forces. Your oral surgeon or your restorative dentist will uncover the dental implant and attach a small post to the implant that will act as an anchor for the artificial tooth. The restorative dentist will then take impressions of the upper and lower jaws and send these to the dental lab technician who will fabricate the final crown. The crown is the part that is seen in the mouth and looks and functions like a tooth. The dentist will either cement or screw the final crown into place to complete your treatment.
If you have more questions about the dental implant procedure, or feel you are a candidate for dental implant treatment, Austin Oral Surgery’s Patient Service team is here to assist you. Call or email us today!