How Long Does A Dental Implant Procedure Take? - Smile Stories

How Long Does A Dental Implant Procedure Take?

If you’re considering dental implants in Bournemouth you may be wondering how long the procedure takes. The honest answer is that it depends. It can take a good few months from your initial consultation to having a fully integrated implant and functioning artificial crown. 

The length of time it takes depends on which implants you’re most suitable for, the time it takes the implant to heal and if you need additional treatments before surgery. The best way to find out how long it will take for you to get dental implants is to book a consultation with one of the skilled implantologists here at Smile Stories. We can assess your suitability and make you a personalised treatment plan.

Whilst we can’t say how long the dental implant procedure will take, without a consultation, we can give you an overview of the process, explain how long each step may take and the factors that influence the duration. 

What Are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is a prosthesis, an artificial device used to replace a missing tooth or teeth. The prosthetic implant replaces the tooth root and the crown (the white part of the tooth visible above the gum line).

A dental implant consists of three parts

  • The implant screw – this part is inserted into the jaw bone and acts as an artificial tooth root. They are usually made from titanium but can be made from other inert materials.
  • Abutment – a connecting piece that joins the prosthesis (artificial crown) to the implant.
  • An artificial crown – a tooth-shaped cap made from metal and/or porcelain

Unless you’re having same-day implants fitted, the different parts are usually placed in stages. The time between each stage can vary from several weeks to several months. 

Step By Step Overview Of The Process

The process of getting dental implants fitted consists of several steps including an initial consultation, a clinical assessment, placing the different parts of the implants and recovery. It may also include additional treatments required before implants are fitted.

We outline the different steps below.

It’s important to note that each person will have a slightly different experience, based on their implantologist and their specific treatment.

Initial Consultation

Here at Smile Stories, we offer our patients the opportunity to have their initial consultation face-to-face or online. During this initial chat, we’ll gather as much information about your goals, ask you about your medical and dental history and we’ll explain more about having the dental implant procedure with us. We may be able to give you a rough estimate of the costs and how long the procedure will take – although we can give you a much more accurate picture following the next step.  

Treatment Plan/Clinical Assessment

Following the initial consultation, we’ll meet face-to-face so that we can assess your oral health, your suitability for dental implants and determine which implants are right for you. 

XRays and Images

We’ll take lots of pictures. We’ll take X-rays and use advanced technology to take digital images so we can get an accurate picture of the structures in your mouth. It enables us to get accurate dimensions of the jaw bone and teeth. We’ll use the images to create a 3D digital image of your mouth to determine your suitability for implants and make a treatment plan.

The Treatment Plan

Our friendly, knowledgeable implantologists will explain which implants are best for you, the procedure, how long the implant procedure will take as well as the cost. 

Additional Treatments

It’s worth noting that if our assessment or the digital scans reveal that you have gum disease or there isn’t enough bone to support the implant we may suggest that you have additional treatments such as professional gum health treatments or bone grafting before we proceed with the dental implant procedure. 

Periodontitis or insufficient bone can have a profound effect on the success of your implants and these issues must be addressed before implants are fitted if you want them to be successful.

Unfortunately, these procedures have an impact on the length of time it takes to get dental implants fitted. 

Placing the Dental Implants

As we mentioned above the implants consist of three different parts and they are usually fitted in stages, with a period of healing in between.

The process of placing a dental implant involves multiple steps, including:

  • Damaged tooth removal (unless missing already)
  • Jawbone preparation (grafting), when needed
  • Dental implant placement
  • Bone growth and healing
  • Abutment placement
  • Artificial tooth placement

Extraction Of A Damaged Tooth/Teeth

If you have damaged teeth still in situ, they need to be extracted ahead of implant surgery. As tooth extraction is classed as minor oral surgery your mouth needs to fully recover before the implant is placed. It’s sometimes possible to place implants immediately after tooth removal, but sometimes we need to wait for bone healing which can take up to 6 months.  

Bone Grafting

As we mentioned above a major factor in the success of dental implants is the quality and quantity of bone in the area. If there isn’t enough bone to support the implant, it will fall out. 

During this procedure, a periodontologist places donor bone under the gum. The donated bone integrates with the jaw bone to make bone which is strong and will support the implant. 

It may take several months for the grafted bone to fully integrate with your jaw bone. Dental implants can’t be placed until the bone has recovered. 

In some instances, only minor bone grafting is required and can be completed at the same time as an implant is placed. 

Dental Implant Placement

Once the site has healed from any additional procedures the implantologist can place the implant. 

As the implant functions as a tooth root it is placed deep within the jaw bone. To access the bone the implantologist will make an incision in the gum to expose the bone. Next, they will drill a hole in the bone and place the metal post into the bone. 

Once the implant has been placed correctly and is comfortable for you, the incision in the gum will be closed using sutures.

Procedure Time

The surgery to place one titanium implant takes between 2-4 hours so naturally the more implants you have fitted, the longer the surgery will take.

Temporary Crowns

A temporary abutment and crown may be placed on top of the implant while the gum heals and the implant integrates with the bone. In some instances, the permanent abutment and/or crown may be placed at the same time as the implant is placed. 

Healing

It can take up to 3-6 months or longer for your implant to become fully integrated into your jawbone.  The technical term used to describe the process where the bone fuses with the implant is called osseointegration. 

What is Osseointegration?

Osseointegration is the process where the jaw bone grows around the implant making it part of the gums and bone. When fully integrated the implant cannot be removed and is secure enough to support an artificial crown. This is an essential part of the dental implant placement process. 

Several things such as poor oral health, peri-implantitis (gum disease around an implant), smoking, uncontrolled diabetes and bruxism (tooth grinding) can slow this process down. 

Abutment Placement

Once the implant has fully integrated, minor surgery may be needed to place the abutment. During this procedure, the implantologist will make a small incision in the gum to expose the implant and attach the abutment. The gum is closed around the implant leaving the abutment exposed above the gum line so that the crown can be attached at a later date. 

The crown can be placed after about two weeks when the gum has healed.

If you had the abutment placed at the same time as the implant you will not need this minor surgery. However, as the abutment is left exposed many people prefer to place it at this later stage. 

Artificial Tooth Placement

Once your gums have healed and the implant is secure your artificial crown can be placed. State-of-the-art technology is used to create a custom-made artificial tooth that is the correct size and shape of the teeth they’re replacing and the colour of the surrounding teeth. 

The bespoke crown will fit comfortably and seamlessly into the gap left by the missing tooth, colour-matching it to your natural teeth and helping to create a beautiful smile.

Your artificial teeth may be removable, fixed or a combination of both.  

Aftercare

Once you have been fitted with your new custom crown, your dental practitioner will talk you through how to properly care for your new tooth replacement. It is important to attend regular check-ups and hygienist appointments to help look after your new implant, just as you would for your natural teeth.

Factors That Affect the Implant Procedure Timeline

As you may have noted whilst reading the above, several factors can affect how long the dental implant procedure can take. 

These factors can include the:

  • Number of implants needed
  • Location of the implants in the mouth
  • Need for tooth extractions 
  • Condition of your bone and gums
  • Speed of healing – the presence of any preexisting conditions that may impact the healing process
  • Number of surgeries required to place the implants

Additionally, your overall oral health, lifestyle habits, and compliance with post-operative care instructions can also play a role in the timeline of dental implant procedures.

So, How Long Does Dental Implant Surgery Take?

There is no definitive answer to the question of how long the dental implant procedure takes as the duration and timeline are different for every patient. Above we have given you an overview of the process and how long each stage takes and the factors which can affect the timeline.  

To summarise, the actual surgery to place the implant takes 2-4 hours, but the total time to get a fully integrated implant with a functioning crown can take anywhere between 12 weeks and a year or more depending on the type and number of implants, the need for additional treatment and how quickly your jaw bone integrates with the implant.   

To get an accurate timeline for how long the dental implant procedure will take in your unique situation, book a FREE consultation with the highly trained and skilled implantologists here at Smile Stories. 

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