What does dental implant surgery involve?
Unlike other restorative options like dentures, your implants are permanently fixed in your jaw. Dental implant surgery is done in multiple stages over many months and what is required can vary from patient to patient, but generally, the process involves:
1. Thorough examinations including x-rays and other scans. This is where your dentist will first ensure you are a candidate for dental implant surgery. Dental implants need strong bones to support them, so some people need additional procedures like bone grafts before the dental implant surgery can commence. This will all be explained thoroughly to you.
2. The dental implant acts as an artificial tooth root to support the prosthetic tooth and gets placed in your jaw first. This is a minor surgery performed with a local anaesthetic. Dental implant recovery time varies, but it generally takes between 3 to 6 months for the implant to be sufficiently healed to support the replacement tooth.
3. When the implant is healed, another minor surgery may be required to fit the abutment to the implant. This is a small component that connects the implant post with the prosthesis.
4. Your crown will be placed on the implant and your treatment will be finished.
What is the dental implant recovery time?
It’s difficult to put an estimate on dental implant recovery time because dental implant surgery is tailored to the individual. Most patients generally experience six to nine months of treatment and healing from start to finish.
Dental implant healing needs to happen at every stage of your journey before moving on to the next stage. It’s not just about recovering from the surgical procedures – that bit is generally fairly fast in that the surgical site itself feels healed within a week or two. It’s about your bone growing into place and becoming strong enough to support the implant and dental crown.
Dental implant recovery time generally takes several months between procedures. It will usually take at least six weeks but may be twelve weeks or more. While that might sound like a long time, dental implants can last for at least a decade or more and give you a realistic tooth replacement which makes the long treatment process worthwhile.
Why does dental implant healing take so long?
Dental implants become a permanent part of the mouth and jaw structure. You won’t experience the post-surgical discomfort stage of healing for long, but it is essential that you follow all instructions provided by your dentist at all stages, even when your mouth “feels fine”.
The longest part of the healing process is osseointegration when the jawbone fuses with the dental implant becoming strong enough to support a dental crown.
Does implant surgery have any risks?
All surgical procedures carry some risks, no matter how skilled and experienced the dental team is. Your dentist will explain any risks during your consultation and throughout the treatment, including any general or personal guidance to help minimise the risk of infection or complications.
Some common risks or complications that may occur during dental implant healing include
- The bone not fusing properly with the implant. This is known as dental implant failure and while rare, it can occur. Your dentist will discuss your options if this happens so you can make an informed decision about what to do next.
- Sinus perforation, particularly if you are having dental implants in the upper jaw. To avoid a dental implant perforating the sinus cavity some patients require a sinus lift prior to commencing dental implant surgery. This raises the height of the sinus chamber to accommodate the dental implant.
- Infection. This is always a risk with any procedure, and why it’s so important to follow all instructions given to you after surgery as they are there to help keep the incision site as hygienic as possible. Common infection symptoms include pain, swelling or fluid at the surgical site.
- Nerve damage. The x-rays and examinations carried out before your dental implant surgery commences will help reduce the risk of any nerve damage occurring, but complications can still arise. Your dentist will discuss these risks with you prior to commencing treatment.
Is there anything else I need to know about dental implant healing?
For the most part, all you need to do is keep your mouth clean and healthy by following your dentist’s instructions for aftercare. Your body will take care of the rest for you.
How soon can I start my dental implant journey?
It’s as simple as booking a consultation. The initial appointment will usually include a comprehensive consultation with your dentist as well as the necessary scans and examinations. You’ll have an idea of your treatment plan by the time you head home from that first visit.
Are you ready to get realistic tooth replacement with dental implant surgery?
The team at the Digital Dental Surgery Sydney and the Digital Dental Implant Institute have more than 60 years of combined experience and have helped over 4000 patients with restorative dental treatments. Get in touch for your free consultation today.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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