How long does a dental implant take?
Sometimes a dentist can extract a tooth and replace it with a dental implant the same day, but this treatment isn’t suitable for everyone. Generally, the length of treatment time varies according to the dental implant procedure. How many implants are being placed, the location in the mouth, and whether a person needs a bone graft can all affect how long treatment takes.
So, how long does a dental implant take?
It’s a bit like asking how long a piece of string is. You see, every patient and every case is different, and ultimately, the duration of treatment will depend on a patient’s oral condition and their body’s ability to heal. Scheduling a free consultation at your local dental clinic will help you understand the procedure.
Placing a single dental implant may take half an hour, whereas it will take longer to place several implants. But overall, a patient can expect their treatment to take between 3 and 9 months, and sometimes longer.
Dental implants closely resemble natural teeth, and because they are rooted into the gums and jawbone, a patient must have a healthy mouth and jawbone for the treatment to be successful. If this isn’t the case, a patient will need to undergo preliminary treatments such as tooth extraction, a bone graft, and even a sinus lift if receiving a dental implant in the upper jaw.
Despite providing tailored treatments for implant patients, the dental implant procedure comprises certain stages:
- Initial consultation
- Implant surgery
- Recovery and healing
- Fitting of the crown
These four stages are essential to achieving your dream smile, determining how long a dental implant takes from start to finish.
Stages and timescales
Let’s look at the timeline of the various stages to help you get a clearer picture of how long it takes to get dental implants.
The consultation – Single day
The implant journey at our clinic starts with a free consultation. Patients are encouraged to discuss their oral health worries or concerns, treatment stages, and smile objectives during this appointment. Having decided an individual is a suitable candidate for dental implants, the dentist will take a CT scan to determine the jawbone’s health and determine the best type of dental implants to meet their dental needs, lifestyle, and smile goals. The 3D images also help to plan a patient’s treatment.
Dental implant surgery – Twenty minutes to a couple of hours
If you accept the customised treatment plan, the next step of the dental implant procedure will be oral surgery. Here at DDSS/DDII, we utilise the latest computerised implant dentistry to provide patients with digital implants. Similar to keyhole surgery, patients benefit from shorter chair time and faster and more accurate surgery.
The dentist makes a tiny incision into the gums to expose the jawbone. A surgical guide is then fitted over the teeth to ensure no surrounding teeth or nerves are damaged. The guide also assists the dentist to make precise incisions for implant placement.
A single straightforward dental implant can take less than 20 minutes to insert into the jaw, and because no sutures are needed, patients typically heal faster. In some cases, computer-guided implant technology enables our dentists to place dental implants into compromised jaws.
Local anaesthesia will numb a patient’s mouth to ease any discomfort during surgery, and sedation will be provided on request.
Healing and recovery time – 6-12 weeks (or longer)
Following dental implant surgery, patients face a wait of several weeks for their gums to heal and the jawbone to fuse with the dental implants in a process known as osseointegration. This natural process is a vital part of the dental implant procedure as it secures the implant firmly into the jaw, enabling it to support a dental crown.
Patients must follow the post-surgery instructions issued to them by our dental team and maintain good oral hygiene to prevent infection that could put the implant at risk of failure. It’s also critical that patients refrain from smoking tobacco products throughout the dental implant procedure. Smoking slows down the healing process and can cause an implant to fail.
Further minor surgery may be necessary to place the abutment – the component that connects the prosthetic tooth with the implant. Sometimes the abutment is placed simultaneously with the implant, shaving a couple of weeks off the time it takes to get a dental implant.
Fitting the crown – single appointment
Once osseointegration has taken place successfully, the dentist will take a digital impression of the teeth. Assisted by CAD/CAM technology, your custom crown is designed and the data sent to our on-site milling machine for fabrication.
The crown takes around 20 minutes to fabricate. Upon completion, the final stage of the dental implant procedure is to attach the crown to the implant. The dental crown is either cemented or screwed into position, and besides being a great fit, it also blends naturally into the smile since it is colour matched to the surrounding teeth.
As you can see, there is no exact answer to the question, how long does an implant take but ask anyone who has an implant, and the majority of them will say it was well worth the wait.
If you’re considering dental implants, why not schedule a FREE dental implant consultation with the experienced dentists at DDSS/DDII. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions and discuss your best options.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Comparing the quality of life of patients requesting dental implants before and after implant
What you need to know about a dental bone graft
Computerized implant-dentistry – Advances towards automation
Osseointegration and dental implants
Smoking can cause implants to fail
What is CAD/CAM dentistry?