Dental implant treatment occurs in several stages. Some of the stages are optional, depending on your specific circumstances. For most stages, the dentist must wait for you to heal before proceeding to the next stage. Below is an overview of some of the healing stages, depending on your oral health.
A dental implant treatment gives you an artificial tooth that looks and functions like its natural counterpart. You can replace a missing tooth or extract a damaged one and replace it. In the latter case, the dentist will extract your tooth and allow some healing time before the implant process properly begins.
Extraction healing duration depends on your overall health, any medications you are taking, and the type of extraction. For example, uncontrolled diabetes might prolong your healing time. Adhere to your dentist's instructions for accelerated recovery.
A dental implant requires adequate bone density and thickness. You can get a bone graft to build up your jawbone before getting the implant if you don't have adequate bone. For the graft, your dentist will use artificial material, your bone tissues, or an animal's bone tissues to strengthen your jawbone.
In such a case, you might have to wait until you heal from the graft surgery to continue with the implant treatment. The bone graft type, overall health, and tobacco use determine the graft recovery time. For example, smokers are more likely to experience extended recovery times than nonsmokers.
Implant Insertion Surgery and Osseointegration
Dental implant surgery is the first treatment stage for those who don't need a tooth extraction or bone grafting. For this stage, the dentist cuts through your gum tissues, drills into the jawbone, and inserts the implant.
This stage of the treatment involves two healing phases. First, the soft tissues the dentist cut must heal. Secondly, the bone damage must heal and allow for the fusion between the jawbone and the implant—dentists call this osseointegration. In this stage, the healing duration depends on your bone quantity and quality, your overall health, the type of implant material, and whether or not you smoke. The dentist will wait for osseointegration, however long it seems to take. Rushing the process increases implant failure risk.
Abutment Placement Surgery
The abutment connects the restoration (dental crown) to the implant root. The dentist must cut your gum tissues to place the abutment since the implant is in the jawbone. Typically, you wait for the soft tissue to heal before you get the final restoration.
The abutment and restoration placement sometimes occur simultaneously, but both involve soft tissue wounds. Fortunately, soft tissues usually heal relatively fast compared to bone tissues.
Contact a local dentist to learn more about dental implants.