People often wonder what the timeline looks like for the dental implant procedure. There are many variables since this is a custom procedure and the state and shape of your mouth is unique. The following is a general overview of what a dental implant timeline looks like. For more information beyond what is presented here, we recommend that you call us or schedule a free consultation.
1. What should I expect from a dental implant consultation?
A consultation with a doctor and treatment coordinator is designed to explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you may have. A treatment coordinator is there to provide guidance and support in making your decision. He or she will ask about what you hope to gain from the procedure and review financing options.
A CT scan, which EON Clinics offers at no cost to you, will be conducted, and the doctor will review the results. From there, the doctor will propose to you a treatment or possibly two options depending on the state of your mouth and financial situation.
2. What should I expect from a prosthodontic exam?
The next step after a consultation is the prosthodontic exam. At this appointment, the prosthodontist takes impressions of your teeth and jaw. In this exam, the prosthodontist is doing a more thorough analysis of your mouth and dental condition. She or he will also begin to plan the crowns, bridge, or arch that will be placed on your implants once they heal. At this appointment, you will have another chance to address any concerns and discuss what to expect during and after surgery.
3. How long after an extraction can I get an implant?
One of the first variables in the dental implant procedure is whether or not you will need extractions. Obviously, unhealthy teeth will need to come out. In certain cases removing a few healthy teeth can make the procedure significantly more affordable. If this is done, it is handled on a case-by-case basis and discussed with you prior.
If your jaw bone is healthy you may be able to receive your implant on the same day your natural tooth is removed. However, if you suffer bone loss or infection, this may not be possible. In these instances, bone grafting may be required.
4. Will I need to have a bone graft prior to the procedure?
When teeth have been missing for some time or in the case of severe infection, your jawbone can sometimes begin to erode. This process is called bone resorption. The CT scan at your consultation will help the doctor determine if bone grafting will be needed before you receive implants.
Bone grafting is a procedure that restores your jaw and creates a good foundation of bone to support your implant. For those that require jaw restoration, four months of healing time between bone grafting and the implant procedure is common.
5. What should I know about the procedure and recovery process?
When you schedule your procedure, a surgical liaison will be in touch with you, and will answer any and all questions. It’s quite normal for a patient to be put under twilight anesthesia during the procedure. Medication will be prescribed to help you manage any pain you may experience. However, many patients find that the pain is significantly less than what they anticipated.
It is in this stage that you will receive a temporary prosthesis (bridge or crowns). At practices such EON Clinics, this happens on the same day as the procedure, so you will leave with a beautiful, natural smile. Be aware, there are a few limitations with this prosthesis until you get your permanent prosthesis (also known as a definitive).
Dental Implant Recovery Guidelines
The following is a list of requirements to help ensure a healthy recovery. Keep in mind, this is not exhaustive. Your surgical team may make other recommendations beyond what’s listed here:
- DO NOT blow your nose. If you have to sneeze, please do so with your mouth open to avoid any pressure in the sinus area.
- DO NOT smoke. This applies to tobacco, cannabis, or smokeless nicotine products. In addition to normal adverse health effects of these products, they can negatively impact your recovery. Smoking or chewing tobacco products, especially in the first week after surgery, can have a hugely negative impact on healing and increase the failure rate for dental implants.
- DO NOT lift or pull up on your lips to look at your stitches. Doing this may cause some tearing or may irritate the gums.
- DO NOT drink liquids through a straw. This creates a vacuum in your mouth that can be harmful to tissue impacted by the procedure.
- Initially, you will be put on a diet of pureed or finely chopped foods. This will last up to two weeks. After that, DO NOT eat any foods that you can’t cut with the side of a fork. Due to the sensitivity of your gums, eating anything too hard can cause pain and/or complications from chewing.
- Avoid very hot foods.
- Apply a cold compress to the sides of the face to help relieve pressure.
- Use a mouth rinse of half a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of baking soda, and eight ounces of water held in your mouth for two to three minutes every hour to help your mouth feel more comfortable.
It is imperative you take any antibiotics prescribed to you and follow guidelines for pain medication. If you feel the dosage of the pain medication is too strong, or the medication is not needed at all, please get in touch with your prosthodontist before making ANY changes.
Please be warned you may experience some bleeding from the nose. This is not uncommon and should pass quickly. You may also be instructed to use an antimicrobial mouth rinse. Please use the mouth rinse as instructed.
Please make sure to get in contact with your prosthodontist if you experience any of the following:
- Uncontrollable pain
- Excessive or severe bleeding
- Excessive swelling occurring a few days after your procedure
- Any allergic reactions to the medicine
6. How Long Will the Recovery Process Take?
Again because this is a custom procedure and everyone’s mouth is different, the recovery process will vary patient to patient. The recovery process takes about 4 weeks. During this time, you will be on a fork-tender, graduated diet. After 6 months, you will receive your definitive, or final prosthesis. At this point, you will be able to eat all the foods you enjoy!
Recovery time can be affected by the following:
- How many implants you receive—just a single dental implant, multiple implants, or implants for a full jaw or an entire mouth?
- Whether you have healthy bone for your implants to bond to or you require bone grafting.
- Any factors unique to your mouth and body and their ability to heal.
- Whether you follow all the instructions in your treatment plan.
7. What is the final step of the dental implant recovery process?
When your jaw has fully healed, you will receive your definitive prosthesis. This is attached to your implants via abutments. At this point you will be able to eat any foods you like. To insure the long term success of your implants, you MUST hold to a routine of caring for dental implants as you would real teeth.
Brush them twice daily. Floss around a single implant as you would a real tooth. If you have a bridge or an arch, you will need to clean under them using a water flosser. While implants are not vulnerable to cavities, the gum around them is still vulnerable to infections as with real teeth. A buildup of plaque around the base of the implant can negatively impact how long it will last you.
Coming into the clinic for cleanings twice a year is also necessary for long term dental implant success. The cleanings will remove plaque and buildup, and, if any issues are identified, they can often be addressed preemptively.
Have more questions? Give us a call at 844-365-7645 or schedule a free consultation to learn more.