Tooth loss is one of the most devastating oral health problems. If even a single tooth goes missing, the health, beauty, and function of the smile can be compromised. While there are several restorative dentistry treatments that can rebuild the smile after tooth loss, none are as strong or durable as dental implants.
Dental implants fuse with the jawbone and act as artificial tooth roots, which provide a secure foundation for a full range of dental restorations. Dental implant placement requires multiple stages of treatment that span over several months.
Here, experienced implant dentist Bruno Lemay discusses the typical dental implant treatment timeline for patients at our Palm Desert, CA dental practice.
The first stage of dental implant treatment is the placement of the implants themselves. Anesthetics and sedation can be used to ensure that the patient remains completely comfortable throughout the procedure.
Dental implants are small titanium screws that are placed during an oral surgery procedure. Small incisions will be made in the gum line at the treatment site. The dental implants will be placed below the gum line so that they sit in the jaw, where a tooth’s natural roots would be.
Once the implants are in place, the incisions will be closed and the healing process will begin.
Healing and Osseointegration
After dental implants are placed, we will wait until the patient has completely healed before proceeding to the next stage of treatment.
During the first several days of dental implant recovery, the jaw and mouth may be sore, but any discomfort should be easily managed with over-the-counter pain medication.
Patients should follow a liquid or soft foods diet until discomfort has subsided.
Sutures should dissolve or be removed within 14 days, and patients can resume all usual oral functions.
Although the patient should feel back to normal within one to two weeks, we will wait three to six months before moving on with abutment placement. This is because we need to ensure that the dental implants have fused with the jawbone.
This process, which is known as osseointegration, is key to the ultimate success of dental implant treatment. Once this fusion has occurred, the dental implants will be ready to support dental restorations and provide stimulation to the tissues within the jaw.
After healing is complete, patients will return for their second implant procedure, which involves the placement of abutments. Abutments are small metal posts that connect to the dental implants.
We will open the gum line above the implants so that the abutments can be placed. Once abutments are in position, we will again wait for healing to be complete before proceeding to the next stage of treatment.
It should take between two and four weeks for the gums to heal and the abutments to be secure.
Placement of Dental Restorations
The final stage of dental implant treatment is the placement of dental restorations. Dental implants can support a full range of dental restorations, including dental crowns, a dental bridge, or dentures. The chosen restoration will depend on each patient’s unique needs.
During this procedure, dental restorations are attached to the abutment. With the support of the dental implants, these restorations will function just like the natural teeth, allowing patients to enjoy a strong and attractive smile.
If you have experienced tooth loss and would like to learn more about the dental implant treatment timeline, contact us at your earliest convenience. Call (760) 324-4450 to discuss your treatment options with Dr. Bruno Lemay.