The standard process involves a multi-step procedure and requires one to three stages to completely heal. The length of time to heal may also vary depending on the number of teeth that have to be replaced and the patient’s overall health. Find out more about getting dental implants.
To give you a good overview of how they are placed, take a look at the steps that occur from the start of the procedure until recovery.
If bone grafting is needed, the healing process could take a longer time. It would usually go from four to six months before the patient can proceed to the next step. Bone grafting is done to build enough bone for patients who do not have enough bone mass to support them.
A patient may also need an ample amount of time to heal if tooth extractions are made. It would take a few weeks for the gum to completely recover before the dentist would proceed and place the dental implants. With recent advances in technologies however, dentists can now place the implants at the same time the tooth is extracted. With this, a patient will only go through the healing process once. This process involves placing a healing cap onto the implant before the gum tissue is stitched. It could take about a week to heal, which may vary depending on the health of the patient.
After four to six months, a second surgery will be performed. By then, the bone will already be fused with the metal implant. Then, the healing cap will be left exposed, and the gum around it sutured. This will help the gum heal around the cap and adapt to its shape.
The dentist will remove the healing cap and attach an abutment once the gum has completely healed and the osseointegration process is completed. Then, your dentist can remove the healing cap and attach an abutment where the artificial tooth will be placed.
Osseo-integration is a process where the bone cells grow into the surface of the implant once they have been inserted into the bone. This process gives the implant their strength and support. It is a natural process to create a strong bond and let the implant become a part of the bone. The whole process could take between two to six months before the bone completely bonds with the implant.
How to care for them after surgery
The discomfort caused by the process will usually go away within the first 24 to 48 hours. Pain medication and moist heat may be used to lessen the discomfort and for faster healing. Within the first few days after the surgery, patients are advised to eat soft foods and are asked to avoid strenuous physical activity. To prevent damaging the surface, a soft-bristled toothbrush should also be used. The following measures are also advised for after surgery:
- Use special mouthwash like Peridex (Chlorhexidine Gluconate 0.12% Oral Rinse to help kill oral bacteria.
- Rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times daily.
- Brush your teeth at least two times a day and floss at least once.
- Special brushes and floss can help you clean the hard-to-reach parts of your dental implants.
- Be sure to schedule routine exams and cleanings.
After the gums have completely healed, patients can take care of them with the same process as taking care of natural teeth. With proper care and good hygiene, your teeth implants can last the rest of your life.