Dental implants are now an increasingly popular and affordable solution for patients missing teeth. They provide a long-term, stable solution that looks and feels as good as your natural teeth. As well as restoring the appearance of your smile, implants can also help to prevent and solve many other common problems associated with missing teeth, helping to prevent further problems from occurring in the future. If you’ve been considering dental implants, it is natural that you will have some questions about the treatment. In this article, we look at one of the most frequently asked questions. How long does it take to get a dental implant?
There are actually several reasons why patients may wish to consider dental implants, and these are not just cosmetic. From the point of view of your appearance, nobody enjoys having gaps in their teeth, and the impact that this can have varies from person to person. However, research indicates that people who are missing teeth often suffer from low self-esteem and a loss of confidence as a result, which may become worse over time. The effects of this range from simply avoiding posting ‘selfies’ on social media and dodging out of family photographs, to actually avoiding some kinds of social occasions altogether. Others find themselves keeping out of the spotlight at work, which can lead to missed opportunities and have a real impact on career progression.
From the dental health perspective, there are a number of additional reasons why implants are a good solution. Firstly, by replacing the missing root of your tooth with the closest possible alternative, they help to strengthen the jaw and prevent bone loss from occurring. This happens when the bone in the jaw is no longer stimulated as a result of the tooth being missing. Over time, the jaw can actually begin to recede. As well as putting other teeth at risk and displacing your bite, this can also lead to the appearance of early ageing. Not only are dental implants highly stable, they also do not compromise the integrity of other, healthy teeth in the same way that crowns and bridges may.
There are three components to a dental implant; the implant, the abutment and the crown. The implant itself is basically a replacement root for your tooth. It is made from bio-compatible titanium (the same material as replacement joints) which has the unique property of being able to fuse with your natural bone, making it an ideal choice to create a firm foundation upon which to mount your replacement tooth – the crown. The crown is especially made to match your existing teeth in colour and shape, so that it looks and feels completely natural. Connecting these two components together is the abutment. A temporary abutment is often used when patients are undergoing implant treatment to protect the new implant and help the wound to heal correctly.
Whilst it is a very simple and painless treatment, it is important to remember that it is still a minor surgical procedure, meaning that the treatment may vary from patient to patient. However, as a guideline the entire process from fitting to fully healing typically takes between 3-6 months. To help understand the process better, let’s take a closer look at the different stages:
Stage 1 – Initial Consultation
If you are interested in having dental implants but would like to find out a little bit more about the process, an initial appointment with our treatment coordinator Sarah is recommended. She will be able to give you all the information and advice you need to be sure that you wish to go ahead with the treatment and will be more than happy to answer any general questions you have.
Stage 2 – Comprehensive Dental Examination
If you are happy that dental implants are the right choice for you, you will then need to book a dental examination with our principal dentist, Dr. Hani Namih, who will carry out a full and comprehensive dental examination. Costing just £98.00*, this also includes all investigations, x-rays and study models as required. In some cases, it may be necessary to arrange an additional CT scan, the cost of which is not included.
In some cases, problems such as gum disease may be identified. These will need to be treated separately prior to your implant treatment beginning, as they could pose a threat to the success of your implants. Some patients may also need a bone graft to ensure that the implant location is strong enough to support the implant.
Stage 3 – Placing the Implant
Once any preliminary treatment that may be required has been completed, you are ready to have your implant(s) placed. This usually involves an appointment lasting between 1-2 hours, when your implantologist will fit your replacement root (the ‘implant’) into your jaw. The process is usually completely painless, although some discomfort may be felt during healing. In order for the jaw to fully bond with the titanium root and for the gum to heal, it usually takes 3-6 months. Although this may seem like a long time, remember that for most patients the final replacement teeth will last a lifetime! It is also important to remember that allowing sufficient time at this stage will help to ensure that your implants are successful.
Stage 4 – Placing the Crown
This stage usually requires two visits. In the first appointment, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and arrange for your new crowns to be prepared, which will be a perfect match in terms of size, shape and colour. In the subsequent visit, your crown(s) will be fitted to your new roots. These two appointments typically take place around two weeks apart.
Patients should be aware that how long their implants lasts ultimately depends on how well they are looked after. For this reason, your dentist will recommend how often you should attend a dental checkup to see how your implants are doing. It is very important that you attend these appointments, and follow the advice of your dentist in between.
To enquire now about dental implant treatment at Stella Maris Dental in West Bromwich, call today on 0121 588 4541. Don’t forget to ask about our interest free finance options so you can smile today and pay later.
*Prices correct at time of publication. Please ask at the time of booking to confirm the current price.