Patients don’t want to delay restoring a beautiful smile after tooth loss, so many are interested in the treatment timeline associated with dental implants. This will vary from patient to patient, and the timing of the treatment process is dependent on a number of factors.
In the best case scenario, the patient will consult with an oral surgeon about dental implants relatively soon after the tooth is lost or extracted. Following up quickly regarding a tooth replacement can help to minimize the bone loss that is a consequence of tooth loss. That bone loss can jeopardize the patient’s ability to get dental implants, which are dependent on having adequate jawbone material at the implant site to support the osseointegration that renders the implant a fixture in the jaw.
When some time lapses between the original tooth loss and dental implant placement, the patient may have experienced some bone loss that makes the patient an unsuitable candidate for immediate dental implant placement. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the patient will never be eligible for a dental implant, but the oral surgeon may need to perform a bone graft in order to insert supplemental bone at the implant site.
Bone grafting does extend the treatment timeline, as the patient must heal from the initial bone graft before the dental implants can be placed. However, this is a worthwhile investment of the patient’s time, as bone grafting can vastly improve the patient’s chances of long-term dental implant success when bone loss is a factor.
For patients who are candidates for immediate dental implant placement, the restoration process can still take some time. Some dental implants can be fitted with a temporary restoration on the day that they are placed, while others may need to be fully osseointegrated before they can support a crown, bridge or denture. Your surgeon can tell you what course is most appropriate in your case.
There is no one expected timeline for dental implant treatment, so you should ask your surgeon what is a reasonable estimate for your specific case. Schedule an evaluation at our oral surgery office so that you can get started down the path to a smile fully restored with dental implants as soon as possible.