No one likes going to the dentist even if it’s just for a single quick visit. So, the very notion of having to go multiple times over the span of a few months to work a single tooth that won’t be entirely functional in the meantime is understandably frustrating for a lot of people.

Yet, dental implants are a highly recommended treatment for missing or damaged teeth. So, let’s take a look at how long does it take to get dental implants exactly, why, how much they cost, and more.

What Exactly Are Dental Implants and How Long Does It Take to Get Dental Implants?

The quick answer for how long does it take to get dental implants is 3 to 15 months. This is neither particularly conclusive, however, nor very clear. So, to give you a bit more detail, let’s first take a look at how exactly the whole dental implant procedure works and what it involves.

1. The first step of getting a dental implant – be it for a single tooth or several – is to go to an initial consultation with your dentist

The purpose of this exam is so that the dentist has a chance to look at your overall oral health, at the state of your gums at and around the implant site, inspect the nearby healthy teeth, and more. If need be, most dentists will also order X-rays to make sure they have all the information they need.

During this initial consultation, you can also discuss everything around the procedure that worries you, ask questions regarding the anesthesia, time, cost, recovery times, other adjacent factors, and more.

Once the results of the X-ray are done, and probably still during this initial consultation or on a secondary visit, the dentist will start making a mold of your teeth near the space of the missing teeth. This is done to make sure that the dental crown that’d be made matches your teeth perfectly. All this should take about 1-2 hours.

2. After that initial consultation is done, the next step is the surgery itself

Depending on the exact nature of the problem, the dental surgery may or may not include some extra steps.

For example, if the original damaged tooth or its roots are still in your mouth, they will need to be extracted first before any part of a replacement tooth can be placed in. Even just this seemingly simple tooth extraction in and of itself can prolong the whole process by a few days as you’d likely need to wait after the extraction for the area to heal.

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Bone grafting may also be necessary in some cases if the jaw bone itself needs some treatment due to bone loss. The jawbone has to be strong enough for the titanium implant to be surgically inserted into it, after all, and the healing time after the bone graft can also prolong the overall process.

Other similar issues can be the presence of gum disease or another infection that needs to be treated, smaller and faster-to-treat problems with other teeth and parts of the jaw, and so on.

Once all of those are dealt with, however, the dental implant surgery itself will commence. The process sounds daunting but it is quite tolerable nowadays. First, the dentist will administer the appropriate for you local anesthetic with a syringe. Then, once the anesthetic has kicked in, they will make a small incision into your gum to expose the jab bone right underneath it.

Next, the dentist will drill a small hole into the bone which is where the titanium root will be inserted inside the whole. The depth of that titanium root will be more or less the same as that of the roots of a natural tooth.

With the titanium root in, the next step is for the abutment – a small screw on which the crown of the tooth is going to be attached – to get placed into the titanium root.

Once the screw is in and the dentist is happy with its and the root’s placement – but before the crown is attached to the abutment – they will stitch your gum. This is important as the gum needs to be closed and the healing process needs to start before any further work can be done.

This more or less concludes the surgical part of the process. The whole thing should take just about 1 or 2 hours unless other things such as extractions and bone grafts have had to be done too. Naturally, if you need to have multiple titanium root implants inserted at the same time, the surgery will take approximately 1-2 hours per implant.

3. Healing is the third, most time-consuming, and incredibly important part of the process that should not be rushed

Dental Implants

This doesn’t refer to the healing of the gum that’s just been slightly cut, however – that heals quickly.

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Instead, we’re talking about the process called Osseointegration – the process of the jaw bone itself fusing with the titanium implant that’s been jammed into it. It’s this healing process that needs to be fully completed before a permanent crown can be placed on top of the abutment.

This process of osseointegration or of the fusion of bone and metal over time was first discovered in the 1950s when an orthopedic surgeon discovered that they couldn’t remove a titanium cylinder from the femur bone of a rabbit once some time had passed.

Even to this day, however, the exact time frame for osseointegration isn’t known with that much precision. That’s because every patient is different and some people’s bones heal faster than others. So, this process can take anywhere between 6 and 12 weeks, depending on the person.

This can be frustrating because, during this process of healing, your unfinished implant won’t be usable, at least not properly, and it will require an extra deal of cleaning and protection. This is what turns a lot of people off this procedure – the notion that they won’t be able to chew properly and have a gap in their jawline for so long.

Yet, if you wait it out, the crown will be fitted on top of a healthily healed implant and you’ll be set for decades.

4. Fitting the crown is the final fourth step of this whole process.

The crown gets fitted onto the abutment which effectively functions as a shock absorber between the crown and the titanium rod that’s fused in the bone.

The dentist is going to have prepared the crown based on the mold they made of your teeth during your initial visit so it should be a perfect fit. That said, they’ll still ask you if it feels all right, if it’s even with the other teeth, if it interferes with your bite at all, and so on. If you feel that anything’s out of place at this moment, you should say so and not ignore it so that the dentist can make the necessary last-minute adjustments.

So, how long does the dental implant process take after all and why?

Often as long as 15 weeks but sometimes even longer – up to 15 months in some cases. This is due to the variety of other factors that can complicate and prolong the process such as the need for extra restoration time, the need for teeth extractions, extra scans, bone grafts, the risk of infections and swelling, and even mixes in the dentist’s schedule – all this can interfere with the treatment plan and prolong the whole thing.

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So, when planning to get dental implants, it’s important to be aware that the whole thing will take at least several months at a minimum – almost never less than 3.

How Much Total Does it Cost to Get Dental Implants?

Depending on where you live and which dentist you go to, a dental implant can cost somewhere between $1,500 and $2,000. Do keep in mind that this is just the price of the implant – all procedures before and after it as well as the necessary medications have their own price tags and the whole thing often piles up to several thousand dollars.

So, especially if you’re looking at a number of implants from your oral surgeon, you should be ready for a rather hefty price tag.

In Conclusion – Are Dental Implants Worth It?

The whole process of dental implant placement is frustrating – there’s a lot of waiting, months of living on soft foods and remembering to do the proper care for your abutment and natural teeth alike, and so on. Once everything is done, however, you’re looking at a lifetime of stability, a gorgeous smile, and great oral health

sss stability, natural teeth, dental implant placement, lifetime, soft foods, proper care. So, by most metrics, dental implant surgery is definitely worth it.

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