Dental implant treatment takes place in stages and will vary from patient to patient. The total implant process can take anywhere from five months to over a year, depending on your particular requirements and the state of your oral health. Dr. John F. Rink takes a very personalized approach to dental treatment, and he can explain what your individual dental implants timeline will look like with a consultation at our Charleston, SC, office.
For the majority of patients, the benefits associated with dental implants far outweigh the time commitment.
A dental implant is a small titanium post that is surgically implanted into a patient’s jaw. After implantation, the post fuses to the existing bone tissue through a process called osseointegration. The healing period takes approximately four to six months. Once this process is complete, the post acts as an artificial tooth root to support dental crowns, dental bridges, partial dentures, and full dentures. Because they actually become a part of your body, dental implants are very stable and they can even halt the bone loss that happens when permanent teeth are missing.
At your consultation, Dr. Rink will evaluate the state of your oral health to determine if you are a candidate for dental implants. The initial requirement is having adequate bone density in the jaw to allow for osseointegration of the implant post. If you do not have sufficient bone density, you may need to undergo a bone graft to build up the jawbone. Recovery from a bone graft procedure can take six to nine months, after which time Dr. Rink will decide if placing a dental implant is feasible.
Patients who have periodontal disease should have it treated before undergoing implant surgery, as gum disease can lead to bone deterioration. For mild cases, a professional deep cleaning followed by meticulous at-home oral care may be enough. For patients with advanced gum disease, gum surgery may be required.
In order to avoid having their implant penetrate the sinus cavity, some patients require a sinus lift. During this procedure, bone is grafted above the molars on the upper jaw, right behind the cheekbones. After a recovery of six to nine months, Dr. Rink will examine the graft area to determine if an implant is possible.
During your initial implant consultation, you will undergo an examination that may include x-rays, panoramic x-rays, and 3-D imaging. Your doctor will also review your dental and medical records, as well as any medications that you are taking.
When you are ready for implant placement, your surgeon will make an incision in the gum and surgically embed the implant into the jawbone. Follow-up appointments will indicate how the implant is healing. Once Dr. Rink determines that sufficient fusion has occurred, he will schedule a second surgery to expose the implant from beneath the gums and attach an abutment. Additionally, he will place a temporary crown or other prosthetic on the abutment while the gum heals around it. In a few weeks, you will return to Dr. Rink to have your permanent restoration attached, such as an implant-supported crown, which will complete your treatment.
Dental implant treatment does require an investment in time. For the majority of patients, the benefits associated with dental implants far outweigh the time commitment.
Dr. Rink can achieve beautiful results with dental implants, and your oral health will also benefit significantly. To become more informed about your personal dental implant timeline, please contact our office today to schedule a consultation.