If you’re reading this, you probably already know what a dental implant is.
So, let’s cut to the chase:
How long does a dental implant take?
Getting a dental implant – placing the post, healing, and getting a crown – takes three to six months… This text opens a new tab to the Healthline website….
If you need an extraction or bone graft beforehand or experience complications, that’ll add more time.
Want the full answer?
Keep reading to learn about each step in the dental implant process in more detail.
What to expect when getting a dental implant
Here’s a preview of each phase:
- Dental implant consultation
- Tooth extraction
- Bone graft
- Dental implant placement
- Osseointegration (healing)
- Dental crown placement
Watch this short video to preview what happens during the first part of getting an implant.
Dental implant consultation
Estimated time: One hour.
First, you need to meet with a restorative dentist to determine if you’re a candidate for dental implants.
You’re most likely a candidate if you have one or more missing teeth.
- Age: If your body is still developing, you’ll likely need to wait until you’ve reached skeletal maturity (when your jawbone is fully grown). For women, this may be around age 18, and for men, around age 20.
- Health: If your oral health is impaired, that’ll likely need to be treated first. If you have medical issues that may cause surgery or healing complications, that’ll also be taken into consideration.
- Smoking: This habit may cause complications for healing and will be discussed if it’s relevant to your case.
If it’s determined you’re a candidate for dental implants, the next step is imaging and impressions.
This step allows your dentist to map out a custom treatment plan.
Some dentists use traditional x-rays and liquid impressions. While others, like ours, use a Cone Beam CT scanner for 3D imaging and impressions, which offers:
- More comfort
- Better precision
- Less radiation
Our implant dentist, Dr. Bradley Rule, believes computer-guided implant dentistry is the best method and even said,
“I would never do a dental implant without taking a Cone Beam CT scan.”
Computer-guided treatment planning will answer all these questions:
- Is a tooth extraction needed? If so, will it need time to heal before getting an implant?
- Is there enough bone structure to support an implant? Or is a bone graft needed?
- If a bone graft is needed, how much is needed? And how long do we estimate that it takes to heal?
- Are there nerves, sinuses, or blood vessels in the way of placing the implant?
- What dental implant post size will work the best?
- How long do we estimate the implant takes to heal?
Estimated time: It depends.
Often, tooth extraction and implant placement happen at the same appointment.
But if your tooth is removed due to severe decay or an infection in the root or gum, then your dentist may wait for the infection to clear before placing the implant.
Estimated time: Three to four months.
A bone graft is likely needed if you’ve been missing a tooth for a while.
What is a dental bone graft?
A bone graft is a procedure in which your dentist transplants bone to repair and regrow deteriorating bone structure.
Why do you need a dental bone graft?
When a tooth is missing, the surrounding bone structure begins to deteriorate. And to get an implant, you need ample jawbone structure to secure it in place.
A bone graft procedure helps regrow bone structure, so you become an implant candidate.
Tip: Avoid a bone graft and save money by replacing your missing tooth with a dental implant ASAP.
Dental implant placement
Estimated time: One to two hours.
If your dentist isn’t trained to perform the implant placement, you may be referred to an oral surgeon for this step.
Here’s a preview of how Dr. Rule places dental implants at his Gurnee dental office:
- The area surrounding your surgical site is completely numbed.
- A small incision is made in your gums.
- The titanium post is placed within your jawbone.
- An x-ray is taken to ensure a successful placement.
- A healing cap covers your implant.
Now, if you’re wondering:
“Do dental implants hurt?”
You’ll be surprised to hear most patients claim getting a dental implant hurts less than a tooth extraction.
Estimated time: Three to six months.
Waiting for your implant to heal is the longest part of the dental implant process.
Why does the dental implant process take so long?
Over the next few months, your implant post and surrounding bone will heal and fuse together.
You’ll likely be instructed to stick to a soft food diet for the first few weeks and take precautions when brushing.
You’ll check in with your dentist during this time to check progress and determine when it’s healed.
In the end, your post will serve as an artificial tooth root and create a stable foundation for your crown.
If you’d like to have a temporary tooth while waiting for the implant to heal, ask your dentist about your options. They may recommend a dental flipper (similar to a denture) or retainer with a tooth.
Finally: Dental crown placement
Estimated time: One hour.
Watch this video to see the last step in action.
How is a crown attached to a dental implant?
Here’s an overview:
- The healing cap is removed from the implant.
- An abutment is connected to the implant (if applicable – Dr. Rule uses custom abutments connected to the crown for a more natural look at the gum line).
- The crown is permanently secured to the abutment or implant.
- An x-ray is taken to ensure a precise fit.
- The crown is polished to blend in.
Dental crowns are custom-made to fit your exact missing tooth space, resemble the tooth missing, and look and feel like the surrounding teeth, so no one will notice you have a dental implant.
Dental implants can also be attached to bridges and dentures.
Once your crown or restoration is permanently secured, you’ll have full use of your tooth again!
Are dental implants worth it?
Dental implants are not a “quick” fix. But if you ask any dentist or previous implant patient, they’ll likely say dental implants are worth it!
See for yourself:
Let’s compare the pros vs. cons of dental implants.
Pros of dental implants
- 98% success rate… This text opens a new tab to the WebMD website…
- Implant post lasts a lifetime with proper care
- Permanently in place – no need to worry about adhesives or it moving
- Very durable
- Stops further bone loss
- Prevents the “sunk-in” denture look
- Helps you look younger
- No one will notice it
- Custom made to blend in
- Resistant to decay
- Eat comfortably
- Clean it the same as natural teeth
- Typically covered by dental insurance
Cons of dental implants
- Cost of the implant and if you need additional treatments like bone graft
- Takes three to six months on average
- Small risk of complications and failure
The advantages of dental implants outweigh the disadvantages!
Dental implants will completely change your life.
Your next step: Book a consultation
Congratulations, you made it this far!
Now it’s time to start YOUR dental implants journey by scheduling a consultation.
Are you located near Gurnee, IL?
We’re currently offering FREE dental implant consultations!
This offer includes a CBCT scan and one-on-one time with Dr. Rule. But hurry, this offer expires soon.
Book yours today:
Our office is conveniently located in Gurnee, IL… opens in a new window to Google Maps…, and proudly serves surrounding communities, including Grayslake, Lindenhurst, Wadsworth, Libertyville, Lake Villa, Waukegan, Antioch, Vernon Hills, Winthrop Harbor, and Mundelein.
This post was originally published in December 2020 and has been completely revamped for comprehensiveness and timeliness.