Dental Implants: A Treatment Timeline

When you’re looking for a tooth replacement that restores both the look and function of your natural teeth, there’s really only one choice: dental implants. A dental implant consists of a titanium “root” that your dentist inserts through your gum and down into your jawbone. The false root acts just like a real one by conveying healthy stress and pressure to your bone when you chew and by holding the natural-looking false crown in place.

Because dental implants require surgery and bone fusing, though, you usually can’t get them on the same day you decide that you want them. Here our expert dentists at Dental Center of Tysons Corner in McLean, Virginia, break down the normal dental-implant timeline for you, so that you can plan your new smile for the new year. The timeline differs depending on whether you need to replace missing bone in your jawbone or not: 

1.

Day one:

The first step to restoring your smile with dental implants is a consultation with either Dr. Maqsood Chaudhry or Dr. H.R. Makarita at Dental Center of Tysons Corner. They examine and conduct 3D scans of your teeth, gums, and dental bone to be sure that they’re free of infections and other problems that could compromise the success of your implants. 

If you’ve already lost dental bone, they may recommend a bone grafting procedure before you’re ready for implants. After your first consultation, they use the information they gathered to create a computerized pre-surgical analysis to plan bone-grafting (if necessary) and to pinpoint the precise location of where they’ll insert the implants. You’ll also book your next appointment, either for bone grafting or implant surgery.

2A. 

Day two — bone grafting (if necessary):

When you lose a tooth and don’t replace it right away, you also lose jaw bone. Your bones need to be stimulated by pressure that occurs when you chew in order to create healthy new bone cells. If you’re missing a tooth, the bone underneath the tooth doesn’t get stressed, so it stops producing new bone.

Your Tysons Corner dentist may take a bone graft from another area of your body, or repair the lost or soft bone in your jaw with synthetic bone. If your dentist replaces just a small amount of bone, you may be able to get implant surgery on the same day. If your dentist creates a large bone graft, you need to wait for up to five months until the graft has completely fused with and strengthened your jaw.

2B. 

Day two— implant surgery with or without minimal bone graft

Month 3-5 — implant surgery after significant bone-graft  

Your dentist first removes any remnants of the teeth that are being replaced. After the extraction, or if you don’t need extraction, he cuts your gums and then drills straight into bone.

He places the implant, which looks like a titanium screw, and then covers it with another metal piece called the abutment cap. The implant rests below your gum line, but the abutment cap is visible. 

Once all of the implants are in place, your dentist makes impressions of your gums, implants and abutments, and surrounding teeth. He sends the impressions to a lab, which creates your custom-designed implants. In the meantime, he fits a temporary crown to each abutment cap to keep your gums safe, restore your smile, and allow you to chew normally during the healing phase.

3.

Months 4-6 or 7-11— final crown placement 

If you had a bone graft, you’re now about 7-11 months into the implant process. If you didn’t have a bone graft, you’re in months four through six. Now that your jawbone has fused to your implants, your dentist places your permanent crown, makes sure it fits, and then uses a temporary cement to hold it in place.

Smile! Your teeth are now restored.

4. 

Two weeks later — follow-up appointment 

About two weeks after you receive your final crowns, Dr. Chaudhry or Dr. Makarita checks your implants and crowns to be sure they’re comfortable and makes any necessary adjustments. He then cements the crowns into place permanently.

5.

Later to never  

Your dental implants can last a lifetime with proper care. You treat them just like real teeth: Brush twice a day, floss daily, and visit Dental Center of Tysons Corner at least every six months for a comprehensive exam, professional cleaning, and an implant check-up.

To jump into your dental implant timeline and start on your brand new smile, contact the friendly Dental Center of Tysons Corner team by phone or online form today. 

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