If you are considering undergoing a dental implant procedure then you may have heard conflicting information when asking the question “how long does a dental implant take?” The reason for the confusion is simple…there isn’t a straight forward, one-size-fits-all, answer.
There are in reality, a wide number of factors that can and do dictate how long a dental implant procedure can take. These include…
- The type of implant surgery required
- The number of dental implants placed
- The location of the implant site/sites
- The individual’s ability to heal
- Lifestyle choices like smoking
- Whether a patient requires pre-treatments
… all of which have a bearing on the length of time it takes from undergoing the initial consultation through to receiving your dental implant restorations. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of these factors in detail…
Firstly, the type of dental implant surgery.
Most information you find when you Google ‘how long does a dental implant take?’ Will typically refer to conventional implant methods. This is where an implant is inserted into the missing tooth socket via an incision in the gums and allowed to heal before an abutment and crown are added.
However, there are also other methods of placing dental implants. These include a flapless keyhole surgery technique, an ‘All-on-4’ technique where an entire arch of teeth are replaced and immediate loading where the abutment and crown are fitted at the same time as your dental implants. These varying methods can alter the length of time spent chairside.
As a general rule of thumb, dental implants surgery using conventional methods or immediate loading techniques will typically take around 1-2 hours to complete, although this may vary depending on the complexity of an individual’s case.
Those requiring All-On-4 treatment can expect to be in surgery around 2.5 hours per arch of teeth, while patients receiving flapless implant surgery can expect to spend considerably less time chairside with processes taking around 20 minutes per tooth.
As you can see, that’s a pretty big variation in time when simply talking about dental implant surgery but there are also a multitude of other factors that dictate how long dental implants take.
Sometimes treatments are needed before the placement of dental implants to ensure the best chance of success. These treatments may include…
- Bone grafting
- Sinus lifting and
- Gum disease treatment
…all of which can add on considerable time to the dental implant procedure. So how much time?
If, for example, a patient needs a bone graft or sinus lift, the site will need to heal before any dental implants are placed. This can take 2-3 months depending upon the healing abilities of the individual. Similarly, if a patient has advanced periodontal disease, they may also need surgery to restore shrunken gums or to remove or reduce any gum pockets where bacteria can hide. Again, a patient may have to wait several months until the site is fully healed before any dental implants can be placed.
As you can already see, the journey from initially choosing dental implants to getting your permanent restoration can be a lengthy one. But what about the healing abilities of a patient? How can that affect the dental implants process?
The importance of bone growth
Dental implant success relies heavily on a natural process known as osseointegration. This is where bone tissue in and around the surgical site fuses with the titanium implant to create a super-strong platform. If bone fusion doesn’t occur, the implant simply won’t be able to function as a replacement tooth.
Similarly, if an implant doesn’t have sufficient bone depth to anchor into, it can also be rendered useless. Therefore the importance of bone growth, either through osseointegration or indeed after bone grafting, is vital for long-term success.
How long this process takes is all down to the make-up of the individual. While some patients are fast healers and can generate sufficient bone growth in record time, others can take 3-5 months to heal.
But that’s not all…
Lifestyle choices can also play their part in determining how long dental implants take…
Take smoking for instance. Studies have shown that chemicals found in tobacco smoke can impinge on the natural bone-building process meaning that smokers will typically take longer to grow bone than non-smokers.
Naturally, this affect the entire dental implants process. For this reason, any smoker who is considering dental implants will be asked to quit for at least the duration of the treatment.
So where does all this leave us when asking the question how long does a dental implant take?
Here’s a summary…
- Dental implant surgery can take anywhere between 20 minutes to several hours or more depending upon the method and number of placements needed.
- The healing process typically takes anywhere between 2-5 months and involves essential bone fusion necessary for dental implant success, plus bone grafting, sinus lifting – or in the case of advanced periodontal disease – gum surgery if required. All of these processes may take longer through the lifestyle choices that we make.
- Finally, extra time may also be needed to fit the connecting abutment plus the permanent crown to the titanium implant which again can add on several weeks or more to the overall timescale.
The result is a process that can take anywhere between 4-9 months from the initial consultation right through to receiving your permanent restorations.
If you have any questions about dental implants or are strongly considering a dental implant procedure as a permanent way to replace missing teeth, then come and talk to Dr Jack Yang and his team at Infinity Dental Care.
Highly experienced in a variety of dental implant methods including All-on-4, traditional, and the very latest flapless implant surgery, Dr Yang uses cutting-edge technology and techniques to ensure outstanding and long-lasting results with predictable and reliable outcomes.
Don’t suffer from missing teeth, call Infinity Dental care today at (02) 9159 6237 for a consultation to see just how we can help.