You can expect to make several visits to Riverside Oral Surgery, and treatment will almost certainly take between three and six months to complete. Some more complex treatments or when additional procedures are needed could take longer. For example, bone grafting can extend the overall time required.
However, some people might be able to complete their dental implant treatment relatively quickly, such as when only a single implant is needed and where it is possible to remove a failing tooth and place an implant during a single procedure.
Below is an example of a typical timeline for dental implants:
Visit 1: Initial consultation and diagnostic tests.
Visit 2: Placing dental implants and fitting a temporary prosthesis.
Visit 3: Taking dental impressions to fabricate your permanent implant teeth.
Visit 4: Fit your new permanent teeth.
Visit 1: Initial Consultation & Diagnostic Tests
We must conduct a full dental exam before you can be considered for dental implants. We need to check your mouth for signs of oral disease as these problems must be resolved before implant treatment begins. We also assess the condition of natural teeth that might be failing and need removal.
You must bring a list of all medications to this appointment as we review your medical history thoroughly. Please ensure you let us know about any medical conditions and all medications. A complete overview is necessary to ensure implant treatment is suitable for you and is not contraindicated by any current health problems.
We assess every person on a case-by-case basis, so for example, if you have well-controlled diabetes, you will likely be suitable for implant treatment. This might not be the case if you struggle with maintaining glucose levels, as this could affect implant healing. Another example is smoking, which can significantly impact healing after implant surgery.
During this appointment, we can discuss whether additional sedation is required and which options suit you best. Every person wishing for sedation dentistry is assessed carefully beforehand. We take every precaution to ensure this treatment is as safe as possible.
Diagnostic tests are necessary to assess the quality and quantity of your jawbone. They include digital dental x-rays and, most importantly, a cone beam CT scan, providing 3-D images of your jawbone. The CT scan allows us to quantify the amount of bone available and determine if you need a bone graft.
These tests allow us to devise your custom treatment plan, and at this stage, we can discuss all possible options with you, explain what to expect, and how this will help meet your treatment goals. You will gain a clear overview and learn the predicted costs, and of course, we will allow you plenty of time to ask questions.
Visit 2: Placing Dental Implants and Fitting a Temporary Prosthesis
Once we have identified the right treatment plan, we use your cone beam CT scan to plan your implant treatment from start to completion. We identify the best location for each implant and its angulation and depth. We can also manipulate the images to design your new implant teeth, ensuring they look wonderful and function properly.
When your treatment plan is complete, a computer-generated surgical guide or stent is created for use during surgery. We also fabricate any temporary teeth required so they are ready to fit soon after surgery.
Your actual surgery will be entirely painless. We will ensure the area is completely numb, and if sedation dentistry is required, we will administer it before we begin treatment.
Any failing teeth are removed, and the surgical stent will fit over your gums, guiding our dentists so only minimal incisions are made to place each implant correctly. Once the implants are in place, they are torqued or tightened, so you might feel a slight pressure before any incisions are closed with stitches.
Because your implant surgery is thoroughly planned, the surgery should be quicker, smoother, and more comfortable. Afterward, you might feel some minor discomfort, but many people feel no discomfort, especially when only a single tooth is restored.
Fitting Your Temporary Teeth
After surgery, we can fit your temporary teeth. It is important to remember these teeth will enable you to eat, talk, and smile during healing. While we try to ensure they look and feel as good as possible, your final prosthesis will look even better.
You are now ready to leave our surgery and return home to recover and heal. We will provide comprehensive instructions on what to eat, how to keep your mouth clean, and what to expect as you heal. However, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Visit 3: Taking Dental Impressions to Fabricate Your New Teeth
On your third visit, we will check to ensure your implants are fully healed and bonded well with your jawbone. Your temporary prosthesis is removed so we can take detailed dental impressions of your mouth. You won’t need any dental anesthetic for this process as it is quick and painless. Your temporary prosthesis is replaced after the impressions are completed.
These impressions are sent to our dental laboratory with precise instructions on fabricating your new teeth. We work closely with skilled and experienced dental technicians who use only top-quality materials and up-to-date techniques that adhere to our strict quality control standards.
Visit 4: Fitting Your New Teeth
It typically takes around two weeks to make your permanent prosthesis, at which point you return to Riverside Oral Surgery for its fitting. We remove your temporary teeth and try in your new teeth, checking the fit and finish carefully and making any minor adjustments that might be required to get a precise fit. You can view your new teeth at this stage to ensure you are completely happy with their appearance.
Once you are happy, we can fit them in permanently. An implant crown or bridge is cemented or most likely screwed onto your implants. A screw-retained prosthesis is often preferable as it is easier to retrieve should we need to carry out any maintenance or clean it professionally later.
The screw hole is covered with tooth-colored composite resin, so it is invisible. If you have chosen an implant-supported denture, this is a removable device, so we will show you how to insert and remove it.
We will review your oral care routine, ensuring you know how to look after your new implant teeth at home and can easily keep them clean.
Behind-the-Scenes Treatment Planning Ensures Visits are Quicker
Your initial visit may take a little longer as we must ensure dental implants are the best option and discuss this treatment with you in depth. Your second visit to fit your dental implants will also take longer, as we must prepare you for oral surgery and fit your temporary teeth.
However, because your treatment is planned behind the scenes, this visit is still relatively quick, and it can take as little as half an hour to an hour to place a single dental implant. Taking a dental impression and fitting your new teeth is relatively quick, so these final two appointments will be considerably faster.