An important consideration when placing an implant, is timing. When should an implant be placed in the jaw bone? how soon can you get your smile back?
There are different situations, that affect the timeline for placing an implant.
An important element that is central to the implant timeline and will affect when and how implant tooth replacement can be achieved in different situations for the permanent replacement of teeth is, complete immobility of the implant components, to allow the process of fusing to bone and healing to occur. Any force that causes even minute movement of the implants in the early healing phase can ruin the integration process, resulting in implant failure.
Implant Placement Timing
- Immediate Placement
A hopeless tooth is removed and an implant placed simultaneously, in just one surgery. The difficulty here is placing an implant into a socket into which it may not fit precisely; there will likely be space around the implant that must heal and fill with new bone. The same is true of the gum tissue that must also surround and support the implant. Incomplete bony healing and gum shrinkage can result in implant exposure and gum recession. These problems can generally be addressed by grafting procedures (of both bone and gum tissue), at the time of implant placement but the surgical site will need to be carefully protected in the ensuing weeks. This application is usually predicated upon having an intact socket with no loss of tooth supporting bone.
- Early Placement With Gum Tissue Healing
This refers to a delay of approximately 4 to 8 weeks after tooth removal to allow initial gum tissue healing to close and seal the wound. An implant placed in the socket bone at this time ensures that it is protected by a gum tissue seal — the body’s natural barrier. There will also be less possibility of gum shrinkage, resulting in a better and more predictable final aesthetic result, but there are no guarantees especially if additional bone loss occurs. To mitigate this possibility, the socket may be bone grafted at the time of extraction to limit resorption.
- Placement With Partial Bone Healing
Implants are not placed in this situation until bone healing has started to fill the socket, usually in 2 to 4 months. Bone grafting of sockets is often used to minimize any changes in the bony anatomy, or even regenerate lost bone socket walls. Placing an implant later while bone is actually growing aids the process of fusion. This promotes implant stability at placement and faster healing increasing the predictability of successful integration.
- Late Placement After Complete Bony Healing
Waiting until the extraction site has fully healed or regenerated at about 4 to 6 months, provides the most stable foundation in which to place implants. It also allows for complete healing and maturation of sites following regeneration techniques to rebuild lost bone, when the socket has been compromised by disease.
When is the next stage? that is placing the teeth on the implants.
Single Tooth Replacement
If you are having a single tooth replaced with a dental implant, it is possible to attach a temporary crown to the implant, at the time it is placed. It is essential to avoid biting contact by fabricating the crown so that it does not contact the opposing tooth. This will ensure as far as possible, that the early and fragile process of fusion to bone is not disturbed. When the implant is fully integrated — generally at 2-4 months depending upon the circumstances at placement — a permanent crown can be attached to the implant that can withstand normal biting contact and force.
Replacing All Teeth In One Day
Today’s state-of-the-art implant systems enable a minimum number of implants to support a maximum number of teeth. That means as few as four to six implants can be used to support a full arch (upper or lower jaw) of fixed, non-removable temporary teeth. And this remarkable life-changing event can be accomplished in a single day, but proper planning and case studying is the most important step in the success of such procedure.
Is it worth waiting?
The main thing to keep in mind is that you want your implant tooth replacements to be successful. A few or even several months may seem like a long time to wait, but not when you consider how long your new teeth will last if things go right — and they almost always do: long-term success rates for dental implants according to many clinicians exceed 95%. If things don’t go right, however, it is always a good idea to have that discussion before treatment begins so you understand what the worse case scenario could be. Every situation is different and having a good relationship and understanding with your dental implant team is extremely important for your peace of mind.
It is possible, in the right circumstances, for temporary crowns to be attached to dental implants that have just been placed so that you can have a great-looking smile immediately after your implant surgery. However, it is also sometimes advisable to wait until the implants have fully healed before any replacement teeth are attached.
Far more important than having a temporary smile as fast as possible, is to have permanent replacement teeth that will last for the “rest of your life.” That’s what dental implants were designed to be.