When it comes to a smile restoration, it is normal to want the process to be completed as quickly as possible. However, quality and longevity are far more important than speed. For this reason, the tooth implant process is not one that can be completed overnight. There are a series of phases that must be completed over the course of time to achieve a long-lasting smile restoration.
Extraction and Evaluation
Implants are a common option for people with tooth loss, but the process can also be used for people with significant tooth damage. For those in the latter group, the beginning of the implant process generally begins with an extraction. If there are no extractions or after the site has healed, the next phase is the evaluation.
This phase is the time when the dentist assesses the condition of your gums to ensure there is adequate structure left to support the implant. If there is, you can move forward to the next phase. If not, a bone graft must be applied to the area. Only after the graft has properly taken effect can a person move forward with the process.
Implant Installation and Fusing
Technically, the implant installation and fusing phases are separate. However, they often go hand-in-hand, as the fusing process begins immediately after the implant installation phase. As you might imagine, during the implant installation phase, the implant is inserted into the jawbone. The implant will serve as the anchor that keeps the newly installed tooth in place.
Once inserted, there is a fusing process that must be completed. During this time, the implant fuses into the jawbone so that the two become one structure. How quickly a person moves through this phase is dependent on their body's response. Some people complete the fusing process quickly, and for others, the process can take around half a year.
The final phase of this smile restoration process involves installing the replacement tooth at the implant site. Replacement options for implants vary, but bridges and crowns are the most common. During this phase, the previously fitted replacement tooth device is connected to the implant.
Remember, the implant is the anchor, so once installed, the replacement device will look like it is coming out of your gums, which will offer the most realistic appearance. Of all the phases, this step is the fastest and provides the most dramatic results.
Just as your smile restoration needs are unique to you, so will the amount of time it takes to complete the process vary. Speak with your cosmetic dentist to get more information about your situation.