Phases of Dental Implant Treatment
When it comes to replacing missing teeth, dental implants are in a league of their own. In addition to looking completely natural and being easy to take care of, dental implants have an impressive lifespan—capable of lasting twenty years or more with proper care and maintenance.
However, there are some minor drawbacks. In addition to costing more initially than dentures or bridges, dental implants in Long Island also take longer to place in most instances. Although the actual timeframe of your dental implant placement depends on your personal dental and bone health, implants can take anywhere from 4-12 months to place. Here is an explanation of each phase of treatment so that you understand what to expect.
Before Dr. Scharf starts taking steps to install your dental implants, he will need to make sure that you are a good candidate for dental implant surgery. Although dental implant procedures have a very high success rate, hovering near 100%, implants can fail if the patient isn’t healthy enough for the procedure or isn’t dedicated to good oral hygiene practices.
As a board certified periodontist, Dr. Scharf has received years of extra training regarding periodontal health and the placement of dental implants. Dr. Scharf will conduct a careful examination of your teeth, gums, bone tissue, and your X-rays to see if you have jaw bone tissue that is healthy and strong enough to support implants. Dr. Scharf will also check to see if you have other issues that need to be addressed before implants can be installed, such as periodontal disease, gum recession, or underlying medical conditions that could affect your healing.
Sometimes, patients are medically healthy enough for dental implant placement, but preparatory surgeries need to be completed in order to pave the way for a successful dental implant placement. For example, severely damaged teeth may need to be removed to make room for the implant, or bone grafts may be necessary to support the alveolar ridge. Both of these procedures require healing time, but these steps can help to ensure that your implant will look great and feel comfortable.
Teeth that are severely damaged, cracked down to the root, or infected may need to be extracted instead of repaired. In these instances, Dr. Scharf may recommend removing the tooth and installing a dental implant in its place. Sometimes, dental implants can be placed into the socket where the tooth was in the same day, but other times the area may need to heal before the implant can be placed.
As soon as a tooth goes missing, the jaw bone starts to melt away or resorb. The resorption process occurs rapidly, with bone tissue losing as much as 25% of its height within the first year, and then four additional millimeters the year afterwards. To bolster the area, bone grafting may be required to accommodate a dental implant. Bone grafting involves requires letting the area heal for at least four months.
As soon as the gum tissue and bone heal, the posts for your dental implants can be placed. These dental implant “roots” are made of titanium and placed directly into the bone tissue. To do this, your jaw is numbed with a local anesthetic, then a small hole is pre-drilled to make it easier to place the post. Finally, the post is put into place, and the gum tissue is closed around it.
After the post is in place, it needs time to integrate with the bone. This process can take as long as 4-6 months, depending on the original quality of the bone tissue. After the area has healed and the post is secure, the top of the post will be uncovered and an abutment will be attached to the post to hold the dental crown.
Final Crown Placement
Impressions will be taken of the exposed abutment and surrounding area so that Dr. Scharf can order a dental crown that will fit perfectly. The color of your existing teeth will be carefully matched, so your dental implant will blend right in. After the permanent crown comes in from the lab in a few weeks, you will be called back for a final appointment to have the crown placed. Because the underlying bone and gum tissue will be completely healed, your new dental implant will be ready to show off right after it is placed.
Don’t Worry, We're Here For You
We know that it can seem like an eternity to receive your final dental implants, but Dr. Scharf and his entire team will be right by your side throughout the process. If you have any questions, complaints, or concerns during treatment, Dr. Scharf will do everything he can to make it right. Contact our office today. We know that you will love your new Long Island dental implants, and we can’t wait to get started.