Maximum Time Between Bone Graft and Dental Implant (A Complete Guide)
The road to dental implant surgery and crown restoration can be a time commitment. Depending on each case, maximum time between bone graft and dental implant depends on whether there is enough bone present or if a tooth needs to be extracted, it may take from five months to one year or more to complete the process.
Unfortunately, these periods depend on the time the body takes to heal. Dentists understand that the process can be confusing. That’s why we have summarized the steps in the implant process below.
Remember that the patient’s treatment timeline may differ based on the anatomy, overall health, and treatment goals. The patient is informed of each step along the way, making his journey to recovery easy.
Dental Implant Surgical Treatment Timeline:
Exam and consultation:
The dentist takes a detailed examination and health history. X-rays are taken to measure bone density. At this point, a bone graft decision will be taken.
Options of dental insurance and payment options are discussed with the patient.
Impressions of the jaw and teeth may be taken. In this appointment, the patient is given a soft diet regime so that after surgery, he should follow as recommended by the dentist for the first few days to prevent undue stress on new implants.
The patient can plan ahead of the implant surgery and want to go shopping for soft foods like mashed potatoes and mac-n-cheese soups, cottage cheese, yogurt etc.
In the case of tooth extraction:
If the bone is healthy and is of normal density, the implant may be placed on the same day as the extraction. It is called a one-stage process or non-traditional method. However, if there is a severe bone loss or the presence of a large infection, it may not be possible to place the implant on the same day on which tooth extraction is done. In such cases, it may be necessary to bone graft the area. Bone grafts usually have to heal 4 months before implants can be placed.
In the case of bone grafting:
If the tooth had been missing for some time, the bone in the extracted site might require buildup. Bone grafting procedures, such as sinus lift and ridge augmentation, need to be performed before implant placement so that a solid bone foundation is present for the implant. Again, bone grafts usually take 4 months of healing if taken proper care post-surgery before implant placement.
Appointment for Dental Implant Surgery:
The implant fixture is surgically placed in the bone at this stage. If necessary, the dentist will add a bone graft and membrane to augment any areas of deficient bone and maximize the implant’s success. A membrane is a thin collagen sponge used to cover the graft initially. It helps stabilize the graft. It is common for this membrane to come off within 1-3 days. The implants may be left submerged under the gum depending on various factors which are well explained to the patient and allow it to heal, or they may have it left exposed with the healing cap on it. The typical time for the body to accept the dental implant is 4-6 months, depending on the quality and density of the bone.
(the patient should avoid Vigorous rinsing for the first week, so the graft material is not washed away).
Followup appointments post-surgically:
The dentist usually monitors the healing process at 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month and 4-6 months after surgery (times may vary with each case).
Appointment to Uncover the gum:
If the implant was “buried” under the gum tissue, and after the 4-6 month healing period, the implant can be uncovered and a “healing cap” placed. A healing cap is a small, round component attached to the implant. This component contours and shapes the gum tissue, so it is ready for the final step.
The patient must wait 2 more weeks after the recovery and healing cap placement appointmen
t before seeing the general dentist for the final impressions.
Appointment to take the dental impressions:
After the implants have integrated into the jaw bone and the gum tissue has adequately healed around the healing cap, the general dentist will take an impression of the upper and lower jaws. And will also choose a tooth colour the patient approves of and record the bite. The dental laboratory uses bite record materials to fabricate the final tooth.
Appointment for abutment and crown placement: After 10-14 working days, the lab will complete the abutment and final crown and send it to your general dentist. When the patient visits his dentist, the abutment (the part that fits over the portion of the implant that protrudes from the gum line) will be placed, followed by cementing and adjustment of the final crown.
All that waiting has paid off, and now you have a wonderful new smile!
What Are The Post Dental Implant Surgical Instruction?
- Sometimes, a dental implant’s failure or complication rate can be high. The better way to prevent these issues is to maintain good oral hygiene and religiously follow the post-operative instructions from the oral surgeon.
- Suppose Bleeding Continues. Take 1 piece of gauze and fold it in quarters, creating a firm pad. Place the pad over the surgical site. Use firm biting pressure where possible (extraction site), or direct finger pressure by holding the gauze. The bleeding should stop within 2-3 hours, but you can expect to see blood-tinged saliva for up to 24-48 hours following surgery. If bleeding is heavy or continues after 2 hours, moisten a tea bag, place it on the surgical site, and apply pressure or bite firmly for 30 minutes. It usually stops the bleeding. If bleeding is heavy or continues after 24 hours, call the doctor. Do not rinse, spit, or use a straw on the day of surgery, as this can cause bleeding to resume.
- Some patients may experience swelling and temporary pain in the implant for a few days, and the patient is instructed to consume only soft diets for a week or so.
- To reduce the swelling, Use ice packs applied to the face for 20-minute intervals. If oral surgery was performed on both the right and left sides, it is recommended to use one ice pack and alternate sides every 20 minutes. It is the most effective way to reduce swelling. Do not exceed 20 minutes in one area as this can cause tissue injury. The swelling usually reaches its maximum 2 days following surgery. To help reduce swelling, sit semi-reclined in a reclining chair; if lying down, keep your head elevated with 2-3 pillows. Icing should be discontinued after 24 hours. While icing your face may feel good, it will act to increase swelling. DO NOT ice beyond 24 hours.
- For Orthodontic Retainers, please do not use them immediately after surgery. The patient can resume using retainers 1-3 days after the procedure or as comfort allows.
- Resume your diet immediately following surgery. On returning home, start with a milkshake, smoothie, or other thick liquid using a spoon, NOT a straw. The patient should limit his diet to cool and soft foods for the first day. Sometimes numbness from local anesthesia may last for hours; therefore, hot foods and liquids should be avoided, as they can cause a burn. A normal diet can be resumed as tolerated.
- Rinse with warm salt water or tap water 3 days after surgery. To make a saltwater rinse, add 1 teaspoon salt to 4-5 oz of warm water. Rinse at least 3 times daily: in the morning, after meals, and before bed. Do not gargle. With extractions, the patient may have been given a plastic irrigating syringe. Begin using this syringe 3 days after the extraction. Gently rinse only the lower extraction site once a day to remove any food debris that may persist after rinsing. Continue until all debris is removed. Do not use over-the-counter mouthwash, as it can irritate the surgery site and slow the healing process. Resume teeth brushing the day after surgery and avoid the surgical sites. It is not unusual to see traces of blood on the toothbrush.
- Smoking and Vaping can also increase the risk of dental implant failure and should be avoided.
- The patient should limit their Physical activity after oral surgery procedures. Vigorous exercise or organized sports should not be resumed until 3-5 days after surgery or as your condition allows. Don’t hesitate to contact the dentist if a written excuse is needed for organized sports or gym class.
- Stitches that have been placed are usually dissolvable and will fall out on their own within the first 4 days. It is not unusual for one or more to loosen and fall out before dissolving, especially in moving mouth areas, such as the tongue or cheek areas. If the stitches come out and the wound opens and creates a hole, it is typically not of concern unless there is excessive bleeding. Fortunately, incisions in the mouth heal very quickly, and any open wound will close naturally.
When it becomes necessary to Call the Doctor
Call the dentist immediately if there is a drug reaction, significant swelling, persistent pain or bleeding, or any other unusual reactions.