How Long Should I Wait for a Tooth Implant?

smiling woman in dentist's chair talking to smiling female dental assistant
Author: cmcgovern Posted: July 28th, 2020 Category:

People who lose a tooth should consult their dentist as soon as possible to learn when an implant can be safely inserted. 

Tooth loss can be caused by a variety of factors, and missing teeth often require an implant to ensure your dental function returns to normal. Common reasons for tooth loss include major trauma to the teeth (like hard hits, or severe fractures), periodontal disease, tooth decay, or a failed root canal treatment.

Why get a dental implant? 

Dental implants are artificial teeth that are fused into your jawbone. Implants are quite popular because of how functional they are — implants look, feel, and work almost exactly like your natural teeth. Plus, implants require minimal daily upkeep compared to dentures or dental bridges.

Tooth implants aren’t just cosmetic — if you’ve lost a tooth, implants can make an important contribution to your dental health. If an extracted tooth is left without an implant, the remaining jaw bone can undergo rapid deterioration. Bone loss can be a painful process, and it will make it significantly more difficult (and expensive) to get a tooth implant in the future. 

How do tooth implants work? 

Implants consist of two parts — an artificial root plus a crown. If your tooth has been extracted by a dentist or dislodged by dental trauma, the gap that remains will become the site of your new implant.

The artificial root will be made of a small titanium screw, which your dentist will insert into the site of the extraction. Within a few months, the jawbone at the location of your implant will fuse to the screw, creating a sturdy rootlike structure similar to your natural root. Once your artificial root is secure, your dentist will attach a crown — which is customized to look and feel natural in your mouth. 

When should I get a tooth implant?

To know the exact answer to this question, you will need to consult your dentist after losing your tooth. Ideally, your tooth implant would occur immediately after your tooth is extracted — but this isn’t always possible if your jawbone has experienced deterioration.

If your jaw bone has lost mass at the site of your missing tooth, you may need to wait a few months before you can get your implant. This is because tooth implants require a fully-filled jawbone to successfully fuse to your artificial root.

If you have experienced minor jawbone damage or deterioration, you can probably still get an implant within three months after your extraction. Make sure not to wait longer than three months —your jawbone will be less likely to fuse to a root after more than three months of ossifying. 

If there is simply not enough jaw bone available at the site of extraction, either because of jawbone trauma or severe deterioration, you can still get a tooth implant — but you may need a bone graft. A bone graft is a minor surgery during which your oral surgeon augments your bone at the site of extraction so an artificial root can take hold. Thanks to bone grafting, dental implants are possible even with severe jawbone loss. 

Dental implants at Espire 

If you have a missing or extracted tooth, your first step should be to consult a dentist right away. Your dentist can assess the amount of jawbone deterioration at the site of extraction, and determine how long you should wait to get an implant, or whether you need a bone graft.

For qualified dentists in the Denver Metro, visit us at Espire. We offer tooth implants and extractions in a patient-friendly setting. For all your implant needs, request an appointment today. Your dental health is too important to wait!