Have you lost a tooth to a traumatic injury? When you lose a tooth to an accident, you usually can't re-implant the tooth because of the severe damage to the connective tissues. Moreover, the nerve endings that cover the roots of teeth are sensitive and don't last very long once out of the mouth. If the nerve endings die, the tooth will fall out again when you re-implant it.
However, you don't have to walk around with a gap in your smile. Though the process does take time, within 8-12 months, you can replace your missing tooth with a dental implant.
Bone Grafting Might Be Necessary
When you lose a tooth to an accident, such as a blow to the face, it isn't just the tooth that suffers. The connective tissues, including the periodontal ligaments, gum tissue and bone might all incur damage at the time of the accident. Unfortunately, if an accident damages the bone around a tooth, there won't be enough stable bone to support a dental implant.
As a result, before a prosthodontist can place a dental implant, they might need to perform a bone graft procedure. If the damage to your jawbone is quite severe, you'll need a block bone graft to replace the damaged bone in the area. The bone for the graft can come from the back of your jawbone.
The Graft Needs to Heal Before Implant Placement
Although it only takes up to 90 minutes to place a bone graft, you'll need to wait 3-6 months for the bone graft to fully integrate with your jawbone. Only then can your prosthodontist place the dental implant.
A Dental Implant Takes 2-4 Months to Heal
Once the bone graft has integrated with your jawbone, your prosthodontist can place the dental implant. However, you'll need to wait a further 2-4 months for the implant to fully heal. During the healing period, you'll need to ensure that you keep your implant clean and undisturbed. You can also speed up the healing process by refraining from drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes.
In total, you might have to wait around 5-10 months before you can use your dental implant with a dental crown. But that doesn't mean you have to walk around with the implant visible. Your dentist can create a partial denture that you can wear temporarily until your implant is ready for crown placement.
If you have lost a tooth to an accident, see your dentist as soon as possible if you wish to replace the tooth with a dental implant. The longer you wait, the more bone you will lose and the longer you'll have to wait for the graft and implant to heal.