More than 5 million dental implants are placed each year and it’s easy to see why they’re so popular: They’re not only the closest thing to your own natural teeth, but they can also last a lifetime. The implant procedure is always done in multiple stages, but since everyone is unique, the process will look different for each person. When people need a tooth extraction first, one common question is, “How long do I have to wait to get a dental implant?” Keep reading to find out and learn why extractions may be the necessary first step.
Why Would You Need an Extraction Before Getting a Dental Implant?
A full set of teeth is very important for good oral health and allows you to eat, speak, and smile with ease. This is why dentists always recommend saving natural teeth whenever possible.
But when a tooth can’t be saved, the next best option is to extract it and replace it with a dental implant. Here are some possible reasons for that:
- Severe cavities – Very large cavities destroy most of the tooth structure, which doesn’t leave enough to support a dental filling or crown.
- Severe cracks or fractures – Large cracks or fractures, or those that run vertically or involve the root, usually make a tooth unsalvageable.
- Injuries – Irreparable damage can also be caused by injuries or accidents.
After a Tooth Extraction, How Long Until You Can Get Dental Implants?
This varies from person to person and depends on several factors. In some cases, if enough healthy jawbone is present, it may be possible to place a dental implant the same day a tooth is taken out.
However, in most cases, a dentist will recommend waiting 3 to 6 months after a tooth extraction to allow the area to fully heal. But if someone chooses to wait longer than that, they’ll experience more bone loss in the jaw (which naturally occurs when a tooth is removed). If enough time goes by, the jaw may become too thin or weak to support an implant. In those cases, a bone graft may be recommended to restore the strength of the jaw and prepare it for an implant.
Getting dental implants is a multi-step process that takes time. But the benefits make it well worth it! You’ll not only have a healthy smile that looks and feels natural, but one that can also last a lifetime.
About the Author
Dr. Parnam Mohanna is a general and implant dentist and a Fellow with the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. With extensive post-graduate training and decades of experience, he provides outstanding implant dentistry from start to finish. He’s happy to answer questions about the dental implant process and can be reached via his website.