“I routinely recommend dental implant treatment for patients who have recently lost a tooth or are about to have a tooth extracted,” says Dr. Jamie Alexander of Boynton Beach, FL.
Dental implant placement and restoration in today’s highest standard of care for missing teeth because of the treatment’s superior function, natural appearance, and long-lasting durability. Knowing this, patients are often keen to fill the gap in their bite and smile as soon as possible.
“This is a good thing,” says Dr. Alexander, “because the sooner the implant is placed, the less time there is for the roots of adjacent teeth to drift into the space vacated by the lost or extracted tooth. If they drift, other smile and oral health issues can occur. Proceeding as soon as possible, also means there is less time for resorption of bone tissue, which naturally occurs when a tooth’s roots are removed, and the stress of chewing is no longer stimulating the bone tissue at the site.”
Bone resorption is an interesting biological process by which osteoclasts (the large multinucleated cells on the bone) break down calcium in the bone and transfer it to the bloodstream.
Dr. Alexander refers his dental patients to one of the local oral surgeons or periodontists who collaborate with him on implant cases. In all circumstances, these specialists are highly trained and have performed thousands of implant procedures. With two doctors carefully thinking through a treatment plan that is right for your circumstances — and with your best interests in mind, you can be sure your treatment will be timed for the best results and the plan will take into account that you want to expedite that treatment.
The timeline for a dental implant after tooth extraction varies.
If you just had a tooth extracted — or you will soon undergo an extraction — the implant treatment timeline depends on where in the jaw the implant will be, the health of the jawbone, and the health of the gum tissue.
Some people have lost many teeth and wear partial or full dentures. You may have heard about “teeth in a day” which is a special treatment in which remaining teeth are removed and a hybrid overdenture is secured on a few implants if the gums are healthy and the jawbone will allow for this. But most implants today are done to replace a single tooth and the bone and gum tissues need to heal prior to implant placement.
In most cases, the jawbone is allowed to heal for two to six months after extraction. At the time the tooth is extracted by the specialist, the empty root socket can be filled with osseous material before the gums are sutured. This will ensure good bone volume and density to hold the implant and may allow for sooner implant placement.
The surgeon will examine you for gum health and evaluate the bone density at about two months, then decide whether it is in your best health interest to wait longer before performing the implant placement.
After the implant is placed, there will be another healing period of two to six months while gums heal and the bone tissue grows tightly around the implant. Once osseointegration has taken place and your implant surgeon verifies the implant is firmly in place, Dr. Alexander will have his preferred lab create the custom-made crown that perfectly fits the implant, functions harmoniously with your bite, and blends in color with your other teeth, and looks natural in your smile.
“Implant treatment is a big step for people, and trust is a must. We are blessed in Boynton Beach to have implant specialists I would trust to do procedures on myself, my family, and friends. It’s a great feeling to be able to confidently refer all my patients and know they are getting the best care possible, just as I would want to have,” says Dr. Jamie Alexander.