Not a week goes by that a patient will ask the question, “Why does it take so long to have implant/bone graft reconstruction? I see on TV, and advertisements for ‘teeth in a day.’ What does that mean?”
In the strictest sense, the advertisements for “teeth in a day” are referring to a process where all the teeth are removed, dental implants are placed within the residual bone and a prefabricated denture is attached to these implants on the same day that they are placed.
Obviously, if a denture is prefabricated, this requires a visit, or visits, prior to the procedure, so that replacement prosthetics can be fabricated from dental impressions, prior to the extractions. Then, on the day of the procedure, the oral surgeon, your general dentist and a laboratory technician are present for an all-day procedure.
Extensive pre-surgical planning is involved, many times using three-dimensional imaging to create 3-D printed guides, which allow for accurate placement of these implants in the residual bone. After placement, your dentist and their lab technician go through the process of fitment of these prosthetics to the newly placed bone attachments. This is a very specific procedure requiring a high degree of skill and experience to obtain a proper bite, as well as acceptable aesthetics with these newly fabricated prosthetics.
Many are not candidates for this procedure. If you think that you may want or need to have your teeth removed and replacements made, speak to your trusted dentist first and see if you can have repair done of your existing teeth. Possibly, select extractions, with either removable or fixed bridges being placed, or the judicious use of an implant or two to replace only those that must be removed.
If your dentist feels that you are a candidate for removal of the remaining teeth, either because of the need for extensive dental work that is either too costly or too time-consuming, or you have suffered the loss of support bone around your existing teeth which cannot be arrested, then be prepared for a proper pre-surgical workup that should entail a thorough evaluation, three-dimensional radiographic imaging for proper planning of the surgical procedure, and budget for several days of rest and relaxation, with frequent follow-up visits to your dentist and surgeon.
After a six-month maturation period, allowing your bone to heal to these new implants, the preliminary prosthetics will be replaced with new prosthetics that will fit the surgically created foundation more accurately, giving that six-month period of time of maturation and healing. It is at that time that the finer adjustments of aesthetics and occlusion can be made.
“Teeth in a day” can certainly be accomplished in certain circumstances. As you can see, that “one day” is a focal point that occurs after an extensive pre-surgical workup, as well as at least six months of close follow-up, with the new and final prosthetics being remade after that six-month period. If the bone anatomy is sufficient, the surgeon has extensive experience with implant placement and your dentist has a trusted lab technician who can work in an office setting with your dentist to attach these prosthetic devices to your newly reconstructed jaws, then “teeth in a day” can be done. Obviously, though, there is more to this than a single day.
It is never a bad idea to get a second opinion when dealing with a decision of this magnitude.