Dental implants are one of the best solutions if you are looking to replace missing teeth in Detroit. Not only do you not have to worry about slippage as with dentures, but you can also eat a wider variety of foods and clean them as you would your normal teeth. Typically, dental implants take around 3 to 6 months to fully heal, but healing can be prolonged in some circumstances. Prolonged healing is not ideal for the implant and can potentially result in implant failure if it is not addressed. We’ll talk about the healing process and some of the things that can slow that process down.

If you would rather talk about this in person with a Detroit implant dentist, please call (248) 656-2020.

illustration of a dental implant next to natural teeth in gums

The Phases of Dental Implant Healing

After your dental implant is placed, it must heal to promote the long-term health, stability, and function of the implant. Dental implant healing takes time, about 3-6 months. We usually divide this healing time into two phases: the bone-healing phase and the bone remodeling stage. However, the same processes occur in both phases, so you should consider these phases as having significant overlap.

The Bone Healing Phase

Placing a dental implant is an injury to your bone. Your body will first try to heal this injury. The bone healing phase begins immediately after implant placement. Your body responds to it the way it responds to a broken bone.

The blood that gets on the surface of the implant starts healing immediately. Protein from the blood coats the implant in a thin layer. Platelets in the blood stop bleeding and lay down a scaffold for new tissue formation.

Some aspects of the healing process peak in the first 24-48 hours after implant placement. Your implant dentist will give you special instructions for this period so you won’t interfere with this healing process.

After the first 48 hours, dental implant healing enters a more gradual phase. The body begins removing bone around the implant to relieve pressure from the implant, but it builds a basic form of bone to replace the damaged and pressured bone. This basic form of bone is quick to build, but it’s not as strong as your normal bone.

During the healing phase, the implant transitions from primary stability to secondary stability. Primary stability is the friction and pressure that first holds the implant in place. Secondary stability is the new bone adhering to the implant that will hold it in place for life. Primary stability decreases as the body removes bone around the implant. Secondary stability increases as the body builds new bone. Usually, the gain in secondary stability lags behind the loss of primary stability so that the dental implant sees a dip in overall stability that bottoms out about 2-3 weeks after implant placement.

Most consider the bone healing phase complete when the implant has successfully passed the stability dip, about 30 days after implant placement.

The Bone Remodeling Phase

In the bone remodeling phase, the body removes the initial bone it built around the implant and replaces it with stronger bone. Eventually, the bone around the implant is as sturdy as any bone in the body.

This is a slower process, and can take months. In fact, although we often consider it complete by six months after implant placement, it likely continues for the entire life of the implant. (One study presents 40-year simulations of bone healing around dental implants.)

What Can Slow Implant Healing

Although the dental implant healing phases normally progress in a healthy way along the expected timetable, there are some things you can do to hamper the healing process. This might mean your implant healing will take more time.

Low Primary Stability

When the implant has tight, secure contact with bone, bone will grow around it. If the contact is less secure and the implant moves, the body might build cartilage or fibrous tissue around the implant. If your dental implant isn’t stable when placed, your Detroit implant dentist may cover it over with gum tissue so it can heal without being moved. This helps the body build bone around the implant.

Not Following Postoperative Instructions

Your Detroit implant dentist will give you detailed instructions about how to encourage your dental implant to heal. This includes things like avoiding alcohol during the 48 hours after implant placement. If you don’t follow your implant dentist’s instructions, it can slow your implant healing or lead to a failure to integrate.


Smoking is bad for your dental implants. This is due in part to smoking’s effect on the gums. Your gums are integral to the health of your mouth because they deliver important nutrients to your teeth via the bloodstream. Smoking actually limits the flow of blood to the gums, which is why smokers are more susceptible to gum disease. This blood flow is key for dental implants to heal properly, and if it is limited then the healing process will not only take longer, but it is also possible that your body will not take the implant.

You should stop smoking as long as possible before your implant placement, and avoid smoking for as long as your Detroit implant dentist recommends. In fact, it’s best to quit smoking altogether.

Uncontrolled Diabetes

For much of the same reasons as smoking, those who are having difficulty managing their diabetes might not be good candidates for dental implants. Diabetes stiffens and narrows the capillaries which reduces the blood flow to many areas of the body, including the gums. This can prolong the healing process and may result in the implant failing to take. Once your diabetes is under control your dental implants should heal normally.

Poor Bone Growth

Simply put, if your bone does not grow around the dental implant then it will not take. Make sure  you’re getting good nutrition to support bone growth. Your Detroit implant dentist will help you find a healthy diet to support bone growth.


If you have lost a tooth because it was infected, or due to advanced gum disease then without antibiotics it is highly likely that any healing dental implants will become infected. It is difficult for your body to heal and fight off an infection at the same time, and this is especially true for any infections that reach the bone. The best case scenario in this situation is that it takes longer for the implant to heal, but it is important to note that this could result in the loss of the implant.

If you or your Detroit implant dentist are worried that the implant could become infected, then you may want to consider waiting a few months after the tooth is extracted to ensure that the infection has subsided.

Dental Implants in Detroit

Despite the long healing period, it still holds true that dental implants are the best option if you are looking to replace missing teeth. If you are patient, visit with your doctor on proper care and maintenance, and try to avoid moving it excessively or placing unneeded pressure on it, then dental implants can last you a lifetime. If you are curious about dental implants and live in the Detroit area, please consider visiting us at Rochester Advanced Dentistry near Rochester Municipal Park.

Our Detroit implant dentists can answer any questions you may have and show you how to properly care for and maintain your new dental implants. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at (248) 656-2020.