A dental implant, an artificial tooth replacement for missing teeth, is critical in maintaining a flawless smile and overall oral health. Not replacing missing teeth means that the teeth adjacent to the open socket will shift towards it, causing misalignment. Furthermore, open sockets cause deterioration of the underlying jawbone because of lack of stimulation, resulting in jaw bone loss and a change in facial structure.
If you have lost teeth, you might avoid smiling or talking in public places, negatively affecting your self-esteem and eating habits. Dental implantation is a kind of prosthetic dentistry. Although it’s still classified as a cosmetic dentistry procedure, it focuses more on how your smile looks and feels. La Puente Advanced Dentistry is here to restore the teeth’ strength and stability and stimulate your jaw bone to maintain its density through dental implants.
What is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants are defined as artificial or natural-looking tooth roots used to replace missing tooth roots to provide a strong foundation for the fixed or removable prosthetics made to resemble the natural teeth. The surgical fixture is attached to the jaw and allowed to fuse in a process called osseointegration. When osseointegration happens, it becomes the closest mimic of the natural teeth as it stands strong without interfering with the surrounding teeth.
The commonly used material for making dental implants is titanium because the body doesn’t recognize it as a foreign object, allowing for fusion with the natural bone.
Therefore, if you have a flawed smile, boosting dental implants is the best replacement option because they fix the aesthetics of your smile and help your teeth to function normally. Most dental implants are tailored to mimic the teeth’ size and shape and jawbone in the dental office.
These surgical fixtures were in the market over three decades ago and are the most durable and stable artificial replacement for missing natural teeth. Even today, implants are believed to be the most ordinary and efficient natural teeth replacement, which is why at La Puente Advanced Dentistry, we still recommend the treatment for patients seeking to correct their smile by replacing missing teeth.
Some facts about implants that you should know include:
- The roots of dental implants travel back to the olden days of Mayans because shell structures were retrieved from the jaws of the early Mayans.
- In the United States, over three million people have dental implants, and this number increases every year.
- Unlike other dental procedures, dental implants stimulate the jaw bone during integration, promoting natural healing.
What are the Benefits of a Dental Implant?
When you visit our cosmetic dentistry office with oral problems resulting from missing teeth, we are likely to recommend dental implants over other oral treatment procedures because of their benefits. You should understand these benefits before opting for the treatment for an informed decision. The advantages of the process are:
Restores Your Smile and Overall Physical Appearance
As mentioned above, implants are a preferred option for many compared to other treatment options because they look and feel like natural teeth. During the procedure, the dentist takes ample time to evaluate the condition of your mouth to establish whether you are a candidate for the treatment. Further, when the titanium screws are attached to the natural jawbone, they fuse and stimulate the process of bone growth. By preventing jawbone loss, implants help maintain your facial structure. Besides, the process happens naturally, increasing the accuracy of the treatment.
The implants provide anchorages for dental crowns and bridges, helping fill the gaps with missing teeth due to teeth decay, injury, or periodontal disease.
When you have missing teeth and replace them with dentures, they will keep sliding if they are poorly fitted, and this might cause a mumble or slur. However, dental implants provide stability to the crowns or bridges to the extent you don’t need to worry about your speech.
By restoring your natural and flawless smile, dental implants make you feel good about your appearance, boosting your confidence. By gaining confidence in your physical appearance, you can fight problems like low self-esteem and social anxiety, which often stem from a lack of self-confidence.
Improved General Health
Unlike dentures that might require reshaping the surrounding teeth to allow for proper fitting, dental implants don’t interfere with the nearby teeth. It means that more of your teeth are left intact and can last long, enhancing your overall oral wellness. Further, having solid and durable teeth does not limit the food you eat, meaning you can maintain a balanced diet critical in enhancing general body health.
You May Avoid Wearing the Temporary Removable Dentures
Patients with removable dentures are known to complain about pain and discomfort when putting on or removing dentures. Additionally, eliminating dentures can be embarrassing, which is why we recommend implants to our patients. With these surgical fixtures, you will worry less about the pain and discomfort because they don’t need removing.
Why Do You Need Dental Implants?
Implants are the perfect replacement if you have a single, multiple, or all teeth missing. The purpose of replacing missing teeth is to replace functionality and esthetics.
There common ways of replacing missing teeth are:
- Removable dentures
- Dental implants
- Cemented dental bridges
On the issue of cost, dentures are more pocket friendly but the messy adhesives and need to remove often make them less desirable. Besides, they interfere with your food, sensory, and taste, meaning you might not enjoy your meals as usual.
Dental bridges are the other standard restorative option for most oral patients with missing teeth. Unfortunately, bridges rely on the existing teeth for anchorage, and for them to fit correctly, they might require reshaping the surrounding teeth.
On the other hand, implants are anchored by the jawbone, making them feel natural and strong.
When you visit our offices, we will discuss these options first and find the treatment that suits you most. The factors that will determine the right treatment option include:
- The cost of the treatment
- Your general health
- Location of the missing teeth
- The quality and mass of the socket walls where the missing tooth needs replacing
During the initial consultation, the dental expert working on your case will thoroughly examine the area that needs an implant and perform other clinical evaluations to confirm if you are a candidate. If the procedure is completed the right way, you will enjoy more benefits than patients who choose other restorative procedures.
Forms of Dental Implants
Every patient that walks into our office seeking a cosmetic procedure has varying needs. Therefore, the implants are customized to harbor the needs of each patient. You should pay a visit to your dentist to discuss the forms of implants available and the most appropriate options based on your needs and objectives.
Historically, dental implants fall into two categories. One of them is endosteal, which are screw-like implants made of titanium and are attached to the jawbone.
The other type of implant is subperiosteal, which rests over the jawbone and under the gums. They are not directly placed over the jawbone, making them a preference for many individuals who don’t prefer waiting for months for osseointegration to happen or those with poor quality and quantity of jawbone to brace the implantation. Due to the poor results of the procedure, it’s rarely recommended by dentists.
The primary role of the implants is replacing missing teeth. However, this procedure is used to complement other oral treatments because of their stability. When a denture or orthodontic treatment is required, the dentist might first perform a dental implant procedure to provide a stable fit for the denture or act as a perfect anchorage device to position the tooth in the desired position.
Even with the dental industry advancements, millions of people still struggle with tooth loss due to gum disease or decay. Some individuals even lose all teeth in the upper or lower arch, making it necessary to undergo implant treatment. However, because placing implants for each missing tooth can be costly, at La Puente Advanced Dentistry, we provide safe and comfortable prostheses using few implants to make the treatment affordable.
One of these prostheses with few implants is the all-on-four implant. The revolutionary technique was developed by Nobel Biocare for individuals who have lost several or all teeth and aren’t comfortable with dentures. Instead of placing each implant at a time for every missing tooth, our oral surgeons will prepare the upper and lower teeth. They will then strategically screw a thin prosthesis on specific areas of the jawbone, strong enough to anchor the artificial tooth roots.
The technique provides stable dentures that look like the teeth, providing dentists with a wider variety of single or multiple teeth replacement options.
Are Dental Implants for Everyone?
If you are healthy enough to undergo oral surgery or tooth extraction, then you are a candidate for dental implant treatment. To determine your candidacy for the treatment, your dentist will conduct a thorough oral examination. The evaluation is intended to establish if your gums are healthy and whether you have enough jawbone quality and quantity to brace the implants. Also, you should be a person who observes healthy oral habits and maintains frequent visits to the dentist.
Note that if you are a heavy smoker or suffer from a chronic illness like diabetes, HIV, heart disease, or have undergone radiotherapy to the neck or head first, the dentist must look at your unique situation before performing the procedure. However, individuals with chronic illnesses are ruled out of the process because of the increased risk of developing complications. Still, you must talk to your dentist first since they are better positioned to give their professional advice.
The Dental Implant Procedure
At La Puente Advanced Dentistry, we understand that any dental procedure can cause anxiety because many individuals walk into dental clinics anticipating pain and displeasure. Most pain or discomfort stems from the use of traditional tools to perform a dental implant. Therefore, we have invested in state-of-the-art tools, procedures, and techniques to offer quality dental care.
We believe that dental procedures should be comfortable, less invasive, and accurate, which is why our equipment is tailored to reduce pain. Unfortunately, some dentists still use the traditional tools and techniques to perform this treatment. Therefore, we recommend that you find a cosmetic dentistry clinic with well-trained professionals with knowledge of various restoration processes and various implant materials. That way, you can understand what to expect in your treatment plan.
When you visit our clinic for treatment, our oral surgeon will first examine the area of your teeth that requires the implant and conduct CT scans and X-rays. These are done to explore the quality of the jawbone to establish whether it involves bone grafting or safely placing the implant at the site. Once the dentist determines you are a candidate for the procedure, they will arrange another appointment when the treatment will be performed. Besides, you should discuss local anesthetic or sedatives being administered in the process.
The first step of the treatment often involves dental surgery to remove the remaining parts of the damaged tooth, if any. Although implant placement is thought to cause a lot of pain, this is not usually the case. Implants are placed surgically on the bone for 30 minutes. However, a complete mouth implant might require up to four hours to place the implants.
After the extraction of the remains of the missing or damaged tooth, if the walls of the underlying bone are thick enough, the socket will fill naturally within three months. However, if the socket walls are thin, bone grafting might be necessary after the extraction to help the body replenish the socket. After bone grafting, you will need to wait for several months before the implants are placed.
If you have had a missing tooth for a long time, you may have inadequate bone to anchor the implant because of the thin bone. In these cases, bone grafting will be necessary to increase the dentistry area where the implant is required. Fusion of the existing bone with the new one takes around six months, so you must be patient.
After the bone graft and it is ascertained that your jawbone’s quality and quantity is adequate, the site will be ready for an implant. The titanium screw-like posts are through a particular drill. To allow for proper healing during osseointegration, the dentist will place a healing cap on top of the implant and sutures it to allow for healing. For aesthetic reasons, the dentist will place a denture above the dental implant to replace the missing tooth.
The titanium screws take around six months to fuse with the natural jawbone, although the duration it takes to heal depends on the quality of the jawbone. During this period, you should pay follow-up visits to the dentist to monitor how the integration is happening and look out for oral infections.
After healing, the dentists test the implant to see if it has naturally fused with the natural jawbone. If osseointegration was successful, an abutment would be placed on top of the implant to hold the crown or replacement tooth. However, you will need a fifteen-minute surgery to open the gums to uncover the implant and place the abutment. You will then have two weeks for the gums to heal. Also, the dental expert will take a mold of the abutment and send the impressions to a lab technician for crown fabrication.
By the time you return to the clinic after two weeks, the crowns will be ready for permanent placing. They can be screwed to the abutment or cemented, and once this is done, the treatment is completed. The entire process, from implants to cementing the final crowns, will take up to eight months.
What is the Cost of Dental Implants?
Dental implants are more affordable in terms of durability and effectiveness than other restorative treatment options in the long run. Many factors determine the treatment costs, like the number of teeth that need replacing and the number of implants required. The location or site of the tooth to be replaced and the type of implant used also affect the treatment fee.
On average, a single dental implant cost ranges from $3,000 to $4,500, depending on your oral needs. Dental insurance companies also don’t pay for this procedure because they deem it elective instead of a standard procedure for replacing missing teeth.
At La Puente Advanced Dentistry, we recommend that you don’t fall for the attractive rates of dental implants out there. Some cosmetic dentists will use low prices to appeal to clients to use their services, although the quality of their services is compromised. Instead, we recommend that you visit a dentist for a thorough evaluation of the teeth and mouth. After the examination, the dentist should develop a detailed quotation of all the costs. You should do this with two or more dentists then compare their quotes to pick the most appropriate, based on your needs.
Find the Right Cosmetic Dentistry Service Near Me
Do you have missing teeth? This will affect the quality of your smile and hinder your general teeth functionality and accelerate physical aging. Luckily dental implants are the best answer to your missing teeth. At La Puente Advanced Dentistry, we can perform this procedure so that you worry less about your appearance. Call us today at 626-626-7075 for a free consultation.