Do you find yourself struggling to adjust to a new dental bridge or denture? Want to avoid these tooth replacement options entirely for something not just more reliable, but enjoyable to live with? If you answered yes to both of these questions, you may find dental implants to be a tooth replacement option that better suits your needs. You can have your dental implants at the Rancho Bernardo dental office Nelson Y. Howard, D.D.S placed and restored, making your smile transformation even more convenient. Give us a call to get started!
A dental implant specifically refers to the titanium post that integrates with your existing bone and soft tissue. However, many people include the abutment and restoration when they talk about dental implants as well. The implant is designed to mimic your natural tooth root almost entirely in terms of form and function, meaning you can eat the foods you want, maintain your facial appearance, and have confidence in your smile.
Our office will need to perform a detailed consultation of your existing smile to confirm how many teeth are missing and which teeth need to be replaced. After X-rays and other necessary steps are taken (such as bone grafts, gum therapy, etc.) if applicable, we’ll schedule you for dental implant surgery. During this appointment, the implants are placed directly into the jaw and the gum tissue is sealed so they can have time to heal. This integration process (known as osseointegration) occurs over the next four to six months. After the healing period, the gum tissue is reopened so an abutment can be placed. When the gum tissue has healed a few weeks later, your crown, bridge, or denture is attached to complete your smile.
There are many benefits to consider when it comes to dental implants. Not only are you able to rely on dental implants to hopefully last you a lifetime once placed and restored, but your risk for future tooth loss goes down significantly. This is because the implant stimulates bone tissue, preventing it from resorbing back into the body and damaging the foundation necessary for healthy teeth.
On top of that, the osseointegration process (where titanium material fuses to natural bone) also makes it easy to chew the foods you love, speak with clarity, and live your life with confidence. Even brushing and flossing are simplified since you never need to remove your restoration just to keep it or your natural teeth clean. In contrast, you can also expect a longer-lasting tooth replacement than traditional bridges and dentures, another reason why they have become so highly sought after in recent years.
Dental implants are also known for their high level of versatility, meaning they can be used for all levels of tooth loss. Best of all, dental implants can be used to replace as few as one tooth and as many as all of your teeth (one, or both arches). A lifelike solution that mimics how your natural teeth look, feel and function — dental implants truly are the gold standard in tooth replacement.
Depending on your situation and how many teeth are either missing and/or compromised, Dr. Howard can customize a treatment plan specific to your smile goals.
Missing a single tooth? One dental implant placed into the jaw is all you need to provide an anchor for your future restoration. This means you won’t need to modify existing tooth enamel just to replace one tooth, which is what typically needs to be done with traditional bridges.
When you’re missing multiple consecutive teeth, a pair of dental implants can be used to anchor a more complex restoration, including a dental bridge. A series of crowns are fused together, then attached to the implants. This is also the case if a partial denture is needed, albeit more dental implants may be placed to ensure a stable foundation.
One of the perks of dental implants is that you don’t need to have a dedicated dental implant for each tooth you intend to replace. For example, replacing a full arch of teeth can usually be done with just a handful of dental implants, typically four to six.
For some patients, too much bone loss has occurred for traditional dental implants to be successfully placed. If we determine this is the case for you, we can recommend mini dental implants instead. Mini dental implants are significantly skinnier than normal dental implants, making it easier for them to integrate with thin bone tissue and still hold your necessary restorations.
It’s important to note that since dental implants are highly personalized to you, your dental care costs will likely not be the same as someone else’s. For example, the number of teeth you need to replace and the preparatory treatments needed to complete care will influence your cost dramatically. With that said, dental implants are still widely considered to be a more cost-effective solution for tooth loss thanks to their function and longevity, even with a higher upfront cost.
When teeth are lost, bone tissue begins to resorb back into the body to areas where it’s more needed. This is especially common for older patients pursuing tooth replacement via dental implants. Thankfully, Dr. Howard has the skills and expertise to perform sinus lifts and ridge augmentations. Also known as bone grafting, these treatments are designed to expand the available amount of bone tissue in thinner parts of the mouth, particularly where the upper jawbone sits.