Missing teeth? Filling the gap in your smile isn’t just good cosmetically. There are serious health benefits to dental implants.
A dental implant treatment consists of placing a small titanium screw below the gum into the upper or lower jawbones which can then secure a new single tooth or set of teeth. Titanium is able to fuse with bone, allowing the screw to anchor and support new teeth so that they feel and function like natural teeth.
Overview of dental implants
Benefits of dental implants
Dental implant technology was first created about 30 years ago. Since arriving on the dental scene, dental implants have revolutionized how we replace missing teeth. Dentures and removable “false teeth” are no longer the only – or even the best – option for all patients. Instead, patients benefit from permanent tooth implants that look, feel, and function just like the real thing. The benefits of this are many. In fact, dental implants:
Make you look younger. At least in comparison to alternative dental treatments. People who are missing teeth often look older than they are. This happens because facial muscles no longer have the support provided by teeth and the root structure beneath.
Improve your smile. When you imagine a beautiful smile, you probably don’t picture missing teeth. Endearing (and natural) in children, missing teeth in adults does not have quite the same effect. Additionally, missing teeth create gaps, which in turn weakens the jawbone (due to bone loss) and can contribute to teeth shifting over time.
Make eating easier. Gaps in teeth can interfere with biting, chewing, and drinking; filled with implants, you can eat and drink like normal.
Are stable and long lasting. Unlike dentures, which are designed to be removed for cleaning, implants are permanent additions to your smile. They look and function just like normal teeth; in fact, it’s easy to forget which teeth are implants to begin with. Implants do not shift or come loose, nor do they need any special care above and beyond your normal oral hygiene routine.
Provide a solid foundation for additional dental treatments. One of the best things about dental implants is just how sturdy they are. As such, they provide an excellent anchor point for additional treatments, including dental crowns, bridges, and implant-supported dentures. See below for more on these.
Are discreet. Dental implants look just like your other, natural teeth. Unless you tell someone, it’s unlikely anyone will know or notice that one or more of your teeth are implants.
Provide a more comfortable alternative to dentures. Dental implants don’t need adjustments, and offer a permanent solution to missing teeth. Unlike dentures, they do not pop in and out. They simply become a part of your natural, healthy smile.
Types of dental implants and bridges in Vista, CA
Cracked or missing teeth? When it comes to implants, there are a variety of options to consider. Furthermore, what works for your neighbor might not work for you. The type and placement of implants needed is unique to you. As such, our dentists will work with you to determine if you’re a candidate for implants and come up with a treatment plan. Here are the main types of implants to be aware of:
Single-tooth dental implants. Often when someone thinks of implants, we think plural. But that’s not always the case. When only one tooth needs replacement, a single implant is all that is required. Single tooth implants fill the gap where a healthy tooth once was. In doing so, the implant helps preserve the jawbone and prevent shifting in surrounding teeth. Additionally, single-tooth dental implants provide a solid foundation for fixed or removable dentures (more on this below). Note that it is possible to have more than one single-tooth implant; the “singleness” of the implant refers to the area of the mouth its going. In other words, if the implant is only replacing one tooth, it’s a single-implant.
Dental implants with bridges. When a patient is missing several teeth in a single area, a dental bridge can be a good alternative to full or partial dentures. Dental bridges replace multiple teeth in a row (though in some cases they can span natural teeth), and are anchored by two or more single-tooth implants. Unlike dentures, bridges are permanently placed and treated like natural teeth. Though this means that not every tooth has a root, bridges are a durable and sturdier options than most dentures, which require a dental paste or adhesive to stay in place. Additionally, bridges look just like your normal teeth, meaning they are cosmetically appealing and discreet.
Implant supported dentures. Single-tooth implants can be used to anchor dentures in place, just like a dental bridge. The difference is that the denture can be removed for cleaning, whereas the implant-supported bridge stays in place. Implant supported dentures have the added benefit (over traditional dentures) of added stability. They are much less likely to shift when dentures are worn, especially when chewing. Dental implants can support both full and partial dentures as well as both fixed and removable options.
Frequently asked questions about dental implants
What are dental implants made of?
Our dental implants consist of:
- A titanium root inserted into your jawbone
- An abutment, or post, attached to the root
- A crown, or replacement tooth, attached to the abutment
How do I take care of my dental implants?
With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime. Taking care of a dental implant is easy, as implants don’t require any sort of special maintenance beyond your normal oral hygiene routine. In other words, you don’t change the way you brush, floss, speak, or eat. That said, dental implants do require the same routine professional cleanings and plaque removal as normal teeth, meaning regular exams and cleanings by a professional is strongly recommended. Bottom line: treat your dental implants as you would your other teeth. In fact, you might even forget you have them.
Are dental implants right for me?
Dental implants are a great option. However, a consultation is required to assess your unique needs and develop a treatment plan. That said, dental implants are generally a good fit for those who need to:
- Replace a missing tooth (or teeth)
- Make it easier to chew and speak naturally
- Prevent biting issues caused by teeth that are shifting
- Create a solid anchor point for a dental bridge, or other treatment
- Restore your natural smile
There are few health conditions or other factors that would prevent dental implants from being successful. Generally, implants are good fits for adult patients regardless of age. The only major qualifying factor is having enough jawbone to support the implant. If a tooth needs to be replaced, or was recently lost, but a patient is in otherwise good oral health, this is usually not a concern.
Does it take a long time to recover after dental implants are placed?
The primary recover period takes a few days. Generally, patients may want to take a day or two off work. During this time, patients are limited in what they can eat and drink. However, our state-of-the-art oral surgery techniques result in minimal discomfort and significantly reduce healing time. Implants are nearly fully settled after two weeks. They will continue to bond with the surrounding jaw bone for a few months, but functionally patients won’t notice any changes after that initial recover period.
Schedule a consultation for dental implants in Vista, CA
Ready to take the next step and learn more about dental implants? Call us to schedule a consultation, during which we’ll discuss options, treatment plan, and recovery time.