Decayed, broken, or missing teeth can really wreck your confidence. In La Jolla, California, Robert A. Rees, DDS, is passionate about personalized and comprehensive dental care and offers a wide range of Solutions to make over your smile, including Dental Implants — the best tooth-replacement option.
In this blog, we explain more about this permanent restoration solution.
How Your Teeth Affect Your Oral Health
When you lose a tooth, it’s natural to focus on how it negatively affects your smile, but your teeth do much more than affect your appearance. They also play a critical role in your oral health.
Each tooth has two significant areas. The visible portion above your gumline — the crown — provides stability to your surrounding teeth. The second part beneath your gumline — the root — supports the crown and stimulates bone growth in your jaw.
Losing even a single tooth can undermine the stability and structure of your mouth and increase your chances of developing a range of dental problems, including:
- Shifting teeth
- Excessive wear on your remaining teeth
- Bite problems
- Difficulty chewing and getting nutrition
- Changes in your facial structure
- Trouble speaking clearly
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, such as jaw pain and chronic headaches
- Bone loss in your jaw
Understanding Dental Implants
At our state-of-the-art clinic in La Jolla, we offer several solutions to replace missing teeth, such as using traditional bridges or dentures. But these options only address the replacement of the crown above your gumline. A dental implant also replaces the root, making it a comprehensive solution.
The Three Elements Of Dental Implants
A dental implant has three parts: The implant is a metal post that acts as your new artificial tooth root. The abutment is a tiny connector placed on top of the implant to affix the crown. The crown is your shiny, new custom-made tooth, which is the only thing seen above the gumline.
What To Expect When You Get A Dental Implant
During your initial consultation, we confirm that dental implant surgery is a good option for you. This typically involves completing an oral exam of your mouth and teeth, reviewing your medical and dental history, and taking X-rays to check your jawbone health.
It usually takes 3-6 months for the root to fully fuse with the jawbone. Once the fusion is complete, Dr. Rees places the abutment on top of your implant and then affixes your new artificial tooth to the abutment.
Dental implants look, feel, and function just like your natural teeth. You care for dental implants by brushing, flossing, and coming in for professional teeth cleanings twice a year.
If you need dental implants in La Jolla, Book An Appointment with Robert A. Rees, DDS. You can call our office or use our convenient online booking tool today.
How Does The Anchor Stay In Place?
The anchor is made of a very tough and durable material called titanium. Once the implant is inserted into your jaw, a process called osseointegration takes place where the bone that surrounds the implant begins to fuse to the anchor which strengthens it even further. It is not until this has happened that the replacement tooth will be fitted, but once in place, your new implant will be as secure as a regular tooth.
Will My Implant Be Noticeable?
One of the biggest reasons that people choose implants is their subtlety. The only visible part of your implant is the replacement tooth which will be color-matched so that it is the same as your existing teeth. And since it is a permanent fixture, you can eat and drink as normal as there is no need for unsightly denture removal which means that no one needs to know you have a dental implant unless you tell them.
How Successful Is The Procedure?
Dental implants have the highest success rate of any implanted surgical device at around 98%. However, a robust oral hygiene routine is crucial to ensuring their results for the long-term.
Will It Hurt?
For many people, the idea of having a metal screw inserted into their jaw is absolutely terrifying. However, since anesthesia is used during the procedure, you shouldn’t feel any pain. Some swelling and soreness afterward is fairly common, but over the counter pain relief is normally sufficient to alleviate any discomfort and these symptoms will usually dissipate by the next day.
I Have More Than One Missing Tooth, Can I Still Have Implants?
If you have a single tooth missing, then you will need an implant to support it. However, if you have multiple teeth missing, it is possible for two or more implants to support more than one tooth each in what is known as an implant-supported bridge. Your dentist will be able to advise you if this is a viable option for your personal dental requirements.
How Long Does The Treatment Take?
The length of the treatment depends on the extent of the work that is needed, but you can expect to make several visits to your dentist’s office over the course of a six-month period. Your dentist will be able to give you a more accurate treatment timeline based on your personal dental requirements.
Am I A Suitable Candidate For Dental Implants?
Although dental implants have an extremely high success rate, that does not mean that they are right for every patient. If you are considering dental implants, you will need to have a consultation with your dentist who will assess your candidacy based on your individual health and dental requirements. The ideal candidate will:
- Have great general and oral health
- Have sufficient bone in their jaw to support the implant
- Have healthy gums
- Be committed to taking very good care of their teeth and gums
People who may not be suitable candidates for implants include:
- Heavy smokers
- Pregnant women
- Young people whose jawbones are still developing
- Those with immune conditions
- Those with uncontrolled diabetes
- Alcohol or substance abusers
- People who have received a high dose of radiation to the head or neck
(for example, radiotherapy for cancer)
- People who have a suppressed immune system
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
Dental implants are created uniquely to fit the specific requirements of the patient and as such, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ cost. While they may seem like an expensive option at first, over time implants are usually a more cost-effective and reliable solution to missing teeth.
You may find that your dental insurance policy covers part of the cost of your treatment, or that you can get additional coverage. We highly recommend that you speak with your dental insurance provider to see what options are available to you as well as speak with your dentist as many dentists are able to offer payment plans through third-party providers.