When teeth are missing, your appearance is far from the only thing to be affected. With every tooth lost, your risk for future tooth loss only goes up. Furthermore, once a tooth is removed, the root comes out with it, leaving you vulnerable to long-term oral health issues that Dr. Brice would like to help you avoid. The good news is he can replace your teeth with dental implants entirely in-house. Being an implant specialist means he can complete all steps of treatment, no matter how complex your case may be. To have your first consultation to discuss dental implants in San Antonio, TX, give his dental office a call today!
A dental implant is a small titanium post that can be inserted into the jawbone to replace a missing tooth’s roots. However, many people also use the words “dental implant” to refer to the entire replacement tooth, which includes the abutment and final restoration as well. The abutment sits on top of the implant post and fastens the restoration (a crown, bridge, or denture) firmly into place. Unlike other tooth replacement methods, dental implants are designed to integrate with existing bone and gum tissue, providing a long-term solution unlike any other. That’s why most dentists consider dental implants to be the new gold standard of tooth replacement!
Dental implant treatment is broken down into four distinct parts. This includes the planning stage where Dr. Brice confirms the number and type of teeth being replaced, the surgical portion where the implants are actually placed, the attachment of the abutment, and the placement of the permanent restoration. Thanks to Dr. Brice’s expertise, we perform each of these steps in-office for your convenience. Keep in mind that the length of your treatment will vary depending on the complexity of your needs. For example, needing a single implant placed will be far less time-consuming than placing a three-crown, implant-retained bridge.
The initial consultation you will schedule with Dr. Brice will require you to spend ample time allowing him to examine your smile as well as formulate a personalized treatment plan. From looking at your teeth to reviewing digital X-Rays and a 3D high-resolution image of your oral and facial structures captured by an advanced cone beam scanner, he will determine if you are a qualified candidate before moving forward with a designated treatment plan.
If you do not require a bone graft or another pre-implant dental procedure (i.e. tooth extraction), Dr. Brice will perform the implant surgical procedure in-house, allowing you to remain with a familiar team from start to finish. During this process, your implant dentist in San Antonio will make one or more small incisions in your gums before placing each implant into the jawbone. After closing the gum tissue, you will return home to recover for 3-6 months.
During your recovery phase at home, osseointegration must occur. This is the process in which your dental implants in San Antonio will fuse with the bone and surrounding tissues. You must allow enough time to pass before moving on to the next phase of treatment, which is the placement of your metal abutment(s). Once you are fully healed, you will have your abutments put into place, which are small connector appliances that fit on top of the implant and connect to the custom restoration, holding it in place.
After receiving your metal abutments, you will receive the final restoration. This can be a dental crown, implant bridge, or implant denture. The number of implants you receive will determine the type of restoration you will have created. Once it is ready for placement, Dr. Brice and our team will examine the prosthetic to ensure it looks natural before securing it into place, making sure it fits properly and is comfortable in your mouth.
There are many notable benefits to consider when it comes to dental implants. For one, they allow you to eat all the foods you couldn’t before thanks to their integration with existing bone tissue. Once they have fully integrated, the implant post will regularly stimulate your jawbone as you chew, providing you the biting strength you were used to having prior to your tooth loss. Eating tough or crunchy foods like steak and apples is simple and seamless once again, ensuring freedom you cannot expect from other tooth replacements.
Furthermore, dental implants last longer than both dental bridges and dentures, averaging about 25 years to a lifetime of use. They don’t require special care to maintain, do not need removal of existing tooth enamel to place (like dental bridges), and have an extremely high success rate (95 to 98 percent) when placed by a professional.
No matter how many teeth you’re missing, dental implants can rebuild your complete, confident smile. However, you may not be an ideal candidate for them initially. During you consultation, we’ll carefully inspect your mouth and jaw to see if there are any hidden problems that could potentially cause your dental implants to fail. Once any issues have been addressed, we’ll help you pick out the right kind of restoration for your smile.
You’ll typically need three things before moving ahead with your dental implant treatment. First, it’s important that you’re in good enough health to undergo minor surgery to have your dental implants place. Secondly, your mouth needs to be free of issues like cavities or gum disease, which can threaten the success of your dental implants. Thirdly, you’ll need to have adequate jawbone density to support your dental implants. If needed, we can help you get ready for your brand-new smile with preliminary treatments like periodontal therapy, tooth extractions, or bone grafting.
Once you’re ready for treatment, we’ll determine how many implants you’ll need and what type of restoration depending on the extent of your tooth loss.
Replacing individual teeth requires one implant post, a single abutment, and an implant-retained porcelain crown. Dr. Brice always uses tooth-colored restorations to ensure the most natural-looking tooth replacement possible. Once the implant has had time to fully heal inside of the jaw, the abutment and restoration can be placed.
Instead of removing enamel from existing teeth so they can hold a dental bridge, a pair of dental implants can be used to hold a three- or four-crown bridge. The crowns on either end of the bridge attach to the implants, while the crowns in the center fill the gap in your smile.
Whether you’re missing teeth on opposite sides of your mouth or an entire arch, a series of implants can be placed to hold a full or partial implant denture. We can even place a temporary denture the same day as your implant surgery through the All-on-4 treatment.
While the price of dental implants can be a bit intimidating at first, it’s important to keep in mind that your treatment is unlikely to cost the same as any other patient’s. For example, if you only intend to replace one tooth and don’t need preparatory treatments (i.e. bone grafts, gum therapy), then your treatment will be substantially less than someone who needs to replace multiple teeth or have additional care performed to make implants viable. Additionally, there are few tooth replacements more cost-effective than dental implants thanks to their longevity, functionality, reliability, and natural esthetics. This makes them a great long-term investment.
Dental implants remain one of the most versatile tooth replacement options available. Because they are capable of replacing one tooth as well as a full arch of teeth, this makes them a popular solution among individuals with missing teeth.
Knowing that part of your cost is determined based on the number of implants you will need, you will also discover that each stage of dental implant treatment incurs its own fee.
If you understand the benefits that come with this type of tooth replacement solution, you will agree that they are certainly worth the investment. Yes, the upfront cost is higher than traditional restorative methods; however, dental implants are more cost-effective because of their durability and longevity. When you consider how much money you could spend over the years having your prosthetic relined, readjusted, or replaced, it can end up costing you much more in the long run. Dental implants, with proper care, are designed to last a lifetime.
While this question is often asked by most patients, the answer is unfortunately not clear-cut. Every dental insurance company is different, which means you will need to speak with a representative to determine if you are covered for dental implants. If you are unsure of which questions to ask, our team will be happy to work on your behalf.
Even if your insurance company does not cover the cost of placing your implants, you may be surprised to learn that other aspects of treatment (i.e. consultation, restoration, or any pre-implant dental work) might be covered.
Dental implants in San Antonio are a great option for replacing missing teeth, but you want to be well informed before committing to them. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions that we get asked about dental implants. If you don’t see your question listed below, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’d be happy to provide you with the information you’re looking for!
Before the dental implant procedure, your mouth will be numbed with a local anesthetic. Your jawbone doesn’t have very many nerve endings, and you will likely be sedated, so the surgery shouldn’t cause you any pain. However, your mouth may be sore for a few days after the procedure. Take any prescribed or over-the-counter pain medication as directed. Using a cold compress can also help to numb some of the discomfort. If the discomfort worsens instead of improving after two to three days, give us a call and let us know what’s going on.
Dental implant failures are very uncommon, but they can occur for a couple of different reasons, including peri-implantitis and failed osseointegration. Peri-implantitis is a form of gum disease that develops from poor oral hygiene and can damage the bone and gums supporting the implant. Failed osseointegration takes place when the implant does not successfully fuse with the jawbone. Other causes of dental implant failure include bruxism, tobacco use, poor oral hygiene, certain medications, radiation to the head and neck, and certain health conditions. Thankfully, minimizing your risk of dental implant failure is easy! Make sure to practice great oral hygiene and protect your teeth from bad habits. If you begin to notice redness, swelling, looseness, or pain coming from your dental implant, give us a call right away so we can help.
There is no upper age limit of dental implants once your jawbone is fully developed. Your ability to get dental implants depends on the health of your gums, jaw, and lifestyle choices. Certain medications and medical issues can also affect your ability to get dental implants. Seniors may be more likely to have other health problems that complicate dental implant treatment, but there isn’t an age that is “too old” to get implants.
Once the dental implants are placed in the jawbone and heal, they should feel just like your natural teeth. Because the implants don’t have any nerve endings, any sensations that you feel in the area are coming from the gums that surround the implants.
A bone graft involves transplanting a piece of bone tissue to the jawbone in order to strengthen it so it can accommodate dental implants. The jawbone often atrophies after teeth have been lost because the tooth’s roots no longer stimulate it when chewing or biting. During your initial consultation, detailed scans will be taken of your jaw area in order to determine whether or not you’ll need a bone graft before getting dental implants.
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