Missing Teeth? Have You Ever Wondered...
- What it would be like to smile with confidence again?
- What it would be like to eat your favorite foods again without pain or embarrassment?
- What it would be like to look 10 or even 20 years younger?
With dental implants from 7to7 Dental & Orthodontics in San Antonio, all these things are possible!
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are small titanium cylinders that are inserted into the jaw, mimicking the root structure of the natural tooth. A crown is then anchored to the implant that looks, feels & functions like a natural tooth. Unlike other tooth-replacement options, implants recreate the structure of a natural tooth, can stop bone loss, do not affect adjacent healthy teeth & restore your biting & chewing power.
Dental implants can last a lifetime & will look & feel like your own teeth. Unlike a bridge, which requires that surrounding teeth be ground down, the implant will not affect any other teeth or deteriorate the jawbone. Over time, your gums & jawbone will integrate with the implant, creating a more natural look than with bridges, which can cause gums to recede. Implants are also a secure, comfortable & hassle-free alternative to traditional dentures. Whether you need a single implant or an entire mouthful, the result is both cosmetic & practical, allowing you to eat your favorite foods & smile with confidence again.
If you’re interested in dental implants to replace your missing teeth, the first step is scheduling a consultation visit with our doctors. There are health conditions & risk factors to take into account, so not everyone is an ideal candidate for dental implants. During your consultation, the doctor will review your oral health & clearly explain your best option for restoring your smile.
Call us today to book your consultation!
Dental implants are man-made replacements for natural teeth. The implants themselves are artificial tooth roots made from titanium & are anchored in the gum & jawbone. The implant’s screw-like shape helps it stay in place by providing more surface area for your bone to grow into, a process called osseointegration. Replacement teeth, referred to as crowns, are then permanently secured to these metal implants. They can improve your appearance, boost your self-confidence & allow you to speak with greater clarity.
Because implanted teeth are fixed in the mouth—rather than being removable, like dentures—they allow a return to the comfort & function of natural teeth. Increased chewing ability means you can enjoy more nutritious foods, contributing to your overall health & well being. Dental implants can help prevent future dental problems, especially the gradual bone loss in the jaw associated with missing teeth.
In addition to being beneficial to your nutrition, no longer being restricted from eating certain foods will certainly improve your mood! You’ll be able to enjoy all the same foods that those with natural teeth enjoy.
Of course, you may be even more excited about your beautiful smile. If you’ve had missing teeth or poor-fitting dentures, chances are you haven’t been confident in your smile for a while. You may have even been hiding it behind your hand or avoiding smiling completely. Many patients who have gotten dental implants report a spike in confidence & the urge to smile a lot, just because they can!
Many implant patients also experience an improvement in facial aesthetics. Your new implants mean your jaws will align properly, giving your face a more balanced & often more youthful appearance.
Depending on your health condition & the type & number of implants you need, the implant procedure can take a day or a total of a few months.
In most cases when only one or a few implants are being placed, the first phase of treatment involves placing the implant in the bone of the jaw & allowing the bone to heal around it. The procedure itself takes 1-2 hours & the healing time can be 3-6 months. Once the dentist is satisfied that the implant is securely healed in place, the crown (i.e. the artificial tooth) will be attached to the implant. This takes one or two visits, depending on the situation.
For patients who are replacing all of their teeth at once, getting implants & prosthetic teeth placed in a single day is possible, though the overall healing time is usually about the same (3 months).
When properly taken care of just like natural teeth, dental implants should last a lifetime. In order to make sure your implants last, it’s important to follow all of the post-procedure instructions from your dentist. If you experience any pain or discomfort for an unusually long time after your procedure, please contact us right away.
Not all patients are eligible for dental implants. Generally, you must be in good general & oral health to be a candidate for implants. Those who are undergoing cancer treatment, have uncontrolled diabetes or uncontrolled periodontal (gum) disease, may not be eligible for dental implants. These conditions can affect whether the dental implant can be properly secured into the bone of your jaw, & can also affect post-operative outcomes. In creating your dental implant treatment plan, the dentist will assess all of the relevant health factors & advise you accordingly.
Those who may not be eligible for standard implants due to bone loss may be eligible for mini implants. Mini implants are smaller than standard implants so they don’t need as much space in the bone to be installed. Mini implants are used to secure an advanced kind of dentures or partial dentures. These dentures are much more secure than standard dentures because they clip on to the mini implants instead of being attached by adhesives. Patients who have implant-supported dentures are often able to eat many foods that they might not have been able to with standard dentures.
You care for your implants just as you would care for natural teeth: by brushing them for two minutes twice a day or after meals, & by flossing daily. With proper oral hygiene, your implants should give you a healthy smile that lasts the rest of your life.
Because dental implants are a permanent solution & don’t need to be adjusted, refitted, or replaced, they are often a more cost effective in the long run than bridges or dentures. At a minimum, you will usually pay at least several thousand dollars for dental implants, but costs vary greatly depending on the specifics of your dental condition & the dental plan we are recommending. We understand that many patients have concerns about the cost of dental implants, & while the initial cost may seem high, having a permanent replacement for your teeth may ultimately mean you pay less for dental care in the future. Dental implants are a great investment in the long-term health of your smile. If you are interested in dental implants but have concerns about the cost, we encourage you to talk to us about your financial options.
The main way implants are better than bridges for replacing missing teeth is they don’t rely on attaching to surrounding healthy teeth in order to stay in place. Because bridges are attached to surrounding teeth, they require these healthy teeth to be reshaped in order to replace the missing tooth between them. Bridges can also put you at a higher risk of tooth decay in the supporting teeth, while a standalone implant does not.
The biggest advantage implants have over dentures is that they’re permanent. Unlike removable dentures or partial dentures, implants do not involve messy adhesives or false teeth getting in the way of speech or eating. Also, because they’re permanent, implants will always be a perfect fit, unlike dentures which may need to be refitted or replaced over time.
If you’ve lost teeth from decay, injury or periodontal (gum) disease, dentures are the solution. Whether you need partial or full dentures, they’re essential not only to improve the look of your smile but also your oral health. In addition to allowing you to eat as if you had never lost your teeth, dentures also protect against facial sagging that would otherwise occur & cause a more aged appearance. Dentures can also improve your speech. Denture maintenance combined with a regular regimen of proper brushing can guarantee you’ll lead a more comfortable & healthy life.
Please call us at 7to7 Dental & Orthodontics today to discuss if dentures are the right option for you!