A missing tooth not only affects a person’s appearance but can also cause form and function issues where the person can’t chew and eat the foods he or she desires. To alleviate these problems, San Diego, CA cosmetic dentists, Dr. Langenbach and Dr. Thomas, use single tooth dental implants. The implants are actually titanium roots that are surgically inserted into the jaw, which causes osseointegration. This is the process where the bone fuses with the implant. After the implant, an abutment will be screwed into and a restoration, such as a crown, will be placed to form a natural-looking tooth. Best of all, the implant prevents bone loss, tooth movement, and more extensive issues related to missing teeth.
“Doctors Longenbach and Thomas have been the dentists for our extended family for many years. We wouldn’t think about going anywhere else. They do great work and I like their flexible hours.”
– D. / Demandforce / Dec 23, 2016
WHAT TO EXPECT
Prior to the dental implant procedure, a thorough examination will be conducted. The dentist will examine the teeth and jawbone to assess whether the gums are healthy enough and if the patient has enough bone to properly support an implant. X-rays will be taken to help the dentist develop impressions of the mouth to ensure replacement teeth fit accurately and naturally. A local anesthetic can be given prior to the implant to minimize pain and discomfort. The dentist will place the small titanium post implant into the missing tooth’s bone socket. During the course of the jawbone healing, it will grow around the implant.
The jawbone healing process can take 3 – 6 months as it lays a strong foundation for the replacement tooth to be placed. At this time, a small abutment, or connector post, is attached to the implant so that a new tooth, called a crown, can be placed. Other replacement options, such as bridges or dentures, can be used as well. The replacement will match the color, shape, and size of the patient’s natural teeth to give it a consistent look.
TEMPORARY VS. PERMANENT
Once the dental implant is set, a patient has the option of temporary or permanent replacement teeth. Permanent teeth such as crowns and bridges are fixed into place. Some patients may opt for removable dentures that can be moved as needed. The dentist will work with the patient in order to determine the best option.
After the dental implants are installed, most patients report little to no pain. If there is any soreness, an over-the-counter pain medication can be taken. It is important for a patient to practice good oral hygiene after the procedure. This includes regularly brushing, flossing, and rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash. It’s also important to keep up with regular dental appointments. If a patient practices proper oral hygiene and treats the implant with care, a dental implant is extremely durable and should last for a lifetime. In some instances, the replacement teeth may deteriorate due to wear and tear and may need to be replaced.
The cost of dental implants can vary widely depending on the number of teeth being replaced and the complexity of the case. For the most part, dental implants can cost $1,000 – $3,000. Insurance usually doesn’t cover implants, but if the implants are deemed medically necessary, a patient’s insurance plan might cover some of the costs.
REPLACE AND RESTORE YOUR SMILE
If you want to be proud of your smile again, dental implants can fill in missing teeth for a more attractive appearance. Anyone who has missing teeth is encouraged to call our office today to make a consultation, and find out about their dental implant options.