San Antonio Dentist

Dental ImplantsSan Antonio, TX

There is an increasing number of people who are opting for dental implants when it is time to replace a missing tooth or teeth. The durability and longevity of dental implants are two of many reasons that implants are popular with those who have lost a natural tooth.

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Why people choose dental implants

While there are other prosthetics like dentures, bridges and a variety of hybrid devices that can be used to replace missing teeth, dental implants are the most similar to real teeth. The implant is inserted directly into the patient's jawbone so it serves as a natural tooth root. This prevents bone tissue degeneration, which is one of the negative consequences of losing a tooth. Other prosthetics like dentures and bridges do not address this bone tissue loss.

Some dentists will even go a step further and argue that implants are even better than real teeth. The crown placed on the implant is typically made out of ceramics or porcelain, and these substances are not susceptible to decay. They are also highly resistant to stains, so it is actually easier to keep an implant looking pearly white than a real tooth.

Reasons that people choose dental implants over other prosthetics include:

  • The device can last a lifetime with good oral care
  • They prevent jawbone tissue deterioration
  • They do not affect neighboring teeth
  • They do not need any special care
  • They look just like natural teeth
  • The wearer does not have to deal with diet restrictions
  • They feel like a real tooth. No discomfort or constant shifting

  • The rates of successful implant installation are extremely high at 98 percent.

    Who is eligible for dental implants

    A patient needs to be healthy enough for oral surgery to be eligible for dental implants. Their gums should be healthy and their jaw should have enough bone tissue to firmly hold the implant in place. The person's overall oral health should be good.

    People who have chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes or have recently undergone radiation around their neck/head area will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

    Generally speaking, dental implants are a great option if the patient:

  • Has a fully developed jaw
  • Has adequate jawbone tissue to hold the implants in place
  • Has a healthy mouth
  • Has a missing tooth or teeth
  • Does not have any health issues that inhibit healing
  • Has struggled with dentures
  • Wants a more comfortable solution that does not restrict speech
  • Does not smoke or use tobacco products
  • Is ready to commit up to 9 months for the process
  • Check out what others are saying about our Dental Implant services on Yelp: Dental Implants San Antonio

    What to expect when getting implants

    Once the patient has been deemed eligible for the procedure, the dentist will come up with a personalized treatment plan that addresses their needs. For example, a patient with healthy amounts of jawbone tissue can jump right to the surgical installation of the implant. A person who does not have the required bone tissue would need bone grafts. A patient who gets bone grafts will need up to three months to recover before the procedure can proceed.

    1. Implant insertion

    The oral surgeon starts by making an incision into the patient's gums. A hole is drilled into the jawbone and the implant is placed into it until it fits snugly. The implant is normally a titanium rod or screw. It can be made out of other materials like zirconium.

    The incision made to the patient's gums is stitched back up to complete the first part of the procedure. The patient is sent back home to recover. As the site heals, jawbone tissue grows around the implant. This anchors the implant into position—similar to real teeth roots. The process is called osseointegration, and it can take anywhere between 6 to 12 weeks.

    Depending on how healthy the patient's jawbone is and the location of the tooth that is being replaced, the dentist might decide to attach a crown the same day the implant is installed.

    2. Attaching the abutment and crown

    Once the implant has fused with the patient's jawbone, a small connector is attached to the implant. This is called an abutment and it is used to hold a crown that serves as an artificial tooth.

    The dentist will take an impression of the patient's mouth or use digital imaging to create a model. The crown that fits on the implant is created with this model. The crown will be matched with the color of the patient's real teeth to ensure it fits in when installed.

    As was mentioned earlier, crowns are not the only prosthetics dental implants can serve as a foundation for. They can also serve as a base for dentures or bridges. This is an option that is often the most cost-effective for those who have lost most of their real teeth since it allows them to enjoy the benefits that come with implants at a much more affordable price.

    Recovering from implant surgery

    Regardless of how many stages it takes to complete the process, the patient should expect some discomfort afterward. This typically includes:

  • Bruised gums and skin
  • A swollen face and gums
  • Pain originating from or around the device

  • The patient might be prescribed antibiotics and pain medication after the surgical insertion of the implant to prevent infection and alleviate discomfort. The discomfort typically subsides after a few days. Patients should contact their dentist if the pain becomes worse in the days following the surgery. The patient should be prepared to consume only soft foods while they recover from the surgery. Munching on hard foods can aggravate the surgical site.

    Get a solution that lasts a lifetime

    While dentures and bridges are also effective tooth replacement options, they do not provide as many benefits as implants. Both of these devices come with tiring cleaning requirements that can add 30 minutes to your bedtime routine. With implants, you get to forget you ever lost a tooth. The prosthetic mimics the behavior of a real tooth, so you are free to live your life like you never lost a tooth in the first place.