Dental Implants

If you lose one or more teeth due to periodontal disease, or another cause, there is hope. Dental implants are changing the way people live! They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything and can smile with confidence, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.

What are Dental Implants?

The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts that protrude through the gums are then attached to the implant. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth. Dental Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.

It is important that you understand that the implants do not come with a tooth attached. Your general dentist will be placing a tooth on the implant. We work as a team to help you get back your smile!

Evaluation

If, like many others, you feel implant dentistry is the choice for you, we ask that you undergo a dental/radiographic examination and health history. During these consultation visits, Dr. Alvarenga will address your specific needs and considerations.

We have an on-site Cone Bean CT scanning unit that allows us to take 3D x-rays of your jaws. Planning software  assures very accurate placement of the implant. This is called Computer Guided Implant Placement.

Your questions and concerns are important to us and our team will work with you and your dentist very closely to help make your procedure a success. We will also discuss fees and insurance at this time. There are many types of insurance plans, and coverage for implants is varied. We will be happy to assist you in obtaining any benefits to which you may be entitled.

The Surgical Procedure

For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two steps. First, implants are placed in your jawbone. Local anesthetic (i.i.-Novocaine) is always used and in office sedation is available if you like. Healing time following surgery varies from person to person and is based on a variety of factors, such as hardness of bone. In some cases, implants may be restored immediately after they are placed.

For the first one to six months following the surgery, dental implants are at or just beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone. You should be able to wear a temporary dentures or some other form of temporary tooth replacement. Unless the area doesn’t show we never expect you to leave the office without some form of tooth replacement! You will be on a soft diet for 7 to 10 days and may need to take some time off from work (usually a day or so). You should also reduce physical (aerobic) activity for 7 to 10 days.

After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Dr. Alvarenga may have to uncover the implants and attach a small healing collar. After two weeks your general dentist will be able to start making your new teeth. A new very accurate impression will be taken by your restorative dentist. Then posts or attachments can be connected to the implants. The teeth replacements are then made over the posts or attachments. The entire procedure usually takes six to eight months. Most patients do not experience any significant disruption in their daily life.

Bone Grafting

Occasionally there is not enough bone to place a dental implant. In most cases this bone can be replaced with grafting. The bone used for grafting can come from another place in your mouth, from a human donor or from a cow. The best results for bone grafting seem to come from using a combination of all of these sources of bone. Of course, sedation is available during bone grafting.

Patients with an active dental infection, have uncontrolled Diabetes or have a condition or take medication that reduces their immunity may not be a good candidate for bone grafting. Dr. Alvarenga is an expert in bone grafting and has been performing this surgery for 30 years!

What Types of Prosthesis are Available?

A single prosthesis (crown) is used to replace one missing tooth. A partial prosthesis (fixed bridge) can replace two or more teeth and may require only two or three implants. A complete dental prosthesis (fixed bridge) replaces all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw. This usually requires the placement of at least six implants. Sometimes two to four implants can be used to help secure and better anchor an existing removable denture.

As Dr. Alvarenga to outline all of your implant options. There may be one that works for you!

Dr. Alvarenga performs in-office dental implant surgery in a hospital-style operating suite, thus optimizing the level of sterility. Dr. Alvarenga has received extensive training in Dental Implantology and Sedation.