Dental Implants

If you lose one or more teeth due to periodontal disease, tooth decay or trauma you now have a “second chance!”  Dental Implants have completely changed dentistry!  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?

A Dental Implant is a tiny titanium post that is surgically inserted into the jawbone where tooth or teeth are missing. Once the bone around the implant has healed, your regular dentist can place a tooth on the Dental Implant.  We work as a team to help you get back your smile!

The surgery can be performed comfortably with local anesthetic and, if desired, sedation. 

 Replacing a Single Tooth with a Single Implant

            Implant vs, A Fixed Bridge


The first step, before the Dental Implant is placed, is to develop a careful plan. Modern Dental Implant surgery has come a long way since 1987, when Dr. Alvarenga placed his first Dental Implant!

We are now in well into the era of “Computer Guided Implant Placement.” The first visit is an “Implant Work-up” where we evaluate the area visually and take a mold of your teeth to make a “Radiographic Guide.” You wear this comfortable “Radiographic guide”, at the next visit, for the eight  to ten seconds while we take a special x-ray called a Cone Beam Scan. After the Scan, you sit down with Dr. Alvarenga and plan the placement of the Dental Implant using a Planning Software. Once the placement of the Dental implant is completed we send that information to a company in California (Anatomage) and they generate a very accurate Surgical Guide.

The Surgical Guide not only allows for extremely accurate placement of the Dental Implant, it also helps us avoid hitting and damaging vital structures such as nerves and the Maxillary Sinus. 

Once you witness the planning process for yourself you will wonder how Dental Implants were placed before this wonderful technology came along!

The Surgical Procedure

With a well made surgical guide, the surgical placement of the Dental Implant is greatly simplified. After the local anesthetic is applied and, if requested, sedation is delivered, The area is prepared for the placement of the Dental Implant. Sometimes a gum flap is raised and sometimes the Dental Implant can be inserted directly through the gums. 

In some cases, bone grafting is performed during the Dental Implant placement to make the Dental  Implant more stable.

The  Dental Implant and surrounding bone is then allowed to heal. In many cases, a tooth can be placed on the Dental Implant after 8 weeks! Sometimes, especially if grafting was performed, it takes longer.

Once the Dental Implant is inserted the top of the Dental Implant may be visible through the gums or it may be buried under the gums. If the implant is buried, a second much simpler surgery is need to uncover it. Again, the more we have to do, the longer the healing time. Your should maintain 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.

Temporary Tooth Replacement

By the way, we would never expect you to leave our office with a gap in your mouth! In fact and in most cases,some form of temporary tooth replacement was made by your regular dentist before the tooth was extracted.