What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are the safest, most effective, and longest-lasting choice to replace missing teeth or to stabilize dentures. Over the years they’ve become a hugely popular alternative to traditional tooth replacement procedures, and that’s no accident. Getting dental implants means restoring complete functionality to your mouth, giving you a bright, confident smile while letting you eat chewy, sticky, or stringy foods without missing a beat. Dental implants are also a reliable and long-lasting solution – with a success rate of over 95%, they’re one of the safest and most proven procedures in all of dental medicine. So, whether you’re missing one tooth, a few teeth, or all your teeth, dental implants can permanently solve your oral problems.
How do Dental Implants Work?
Placing the Implant Screw
Most implants involve a titanium screw being embedded into the jawbone. While that might sound frightening, it's a surprisingly gentle process - some patients say it's even easier than having a tooth removed! Most people have no problem getting a dental implant with just local anesthetic, but here at LA Dental Clinic we do offer sedation for patients who would prefer to be asleep during the procedure.
Letting the Jawbone Attach to the Screw
Once the titanium screw is placed, the bone will fuse with it, growing around the screw and holding it in place just like the roots of a natural tooth. This implant integration process is completely painless - the body will simply grow bone around the implant until it's secure.
Connecting the Abutment to the Screw
After the titanium screw is set into the patient's jawbone, a connecting piece - called an abutment - is attached to the implant screw. This is how the visible "tooth" part of the implant is securely attached to the jawbone.
Setting the Restorative Crown
The final step is to cover it with a restorative tooth called a crown. The whole implant process can take up to 6 months or it can be done in one day - it all depends on the philosophy of the dentist and the needs of the patient receiving the implant.
Why Choose Dental Implants?
Dental implants haven’t become so popular by accident – they’re genuinely a convenient and effective solution for replacing lost teeth. Here are some of the reasons why people love their dental implants:
They look and function like natural teeth
Dental implants sit securely in the mouth and provide all the utility that a natural tooth would. That means being able to eat and speak normally with no other frustrating inconveniences.
They're sturdy and designed to last for a lifetime
With their robust materials and full integration into the jawbone, dental implants are designed to create a permanent and reliable bond that will last for many years of rigorous daily use.
They help to preserve the jawbone
With missing teeth, bone loss will occur in the jaw over time. Dental implants promote healthy bone density and help to preserve a person's jawbone and overall facial structure as they age.
They don't damage surrounding teeth
Unlike dental bridges, dental implants are fused with the jawbone and don't rely on surrounding teeth for support, so they're better for a person's long-term oral health.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dental Implants
If you’re missing one or more teeth, but otherwise have healthy gums and overall good oral health, you’re probably a good candidate for dental implants.
A dental implant and a crown can replace a missing tooth in a very natural way. If you’re missing several teeth, you may want to consider dental implants with a bridge as a way to hold loose dentures in place more securely.
Even if you’re already wearing dentures, adding two or four dental implants can make the dentures (especially lower dentures) substantially tighter so that they won’t move around while you’re eating or speaking.
Even if you have a medical condition or need to take medication, you can usually still get implants. However, there are still some things to keep in mind, such as:
Since the dental implant has to be anchored into the gum tissue and jawbone, people who have extensive gingivitis or gum disease have to receive treatment before their dental implant procedure. If the gum disease is especially severe, bone augmentation or bone replacement might be necessary.
The dental implant procedure involves cutting out gum tissue as well as drilling into the jawbones. That’s why a person’s ability to heal properly is part of the criteria for selecting good candidates for dental implants. For example, individuals with a weakened immune system (i.e. those with HIV or taking immunosuppressants) may struggle to heal their wounds after the procedure, which can lead to higher likelihood of infection.
The lifestyle of some patients may also make it more difficult for them to recover from a dental implant procedure. People who regularly drink a lot of alcohol or smoke heavily, for example, could have weakened immune systems that would slow down the recovery process.
People who are being medicated for strokes and high blood pressure may be taking anticoagulants, which can reduce the body’s natural ability to stop bleeding. That’s why it’s very important for patients who are undergoing the dental implant procedure to let their dentist know what medications they’re taking.
People with hypertension or haemophilia are susceptible to bleeding, so any invasive procedure could be potentially fatal. In these cases, special arrangement must be made for the procedure to be performed in a facility where emergency treatments are readily available.
Generally, dental implants range between $3000 and $5000. Since dentists are always competing to get more patients into their offices, price estimates can vary due to promotions or even different billing practices. Some clinics might include all related procedures – like adding bone to the area before the implant procedure – in their price estimate, while others might bill patients separately for each procedure.
At LA Dental Clinic, our price for an implant is $3750, but our advice is always that patients should consult with several dental service providers and find one that they’re comfortable with and can trust.
Dental implants are not all the same!
For example, there are one-piece and two-piece implants, and different kinds of implant materials like metal or ceramic, but they all work to provide you with teeth that are both structurally supportive and functionally effective. In some cases, implants are used as part of other tooth-replacement procedures too, like implant-supported bridges or implant-supported dentures.
The two types of implants that you’re likely to find at your local dental implant specialist are:
- Endosteal Implants
This is the most common type of dental implant used today, involving a small supporting structure being placed into the jaw bone then being topped with a dental crown. Endosteal implants are also frequently used with patients who are receiving removable dentures and bridges.
- Subperiosteal Implants
This type of implant is placed on the jaw and uses a mesh of metals embedded just below the gums to firmly hold it in place. Subperiosteal implants are normally recommended for patients whose bone heights are short, but they’re also widely used in patients who can’t put on conventional dentures.
The amount of time required for an implant to become fully integrated into the bone is a hotly debated topic. As a result, there’s a lot of variation in the amount of time that practitioners set aside for the implant to heal before placing a restoration on it.
In general, practitioners allow 2–6 months for healing, but some studies show that early placement of a crown on an implant may not increase the risk of complications. Here at LA Dental, we always choose to be cautious and give our patients plenty of time to heal.
Our Approach to Dental Implants
Understand Your Needs
Getting dental implants at LA Dental Clinic begins with a consultation, and that's not just a formality - we want to know how to approach each patient's specific case so that we're able to carry out a procedure that's both successful and comfortable. From medical needs to implant fitting, we work to make sure we cover every detail.
Prepare and Place Your Implant
After the consultation and assessment process has finished and the day of the procedure arrives, we begin by preparing the implant site with speed-regulated precision drills which have been designed to prevent burning or pressure-related bone damage. Once the site is fully prepared, we proceed to place the titanium implant screw. The total procedure time varies depending on the patient's needs and where the implant is being placed in their mouth, but a typical procedure takes approximately one to two hours.
Put the Finishing Touches on Your New Smile
Following the initial placement, it's a matter of waiting for the bone to grow onto the surface of the implant and fully integrate it into the jaw. We always evaluate our patients carefully to ensure that their implant screw is properly set before the dental crown is attached. It's essential that the crown be attached to a solid foundation, even if that means waiting a little bit longer.
See the Change for Yourself
Dental implants have a remarkable effect on a person’s appearance. The before and after photos below provide a striking example of how dental implants can be effectively used to reconstruct a patient’s teeth and give them a smile that they can show off with confidence.
Get a Consultation Now at LA Dental Clinic!
Here at LA Dental, we know that losing teeth can be a life-altering experience, and we’ve seen first-hand how restoring a person’s smile can improve their quality of life in so many meaningful ways. That’s why, for us, placing dental implants isn’t just about performing a procedure – it’s about giving our patients the confidence to smile again and live life with the ability to eat and speak freely.
If you’re ready to say goodbye to the self-consciousness and inconvenience that come with missing teeth or loose dentures, don’t wait to take the next step. With our unwavering commitment to safety and patient comfort, you can be sure that we’ll always go the extra mile to ensure that you receive a beautiful, natural-looking smile that will last a lifetime.