Dental Implant Specialists in Modesto

Dental Implant FAQs by Medesto's Implant Experts

What are dental implants?

A dental implant is one type of tooth replacement option that involves inserting a titanium anchor into the jaw bone to replace a missing root. Depending upon the number of missing teeth to be replaced, some people need more than one. A dental implant-supported restoration is the most “tooth-like” way to replace a missing tooth and has similar stability and retention to a natural tooth. Unlike complete and partial dentures, dental implant-supported restoration does not necessarily need to be removed by the patient. Unlike a tooth-supported bridge, dental implants do not require the adjacent teeth to be drilled down or support any additional chewing forces than nature designed them to support. For some people dental implant are better than teeth since it is impossible for them to have cavities, need root canals, or fracture.

The success rate for dental implants are extremely high and is due in part to the fact that root-form implants are made of a biocompatible material, titanium. Because titanium is accepted so well by the human body, it is also used for orthopedic implants, such as hip and knee replacements. Dental Implants have now become the standard for replacing older dentistry and missing teeth because they look and feel like your natural teeth and have a higher success rate than all other forms of tooth replacement. The initial cost is generally higher for an implant over other forms of tooth replacement, but the long term benefits easily outweigh the difference in additional cost. An investment in implant dentistry is an investment in overall health, appearance and well being, as it involves preserving the integrity of facial structures, as well as replacing missing teeth.

Am I a candidate for Dental Implant treatment?

If you are missing one or more teeth and in generally good health, you are a candidate for dental implant treatment. There are a few qualifying factors that need to be addressed:

  • Quality and quantity of available bone for implant placement.
  • Certain medical conditions, such as uncontrolled diabetes and smoking.

Overall, there are very few conditions that would keep someone from having implant treatment. Even people who have lost a significant amount of bone can qualify for dental implant treatment; although, an additional procedure(s) to reconstruct new bone or to create new bone may be necessary. Advances in this type of treatment have made it possible for some people who would not previously have been considered candidates to have successful implant treatment.

When should a tooth be extracted and replaced with a dental implant?

There are times when it makes sense to extract and replace it with a dental implant. If a tooth has a hopeless/nontreatable condition such as:

  • severe bone loss from gum disease
  • non-restorable cavity
  • non-treatable root canal problem
  • fractured root
  • any combination of these problems that makes the long-term outlook better to replace it than to spend resources on a questionable tooth

What makes a dental implant work?

While a dental implant looks like a small screw, the mechanical placement only holds the implant securely in place for nature to take over. Dental implants really are successful due to the biologic principle of “osseointegration.” This is a phenomenon whereby natural bone bonds to the titanium metal from which the implant is made. Titanium is a material that does not cause rejection or a reaction (like nickel). Modern dentistry and medical orthopedics have been revolutionized by titanium and osseointegration.

How long do Dental Implants last?

Ideally, a dental implant is meant to last a lifetime. This is dependent upon several factors including proper implant positioning, healthy supporting bone and surrounding gum tissue, properly designed crown and bite, as well as, adequate maintenance (home care and hygiene visits) on the part of the patient. As you can see, dental implant success is a team effort.

Dental implant treatment is one of the most successful procedures in the medical-dental field, with documented success rates over 95%. Dental implants have been around for over 40 years and have closely documented clinical research that demonstrates that dental implants will be successful throughout the lifetime of a patient. By comparison, research also demonstrates that the average tooth supported bridge (conventional dentistry) lasts from 7-10 years and that partials and dentures are functional for approximately 5 years before having to replace the appliance.

How Do I Clean My New Teeth?

Excellent home care around dental implants and there restorations is one of the most important factors for long-term success. Home care for a single implant and crown is similar to a natural tooth which includes tooth brushing and flossing. Implant supported bridges are also cleaned similar to tooth-supported bridges. Patients that have implant-supported dentures need to follow routine denture care as well as remove the dentures to brush and clean the bar or other attachments. Since home care can be more challenging for patients with an entire arch of teeth replaced, it is advised to remove these restorations annually for cleaning and maintenance.

How Many Dental Implants Do I Need?

A person who is missing one tooth needs one dental implant and one dental crown. A person who is missing multiple adjacent teeth requires at least two dental implants and either two crowns or a cemented bridge. People who are missing all of their teeth should see the section titled Full Ach Tooth Replacement.

How long will it take to complete treatment?

Total treatment time is case specific. For instance, one implant and crown may take three to four months from start to completion. More advanced cases may take over one year from beginning to end. The most important thing to remember is that bone is a slowing healing tissue. Shortcutting natural healing time can lead to complications.

How will my teeth look and feel?

Dental implants provide the appearance and function of natural teeth. Dental implants are the only option toreplace the natural tooth root which supports the health of the jaw bone and gum tissue. In turn this prevents jaw bone resorption which can lead to an unnatural smile and in some cases change the facial appearance.

Is my age a factor for Dental Implant treatment?

It is recommended that implant treatment begin after most facial growth is completed. For girls this is usually after 16 years old and for boy after 18 years old. On the other end of the age spectrum, the ability to place dental implants is more related to health than age.

Providing your overall health is good, there is really no age restriction. The desire to improve your quality of life is frankly a more important consideration than age. It is not unusual for people with dentures to upgrade to implant supported dentures. It provides a renewed self-confidence in their smile and speech and also provides renewed chewing stability, plus brings back foods into their life that were once off limit.

Is a dental implant procedure painful?

Most implant patients report that the discomfort is far less than they expected and is no more remarkable than having a root canal or having a tooth extracted. Of course, all patients are administered local anesthetic to numb the treatment area and can chose to be sedated or not. Afterward patients are prescribed the appropriate pain medication.

Can a dental implant work with existing dentures?

Every patient’s situation is unique. In a small percentage of cases we can modify an existing denture to accommodate the necessary attachments to connect the denture to the implants. Typically this is a question that needs to be answered by the restoring dentist.

They are a better choice for the money; however, some dentists still recommend traditional tooth supported bridges for patients due to their own comfort level, or when patients insist on having the immediate lowest possible fee for tooth replacement. Most dentists today detest the idea of grinding down perfectly healthy teeth to place a traditional bridge, and therefore, will almost always recommend dental implant treatment in these cases.

What is the cost of Dental Implant treatment?

The actual cost of dental implant treatment is based on a number of factors, such as the number of missing teeth being replaced, the type of implant-supported replacement teeth, and whether additional procedures are necessary to achieve the proper esthetic and functional result.

Is Dental Implant treatment covered by my insurance?

Dental insurance coverage of implant treatment depends on your individual policy. Dental benefits are determined by the amount an employer is willing to spend on the policy. Generally, dental policies cover basic routine preventive maintenance, basic care and emergencies. Most insurance plans only cover the basics with an annual maximum allowable benefit of $1,200-$2,500. Some insurance plans do not include dental implant coverage; however, often they will pay the same benefit they would cover for the lowest cost alternative treatment option (partials and dentures) and some of the diagnostic records, if a specific request is made for alternative benefits. You should review your both your dental insurance plan and your medical insurance plan. Medical coverage is very rare and Medicare does not cover implant treatment. All in all, it is best to assume that there is no medical insurance coverage available.

Will One Doctor Do Everything?

Usually a dental surgeon such as Dr. Filippi who is a surgical specialist places the dental implant(s) and does any necessary bone and gum reconstruction. Your general dentist or prosthodontist provides the temporary and final replacement teeth. Dr. Filippi works closely with your restorative dentist through the entire process from the examination to the final restoration.

Why Are Dental Implants The Best Option?

Unlike tooth-supported bridges, partial dentures and complete dentures which need to be replaced, dental implants can last a lifetime. A dental implant replaces the missing tooth root which prevents jaw bone collapse that occurs under tooth-supported bridges, partial dentures and complete dentures. This jaw bone resorption will cause a change to the smile and facial contours over time.

A bridge, once the common single tooth replacement method, requires the alteration of each neighboring healthy tooth, which is cut down and shaped to accept a crown. With dental implant treatment, there is no compromise to adjacent teeth. The lost root and crown is replaced leaving neighboring healthy teeth in place. Removable partials connect to healthy teeth by hooks. A partial hook connected to healthy teeth will create tooth stress and will loosen the healthy teeth over time. Complete dentures and partials have the added disadvantage of accelerating the bone resorption process, which, among other things, causes the appearance of premature aging. All in all, there is no better or natural way to replace a missing tooth than with a dental implant.

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If you are ready to have a bright and healthy smile, feel free stop by our office Monday through Thursday. You can also request an appointment or simply give us a call.

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