You may have seen TV commercials about implants. ‘They are great!’ ‘They guarantee you a beautiful smile!’ Although these statements are true, there are still plenty of things to think about when deciding whether or not to have them, and when you should get them.

In this article, we will share with you everything we know about dental implants. We will list for you their benefits, as well as common myths about them. We will also explain to you why and when you should get them. Then, we will give you a comprehensive explanation as to how the implant insertion procedure is carried out.

In a nutshell, we will answer all the questions you may have about dental implants. No convincing, only the facts. Just the way a person whom you trust would tell you.

If, after reading this article, you will still have more questions about dental implants, we invite you to contact us at Encino Dental Implant for help. You can also visit our local Encino dental office and receive a free consultation.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants were first invented in 1952 by Per-Ingvar Branemark. Branemark was a renowned Swedish orthopedic surgeon.

Currently, dental implants are deemed to be the best options to replace missing teeth. Generally, a dental implant can be defined as an artificial fixture, which is placed inside your jaw bone, and it permanently fuses with it. Technically, this artificial fixture replaces your missing tooth.

Dental implants mimic natural teeth. They have great stability, and they can stand on their own without affecting any nearby teeth. They also move and function like natural teeth.

Dental implants are primarily manufactured with titanium. This is because titanium can easily integrate with your body system.

Common Myths about Dental Implants

You’ve probably heard various rumors about dental implants. Let us debunk some of them:

  1. Surgery for Dental Implants is Painful and Invasive

Most people believe that surgery for dental implants is painful and invasive. This belief is not true. Although you will have to undergo oral surgery when inserting implants, it is minimally invasive.

Moreover, you will feel little pain because your dentist will place you on sedation or local anesthesia. The whole dental implant surgery process takes around 60 minutes, and you will recover and resume your routine within 24 to 48 hours. 

  1. Dental Implants can dramatically Change your Lifestyle

There is nothing for you to lose if you opt for dental implants. You will be able to resume your daily routine within 48 hours after the procedure. What's more, you will have a beautiful smile, and your confidence and self-esteem will increase.

Within 3 to 6 months after the surgery, you will heal completely. By this time, the implant will have permanently fused with your jaw bone.

  1. Dental Implants do not Offer Value for Money

In comparison to bridges or dentures, dental implants are more expensive. Most insurance companies do not cover for them, but they offer high-value for your money.

Unlike dentures or bridges, dental implants are durable and long-lasting. They can last for a lifetime if you take care of them properly. On the other hand, you will have to replace your dentures every five years, and bridges can only last for a maximum of 15 years. If you consider the total lifetime cost of bridges, dentures, and implants, implants carry the day.

  1. Dental Implants Need Special Care and Attention

Dental implants do not require any form of special care and attention. They need less care when compared to bridges or dentures. All you need to do is to brush and floss your teeth daily and visit your dentist regularly for a checkup.

  1. Dental Implants do not Resemble Your Natural Teeth

Implants look like just your natural teeth. When inserting them, your dentist will match the crowns’ shade with your natural teeth, and perfectly shape them so that they can fit into your teeth.

But, there is some truth to this misconception. Implants are generally resistant to staining. If your natural teeth become stained over time after you have had your implants inserted, the implants may appear whiter and brighter. In such a situation, you can undergo a tooth whitening procedure for the implants to match the appearance of your natural teeth.

  1. It is Only the Elderly Who Should Get Implants

Dental implants are not primarily meant for only the elderly. Any person, regardless of his/her age, can have implants.

You can lose your teeth in various situations. For instance, you may lose some of your teeth in a car accident. The best method to replace these missing teeth is dental implants.

Dentists rarely consider your age when determining whether or not you are eligible for implants. The main factor which dentists consider is whether you have sufficient bone mass. Typically, young individuals have a higher bone mass than aged people. This is because most aged individuals may be having various bone-related illnesses, such as osteoporosis or suffering from conditions such as bone resorption.

  1. Implants Will Stop You from Eating Your Favorite Foods

The only time when you will have to regulate what you eat is within 24 – 48 hours after the implant insertion procedure. During this period, you should only eat soft foods. After this period, you would be able to eat anything you want.

  1. Dental Implants aren’t Safe

Implants do not have any adverse side effects. They are generally safe. However, make sure you disclose to the dentist your full medical history before having implants. This is because some health conditions are incompatible with implants. When you have these conditions, and you undergo dental implant surgery, you may suffer from adverse side effects.

Why You Should Choose Implants

You can replace missing teeth in three ways: dentures, bridges, or implants. Customarily, dentures are considered to be the most affordable of the three options. However, they are the least desirable because they can easily become loose and fall off. Moreover, they can interfere with your overall sensory experience and taste.

Most people view bridges as a much better alternative to dentures. This is because they are permanent and fixed. But, their disadvantage is that they depend on surrounding teeth for support. On the contrary, dental implants are usually supported by the jawbone, and they don’t affect existing natural teeth.

You can choose among these three options when replacing missing teeth. When deciding, there are various factors that you should consider. Some examples of these factors are cost, medical history, whether you have sufficient bone mass and the location of the missing teeth. We recommend dental implants because of the following reasons:

  • They guarantee improved appearance, speech, and comfort
  • They improve your overall self-esteem and oral health
  • They place no limits on what you should eat
  • They are durable and long-lasting
  • They are permanent and fixed
  • They are highly convenient, and unlike dentures, you don’t have to worry about being embarrassed in public when they accidentally fall off
  • They resemble and function like your natural teeth
  • They have a high success rate
  • They result in an overall improvement of your facial and bone features
  • They do not require special attention and care
  • They can help prevent premature aging

Besides replacing missing teeth, you can opt for dental implants to secure loose dentures. This way, your dentures will become more stable and comfortable.

If you do not have sufficient bone mass, you can choose mini implants. Mini implants look and function just like traditional implants, but they are smaller in size. If you have lost almost all your teeth due to gum disease or decay, you can select the ‘All-On-4’ technique. In this technique, your dentist will use four implants to replace all your missing teeth in a single arch. Your dentist will strategically place these implants in areas where there is sufficient bone mass and utilize denture prosthesis to screw them into place.

What Usually Happens Before, During, and After Dental Implant Surgery?

During consultations, your dental surgeon will evaluate the general situation of your overall health. He/she will thoroughly examine the area where the implants are to be inserted with the help of CT scans, panoramic films, and X-rays. Moreover, he/she will assess the quality and quantity of your jaw bone.

Once your dentist establishes that he/she can place the implants in the desired area, you will be able to book your surgery appointment date. Before undergoing surgery, your dentist will administer you a sedative or a local anesthetic to reduce pain and anxiety.

The first part of the surgery will involve teeth extraction in situations where the damaged teeth are still present. You may also have to undergo bone grafting if you do not have sufficient bone mass. This bone grafting process is complex, and it requires at least six months of recovery. If you have enough bone mass, your dentist will insert the implants immediately after extracting the damaged teeth.

The implants will be attached to your jaw bone with specialized equipment. Then, your dentist will place 'healing caps' over them, and stitch up the gum. After the procedure, you will be permitted to go back home.

You should not eat hard foods or participate in vigorous activities within 24 to 48 hours after the procedure. But, when this time lapses, you can eat whatever you would like to, as well as resume your routine.

The implants will heal completely within 3 to 6 months. Within this period, they will permanently fuse with your jaw bone. After this period, you should visit your dental surgeon for him/her to check whether the implant has completely integrated with your jaw bone. Once your dentist confirms this, he/she will utilize an abutment to connect an artificial crown to the implant. This crown is normally custom-made to match the general appearance of your teeth.

Implants do not need special care. What you need to do is to brush and floss your teeth twice each day, and go for a dental checkup after every six months. They are durable and long-lasting too.

Reducing Anxiety During Dental Implant Surgery

It is normal to feel anxious and fearful while at a dental office. Fortunately, there are efficient ways to reduce your anxiety and fear.

Your dentist can place you on either sedation or local anesthesia before he/she conducts the dental implant surgery. Local anesthesia only helps to numb pain, but it can’t reduce your anxiety. The best option for you to feel relaxed and comfortable while at a dental office is sedation.

There are four types of sedation. These types include intravenous sedation, intramuscular sedation, oral sedation, and inhalation. Intravenous sedation is administered by an injection into your arm, while you will receive intramuscular sedation via a shot on your arm or butt. In inhalation, you will wear a mask full of nitrous oxide, which will make you feel drowsy and relaxed. Oral sedation is typically administered via a pill.

When the sedative drug takes effect, you will automatically feel relaxed. In some situations, you can become unconscious, enter into a trance-like state, or fall into a deep sleep. The dentist will perform the surgery once the medicine takes effect.

When you are going for sedation, you should bring along a friend or family member with you. This is because it may take some time for the sedative to wear off completely, and you may be unable to drive yourself back home.

When You Should not Get Dental Implants

Not all candidates are eligible for dental implants. You are eligible if:

  • You have missing teeth
  • You have sufficient bone mass
  • You can opt for bone grafting if you do not have enough bone mass
  • You do not have any other oral health problems
  • You do not smoke tobacco
  • You will be able to commit yourself to the surgical process fully

Generally, you cannot obtain dental implants if you do not have sufficient bone mass, and you are unwilling to undergo bone grafting. Other conditions can render you ineligible for dental implants. Some of these conditions include osteoporosis, diabetes, bleeding disorders, and heart disease. If you have any of these conditions, you should opt for bridges or dentures as an alternative to implants.

Just like any other surgery, implant insertions can come with various complications and risks. These risks tend to be much higher in individuals who have the conditions that we have listed. But, dental implants have a very high success rate. Failures frequently occur in unlikely events of infection, fractures, overloads, blood vessels, and nerve damage, or overloading. Careful planning can help you avoid these complications. This is why you should only reach out to a highly qualified and experienced dental surgeon.

Can Children Get Dental Implants?

Children involve themselves in accidents almost all the time, from enjoying sports to playing rough, among other reasons. Unfortunately, they may lose some of their teeth during these accidents.

As a parent, you will automatically start looking for options to replace the missing teeth. You may believe that dental implants will permanently fix the problem, but this is not always the case.

What primarily determines whether an individual is ready for dental implants is bone development. Implants fuse permanently with an individual’s jawbone, and this is why you must first have sufficient bone mass for you to be eligible for them.

As a child grows, his/her jawbones shift frequently. Implants can't adjust to this growth the way natural teeth do. If implants are placed too early when the child is still young, they will eventually turn out to appear abnormal amongst his/her natural teeth. For instance, they may look longer or not fully aligned with the surrounding teeth. Moreover, implants that are placed too early may impede jaw development and growth, and stop the natural teeth from growing altogether.

Although implants can be a perfect solution to adults, they may not work for kids. However, teenagers may be eligible for implants, depending on their age and medical history.

This does not mean that your child should be toothless until he/she qualifies for dental implants. You should consider other alternatives to replace your child’s missing teeth. One of the best options is artificial teeth, which can be secured by aligners or traditional braces. Then, when the child grows up, he/she can have dental implant surgery.

Computing the Total Cost of Dental Implants

Currently, the average price for dental implants in the United States ranges between $3,500-$6,700. This price includes the dental implant surgery, the implant itself, and the crown attached to the implant.

You will most likely spend more money if you opt for additional processes such as sedation and bone grafting. Most insurance companies in California are ordinarily reluctant to cover dental implants. Therefore, you must be prepared to cater for the costs of the surgical process by yourself.

At face value, you may believe that implants are costlier than bridges or dentures. Don’t be fooled. Although bridges and dentures may appear cheaper, you will end up spending more money in the long run. While implants are permanent and durable, dentures and bridges are not. When you opt for dentures, you will have to replace them every five years. Likewise, bridges should be replaced every 15 years. Generally, implants are a perfect solution to individuals who are looking for an affordable long-term solution to replace missing teeth.

When to Have Mini Implants

Mini implants are an alternative to traditional dental implants. You can opt for them if you do not want to undergo an invasive surgery that is usually associated with bone grafting for traditional implants, and yet you do not have sufficient bone mass.

Mini implants resemble traditional implants, but they are much smaller in size. They are perfect for an individual who would like to replace incisors or has small teeth. Your dentist can also utilize mini implants to secure loose dentures.

Just like traditional dental implants, mini implants are long-lasting and durable. But, their lifespan will reduce if you have osteoporosis or any other bone disease, or if you are addicted to alcohol or drugs.

In comparison to dental implants, mini implants are much cheaper. The current price range for mini implants in the United States is between $500-$1,500.

After you have had your mini implants inserted, you should rest for 24 to 48 hours before resuming your normal routine. You will heal completely after 3 to 6 months when the mini implants will have fused permanently with your jaw bone.

Choosing the Right Implant Dentist

Many dentists offer implants in California. If you have decided to have dental implants inserted, you can feel overwhelmed when deciding which dentist you should visit.

Not all dental implant surgeons provide high-quality services. Some surgeons are only interested in quick bucks, and they can advise you to have implants even if they are not the perfect solution to you.

It isn’t wise for you to gamble with your hard-earned money or your smile. You should look for a dental implant expert with the right qualifications and extensive experience.

As a general rule, you should always opt for a dentist who has exclusively specialized in implants, than one who is a generalist. Such a dentist can guarantee you satisfactory results because of his/her extensive experience. Make sure you implement the following tips when selecting an implant dentist:

  • Look for a dentist who has the relevant education, experience, and training
  • Only consider board-certified dentists
  • Choose dentists who frequently attend workshops, training programs, and seminars
  • Analyze the reviews of previous implants patients before settling on one

Find a Highly Qualified Implant Dentist Near Me

We at Encino Dental Implant pride ourselves in offering high-quality services to our patients. We are the go-to local dental implant office in Encino. We have state-of-the-art medical equipment and professional and super-friendly staff who will attend to all your needs. Call us today at 818-810-7535 to book your appointment.