Dental Implants In Santa Ana / Costa Mesa CA
Losing one or more teeth used to lead to various dental problems, including shifting teeth, infections, and even jawbone deterioration. Missing teeth also complicate daily life, making eating, speaking, and smiling comfortably and confidently a challenge. If you’ve lost teeth to periodontal disease, tooth decay, or trauma, dental implants can dramatically improve your quality of life and help protect you against future oral health problems.
What are Dental Implants?
No one but your dentist or periodontist will know your teeth are implants. Dental implants are permanent, fixed replacements for missing teeth. As an alternative to dentures and bridges, they offer stability and permanence, functioning like natural teeth. With dental implants, you can eat, smile, and speak confidently. There are three parts to a dental implant:
The implant is a metal screw or post placed in the jawbone to replace the missing tooth root. These anchors hold the replacement tooth in place and stabilize the jawbone. Once the implant is surgically placed in the jawbone, it will fuse with the surrounding bone in a process called osseointegration. This provides a stable foundation for the visible portion of the tooth replacement and prevents deterioration of the jawbone.
An abutment is a metal fastener connecting the implant to the visible prosthetic or crown. The abutment is attached to the implant after the jawbone has sufficiently healed following surgery and attaches the crown or other dental prosthetic, such as a full arch tooth replacement, to the dental implants. Abutments are usually titanium, stainless steel, or zirconia.
Crown or Prosthetic
There are several options for replacing the visible portion of the missing tooth, including an individual crown, a fixed bridge, or a full arch. If one or a few teeth are missing, individual implants with crowns attached are often chosen. However, if you are missing several teeth in a row or even all of the teeth in the upper or lower jaw, a row or replacement teeth resembling a denture or bridge may be attached to a few implants in the jawbone using abutments.
What Types of Prosthetics (Replacement Teeth) are Available?
A single prosthetic tooth is a crown. It attaches directly to an individual implant using an abutment. If a few teeth in a row are missing, a fixed bridge can be attached to two or three implants to support several attached artificial teeth.
A full-arch dental prosthesis replaces every tooth in the upper or lower jaw. There are various ways to support the prosthetic arch, which can be either fixed or permanent. A removable prosthesis or overdenture attaches to either a ball-and-socket attachment or a metal bar placed on the abutments. A fixed prosthesis is connected directly to the abutments. It is fixed, meaning it cannot be removed except by a dental professional. It is, like a crown, a permanent solution.
The typical procedure for dental implants involves two surgeries. During the first, the implants are placed in the jawbone. Time is needed for osseointegration, which can take anywhere from three to six months. During this time, the implants and jawbone fuse together to establish a stable foundation for the replacement teeth and prevent the jawbone’s deterioration.
A second surgery involves uncovering the implants and attaching a healing collar. The collar is in place for about two weeks, allowing swelling in the gums to recede. At this time, an impression is taken to help design the crowns or prostheses to be attached to the implants. Over the next few weeks, the dental prosthesis or crowns are designed and crafted in a dental lab, then attached to the implants.
If your jawbone has deteriorated to the point it is not sufficient to support multiple implants, you may still be able to get dental implants. All-On-4 dental implants allow Dr. Mata to place an entire arch of replacement teeth on just four titanium implants. Another alternative is bone grafting before implant surgery to encourage new bone growth and strengthen the jawbone. This will add a few months to the timeline from the initial consultation to the attachment of the final prosthetic.
While you will be on a soft food diet for a few weeks after implant surgery, recovery is usually quick. Dr. Mata and his team provide patients with detailed post-operative care instructions explaining what to expect. Most patients are pleasantly surprised by the moderate pain level. Pain-relieving medications and ice packs can generally keep the discomfort under control.
Dr. Mata has received extensive training in Dental Implantology. Through continuing education, Dr. Mata is abreast of the most current information on implant dentistry, such as TEETH-IN-AN-HOUR™ and All-on-4®.
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
If you are considering dental implants, please take some time to check out our information on the various forms of implants and our Dental Implants FAQ page, which answers many of the most common questions people have about the process.
Your next step should be an appointment with Dr. Mata. He will review your medical history, take 3D images of your teeth and gums, and perform an oral exam. Discussing your needs and concerns will guide him in suggesting the best dental implant option for you. He always takes the time to answer your questions and address any concerns. At that time, he will also review the cost of dental implants with you and discuss your insurance and payment options.
To learn more about dental implants, schedule an appointment with Dr. James Mata by calling Santa Ana / Costa Mesa Office Phone Number 714-556-5156 or using our simple online form, and one of our staff will contact you.
Contact us with any questions or to schedule an appointment.
There's no tooth replacement solution quite like a dental implant. Learn how Dr. Mata can help you love your smile with the help of one, multiple, or even a full mouth of dental implants.