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Dental Implants Specialist

Missing teeth can have a serious impact on patients’ self-esteem, which can affect their everyday lives. Patients who don’t want to get bridges or partial dentures to replace missing teeth can get dental implants instead. These implants hold artificial teeth in place and improve patients’ smiles. Patients in the Long Beach, California area who need missing teeth replaced can get dental implants from Dr. Bonnie Bateman at Los Altos Dental.

Dental Implants Q & A

What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a tiny post that’s placed inside the jawbone. This post, which fuses to the bone while it heals, is used to keep an artificial tooth in place. Dental implants differ from other treatments that are used to replace missing teeth, such as dentures and bridges. Implants don’t have to be removed on a regular basis as dentures do, and they don’t involve using the teeth on either side as anchors the way bridges do. Dental implants are able to serve as more convenient replacements for missing teeth.

When should patients consider getting dental implants?
Patients who have missing teeth should consider getting dental implants if they’re experiencing self-esteem problems due to their appearance or if they’re having trouble talking or chewing food. These implants can hold artificial teeth that replace teeth that have fallen out or teeth that have been extracted due to injury, disease, or poor oral care.

What can patients expect when getting dental implants?
Patients who are getting dental implants can expect to have a small post placed in their jawbone. Over the course of several weeks, the jawbone heals and fuses with the post, which helps keep it fixed in place. Once the jawbone heals completely, patients can expect to have a connector joined to the post. This serves as the piece that holds the artificial tooth in place on the post. After the connector is attached, the artificial tooth is set in place. Getting dental implants can take as long as 9 months, depending on the time it takes for the jawbone to fully heal.

Which patients are good candidates for dental implants?
Not all patients with missing teeth are considered good candidates for dental implants. Those who are suitable candidates include patients with an adequate amount of bone for holding implants and patients with healthy gum tissue. Patients who don’t have enough bone might need to have bone grafts done before getting implants.

Are dental implants considered safe?
Dental implants are generally safe, although patients should be aware of certain risks. Having implants placed inside the jawbone can cause complications, such as infection, blood vessel damage, nerve damage, sinus issues, and damage to nearby teeth. However, these aren’t common risks and Dr. Bateman takes measures to reduce the risk of complications overall.