Dental Implant FAQs
Dental Implants Near Houston Galleria
What is a Dental Implant? | What Happens If You Do Not Replace Missing Teeth | What are the Advantages of Dental Implants? |
How Are Dental Implants Placed? | How Do You Clean Dental Implants? | How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
Dental implants are the only permanent restoration solution for missing teeth. The implants are titanium or zirconia posts that act as replacement roots for dental restorations. When finished, dental implants look and perform like natural teeth, giving you an attractive smile and restoring your ability to eat and speak comfortably.
What is a Dental Implant?
There are three sections to a dental implant. The implant is the screw or post placed in the jawbone to replace the tooth root. An abutment is later attached to the implant, usually as a slender pin placed in the center of the hollow implant. The abutment acts as a fastener to secure the dental restoration to the implant. The restoration replaces the visible portion of a missing tooth. Depending on how many teeth are replaced, it may be an individual crown or a dental prosthetic.
What Happens if You Do Not Replace Missing Teeth?
Dental implants are the preferred method to replace missing teeth for several reasons. Most importantly, if you do not replace a lost or extracted tooth, a cascade of complications can develop over the years, including resorption of the jawbone due to lack of stimulation from the tooth root. Over time, your remaining teeth may shift out of alignment, affecting your bite and making it difficult to eat. Missing teeth also allow food debris and bacteria to invade the empty tooth socket. These issues can contribute to oral health issues and the loss of other teeth.
What are the Advantages of Dental Implants?
- A permanent solution to missing teeth
- Preservation of the jawbone
- Chewing ability and bite force are restored
- Dental implants provide stability for adjacent teeth
- Facial contours are preserved
- You can eat whatever you like with no restrictions
- No need for dentures or dental bridges
- You care for them like natural teeth
- No need to have the prosthetic teeth refitted or relined over the years
- Implants can last three decades or longer
- No worrying about shifting or slipping dentures
How are Dental Implants Placed?
Tooth implants typically require two surgeries. The implants are first placed in the jawbone, a precision placement that requires skill and experience. Following placement, the gums are sutured over the implants while the jawbone begins fusing with the implants. This usually takes anywhere from three to six months. You wear a temporary prosthetic during this time, so you never have to go without teeth. However, you are on a soft food diet while the implants bond with the surrounding bone.
During a second procedure, the tops of the implants are exposed, and a healing collar is attached. Impressions of the mouth are taken, and work begins on creating permanent crowns or prostheses to replace the visible portion of the teeth. Once the swelling is gone and the new teeth are ready, the healing collar is removed, and the permanent replacement teeth are attached.
Recent advancements in dental implant technology have led to the development of single-stage implants. These do not require a second surgery to uncover but still need time to heal before the permanent restorations are placed. This usually takes six to eight weeks; during this time, you wear a temporary prosthetic.
Getting dental implants requires a time investment from our patients. It can take anywhere from six to nine months to get from your first consultation to the permanent restoration. However, once the work is completed, your new teeth can give you a lifetime of comfort and confidence.
How Do You Clean Dental Implants?
You care for your dental implant restorations like your natural teeth. Brushing twice daily and flossing once daily are essential to prevent gum disease from developing around the base of the replacement teeth. We also encourage you to have your implants and overall oral health checked by your dentist twice a year.
How Much do Dental Implants Cost?
The cost of dental implants is specific to each patient’s needs, the number of teeth replaced, and the type of restoration. We understand that cost is an important factor in your decision to get implants, so we offer a free initial consultation to learn more about the process and get an accurate estimate. During your free consultation, Dr. Echeverria or Dr. Paluk will perform an oral exam, review your medical history, and discuss your options with you. We also offer a 60-month, in-house financing option and dental savings plan to help you reduce dental costs.
While dental implants are not covered by most dental insurance, restorations may be reimbursed. Contact your insurance company to determine if you have full or partial coverage. Our staff will work closely with you to maximize benefits and help keep your dental implant costs within your budget.