When you are missing or have a badly damaged tooth or teeth that need to be extracted, there are several options for replacement. A popular option is dental implants and they are an easy, durable, and the often most economic option for many patients with one or more missing teeth. There are several advantages over bridges and dentures as well. Unlike dentures or bridges, you can continue eating all of your favorite foods without worrying about the implant becoming damaged or slipping and they look just like your natural teeth. Dental implants can last a minimum of 20 years if you care for them properly. With improvements in technology, even the youngest of our patients may have their implants for the rest of their natural lives.
Advantages of Dental Implants:
- Permanent, fixed teeth that do not require adhesives.
- Identical to permanent teeth for regular care. Brush and floss as you normally would.
- More resistant to staining, damage, and decay than regular teeth.
- They become part of your body for unparalleled comfort and will not irritate your gums or surrounding tissues.
- You can eat all of your favorite foods without worrying about displacing or damaging your implant. They have biting and chewing force equal to your natural teeth.
- Implants prevent bone deterioration in your jaw, keeping your mouth healthy and strong.
- Their presence preserves your remaining teeth and prevents displacement and shifting.
- Restore a youthful, healthy appearance to your face and mouth.
What Is The Process Of Getting An Implant Placed?
During your initial consultation, Dr. Zadeh will take X-Rays to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants. Most people who are healthy enough for a tooth extraction or recently had their tooth knocked out are healthy enough to receive an implant. If you need an extraction, the first part of your implant can sometimes be placed on the same day with an immediate loading procedure. During your consultation, Dr. Zadeh will also take a CT scan to ensure you have no abnormalities or weaknesses in your jaw and surrounding tissue that cannot be picked up by the X-Ray alone.
During your placement, you will be sedated for your comfort, so make arrangements ahead of time to get home. After your dental implant post is placed, Dr. Zadeh will install an abutment and temporary crown over the post to help shape the gums to hold the permanent crown. No matter how you get your implant done, you will walk out of his office with a new tooth that is ready for use.
After your gums have healed, Dr. Zadeh will set up a follow up appointment to make sure everything is going well and place the permanent crown on the post. You will then have another follow-up appointment to ensure everything has healed properly. If you experience pain, swelling, or other symptoms after your surgery, do not panic. Dr. Zadeh generally suggest mild to moderate strength pain relievers like Tylenol or Aspirin, but will prescribe more potent painkillers if your situation calls for it. Pain and swelling normally go away after a few days as your body heals from the trauma of surgery.
Rest and relaxation are the best cures for pain and discomfort. Take the time after your surgery to recover. This will help your body heal faster, and you’ll likely be ready to resume your normal activities after about a week.
From there on, you won’t need to do anything special except come in for your regular check up and brush and floss your teeth. It’s as simple as that! Dental implants are becoming increasingly common and will soon replace bridges and dentures in all but the most serious cases. Whether you need to replace a broken or missing tooth or are looking into a full smile makeover or mouth reconstruction, implants are an excellent option for restoring a natural, beautiful appearance.
Circumstances That Delay Placement
Some patients may have abnormalities or deterioration that prevent them from having their implant placed for an extended period of time. If your jaw bone is too thin or weakened by age or disease, you may need to undergo a bone transplant to thicken the jaw bone so it will be strong enough to receive an implant. Depending on the complexity and location, the length of time for a bone graft to integrate can be anywhere from 3-4 months for most and up to a year for some patients. In the meantime, you will be given a temporary bridge or other support to maintain the position of your teeth. This will help your graft heal more quickly and prevent the aesthetic aging effect that missing teeth cause.
You will be checked regularly to make sure your jaw is accepting the bone graft, especially in difficult cases where there are compound bone issues. With proper care and following Dr. Zadeh’s instructions, your bone graft will heal faster and be ready for your implant in less time. However, be aware that you may have to wait an average of six months before the bone graft is integrated, well-tolerated, and ready for implant surgery. When Dr. Zadeh feels that the bone is ready, he will set up and appointment to place the post into your jaw bone.
If even after treatment to restore your gums or strengthen your jawbone, you are deemed not a poor candidate for this procedure, Dr. Zadeh will discuss your options and find one that fits your needs.
What Makes Dr. Zadeh Different Than Other Dentists?
Many dentists can or claim to do dental implants; however, Dr. Zadeh is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantology. This means he has studied implants and implantology for over 5,000 hours to gain this prestigious certification and is intimately familiar with the ins and outs of the procedure. His Fellowship makes him one of the foremost experts in the field and one of the few dentists in the California and the American Southwest with this level of experience. He has performed hundreds of implant placements and has seen and developed nearly every possible treatment plan. He will get you both permanent and lasting results that you will both be proud of.
It goes without saying, there is a difference between being able to perform an implant procedure and knowing the ins, outs, theory, and practice like it was second nature. Dr. Zadeh does just that and this gives him the ability to perform real life miracles, with minimal discomfort and chance for complications. Your restored, healthy smile may be even more gorgeous than your old one.
How Much Do They Cost?
A common concern about dental implants is their cost. However, given their longevity, they are actually quite affordable. From the start of treatment, you can probably expect your cost to be $1,500-$2,000 per tooth on average. Over the course of time, an implant actually ends up being about $100 per year, assuming your replacement tooth lasts the minimum 20 years. Our implants, thanks to improving technology, can last even longer than that. The only thing you may have to worry about are crown replacements. These are often covered by dental insurance as it is deemed medically necessary.
Because of their ease of use and maintenance, dental implants are actually one of the most affordable options for people missing a small number of teeth or who need extensive bridge work and need preparation to get their mouth ready for their bridge or denture.
Of course, costs do rise with each additional tooth, but if you are missing a large number of teeth, other options may actually be better. However, if your jaw is healthy and you want that many implants, it is not out of the question. Dr. Zadeh will discuss your options and costs with you during your consultation and create a treatment and financing plan that will meet your needs and budget. A combination of implants and a bridge may help mitigate the cost, especially if a large number of teeth are missing.
Many places offer implants cheap (usually about $1,000 or less), but this is simply for the post. A full replacement tooth will cost more, depending on the size of the tooth, the location, and any other necessary treatments before an implant can be placed. Fortunately, costs are dropping, and with our CEREC machine, we can likely lower the costs even more. It is difficult to assess costs without coming in for a consultation, but Dr. Zadeh will try to make it as affordable as possible.
Factors that go into the cost of an implant:
- Material of the post.
- Material of the replacement tooth / crown.
- Size and location of the missing tooth.
- Treatments such as bone and gum grafts that may be necessary to prepare the jawbone for insertion.
- Considerations needed for surrounding dental work, such as previously installed bridges or dentures.
Zirconia vs. Titanium Implants
Currently, there are two forms of tooth implant on the market. Zirconia and Titanium. Zirconia implants, often called zirconium implants, are made of a ceramic that looks more natural at the neck (base of the tooth) and is preferred by many patients and dentists for their unparalleled esthetics. Medical studies have also shown they are better tolerated by most patients than titanium implants and may even integrate faster. However, you should discuss your options with Dr. Zadeh as zirconia still carries a small premium over titanium implants. This is also the only option for patients who may have rare titanium allergies.
Titanium implants have been the standard bearer for several decades and are sometimes preferred for their versatility, cost, and integrative factors. Titanium is a lightweight metal, whose properties make it fuse well with bone and the surrounding tissues and is extremely durable. Titanium will readily tolerate the adverse conditions inside your mouth without deterioration or wear for at least two decades.
As stated above, there are a few patients that may have titanium allergies, which requires them to get zirconia implants in the event of a reaction. Titanium allergies are extremely rare and seem to occur with other medical complications. If you are not tolerating the implant well, the Doctor will evaluate you again to make sure it is not another or new issue with your teeth, gums, and jaw bone, hygiene, etc., rather than a titanium allergy. Unless you are experiencing a persistent rash, swelling, or ongoing fatigue that lasts for several months, odds are your body is simply adjusting to the titanium dental implant rather than a true allergy.
However, the vast majority of patients tolerate titanium well, and its osseointegrative (becoming part of your bone) qualities are well-recognized. Zirconia will have the same swelling and aching effects the first few days after surgery. In most cases, this resolves itself after about a week. If not, do not hesitate to call Dr. Zadeh. He is happy to help you and has your health and comfort at the front of his mind at all times.
Dr. Zadeh uses both types, but prefers zirconium dental implants for their more natural appearance. Unlike titanium implants, which have a greyish color and can be unsightly if you have future gum recession or they are placed behind thin gum tissue, the post, abutment, and crown of the zirconia implant will be carefully created to match your teeth as closely as possible. With recent advances in imaging software and automated appliance production, we can likely create a tooth that is identical or nearly identical to the one that was damaged at the height of its health and appearance.
If you are interested in having an implant placed or learning more about dental implants, call Dr. Zadeh’s office at (310) 273-2020 or email our appointment coordinator to schedule your consultation. Dr. Zadeh and his skilled staff that is happy to answer any questions that you may have.