Dental Implants Overview
Missing teeth can be embarrassing, causing people to hide their smile and lose their self-esteem. The space that missing teeth create can easily become infected with bacteria, causing other teeth to shift out of place, and making it difficult for people to speak or eat correctly. The team at NorCal Family Dental Group are sensitive to the hardship a missing tooth can create. We provide dental implants so that our patients can regain their self-confidence, improve their health, and approach life boldly.
Installing implants is a complex procedure that requires us to replace their missing teeth in a safe and natural way. We know that there are multiple dental providers to choose from, so the team at NorCal Family Dental Group are constantly looking for ways to improve the overall experience of our patients. Our office is located in Santa Rosa and we offer patients the opportunity to restore missing teeth in a way that looks natural and beautiful.
Facts from the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (aaid.com)
- More than 30 million Americans are missing all their teeth in one or both jaws
- 15 million people in the U.S. have crown and bridge replacements for missing teeth
- 3 million have implants and that number is growing by 500,000 a year
- 10% of all U.S. dentists place implants but that is increasing
- The success rate of implants has been reported in scientific literature as 98%
- Implants performed by U.S. dentists 5,505,720 (2006)
- Implants performed by U.S. general dentists 3,103,930 (2006)
- The dental implant market in the U.S. is projected to reach $5 billion by 2018
Questions to Ask When Selecting an Implant Dentist
- What treatment options do you use to restore missing teeth?
- How many implant procedures have you performed?
- What’s your success rate?
- What’s your education and training in implant treatment?
- Which technique* and type of replacement teeth or appliance do you recommend for me, and why?
- What steps are involved in the process and where and by whom are they performed?
- What should I expect throughout the process in terms of pain, recovery time, eating, etc.?
- Will I have teeth throughout the process?
- What type of anesthesia do you use?
- What are the risks of the treatment option you’re recommending?
- What are the benefits?
- Can you share before-and-after pictures of other patients you have treated?
The Process of Installing Implants
If one or more of your teeth fall out, you may qualify for dental implants as a way to permanently replace the missing teeth. In order to find out, schedule an appointment with our Santa Rosa dentist office by calling (707) 579-5533. We will examine your mouth and jawbone to determine if the procedure is right for you. Before we begin the procedure, your gums need to be healthy, and your jawbone needs to be strong. If we identify any cavities or signs of gum disease, we will need to treat it prior to the dental implant procedure.
Once you are cleared for the procedure, the staff at NorCal Family Dental Group will take an impression of your mouth to create a new tooth in a dental lab. Each synthetic tooth will match the size and shape of the surrounding teeth, along with having a perfect color match. This way your smile will appear completely natural once we complete the procedure. Many patients are satisfied with the results since no one can tell the difference between which teeth are real and which ones are synthetic.
Teeth restored with implants will not get cavities. A replacement tooth, or crown, does not decay like a natural tooth. However, you still need to brush, floss and care for it and your surrounding natural teeth in the same manner as natural teeth. Regular professional cleanings and dental checkups are also essential.
The next step in the procedure is to implant a metal post under the gum line. This aspect of the procedure is what sets an implant apart from other forms of cosmetic dentistry. The metal post is secured to the jawbone in order to create a durable, synthetic root system that rivals the strength of natural roots; with one exception that the metal cannot face infection. Over the course of a couple of months, the metal post and jawbone will fuse together. This creates a level of durability that cannot be replicated in other types of procedures.
Afterward, we will secure the new synthetic tooth to the metal post at the surface of the gums. The new tooth is attached so securely, that patients can eat their favorite foods, maintain an active lifestyle, play sports, and more, without fear of their tooth becoming loose or falling out. Patients can enjoy the benefits that come from never having to worry about their tooth again.
The team at NorCal Family Dental Group provide dental implants in a way that is comfortable and functional. We take the time to make sure that every aspect of the procedure is completed correctly – the first time.
Caring for Dental Implants
Once implants have been installed, they are extremely easy to care for. We hear patients throughout Santa Rosa ask questions that range from “Do implants come out” to “How do I brush my teeth”. Fortunately, the answers are not as complex as some people might believe. Since we install dental implants by creating a synthetic root system, they are durable and secure. The dental implants will not fall out or become loose. This means you can go play basketball, run in a 10k marathon, and wrestle with your kids – without worrying about your tooth coming out.
In order to care for your implants, we advise patients to brush and floss their teeth throughout the day like normal. Additionally, it is important to schedule dental exams and cleanings with Dr. Raafia Mazhar and Dr. Farid Mohammadian at least twice a year. The staff at NorCal Family Dental Group will help to clean your teeth and ensure that they stay healthy. While dental implants cannot become infected themselves, the teeth around them can. If, in the future, you suffer from a severe case of gum disease or a dental abscess, the infection can spread into your jawbone. This puts your implants in jeopardy because in order to stay secure, the jawbone must be in good health. If it becomes infected, your dental implants and all of your teeth will be in jeopardy.
If you currently have implants and your teeth start to hurt, call 707-579-5533 to schedule an appointment immediately. This way we can identify any infection and treat it before it can spread into the jawbone. As long as you follow these simple preventative care steps, your implants and natural teeth should remain in good health.
There is 40 years of data behind dental implants, with success rates of about 98 percent
In order to find out if implants are right for you, call (707) 579-5533. The team at NorCal Family Dental Group are friendly, welcoming, and will take the time to inform you of all of your options. We will make a detailed recommendation about the best choice for your oral health by customizing it to your needs. Just remember that you can have a beautiful and natural looking smile by working with a professional implant dentist. If you are suffering from missing teeth, we can help you by transforming your smile. Schedule an appointment and let us transform your smile into something as beautiful as you are.
Q. I need to replace two missing teeth next to each other. Can I just have one implant placed and attach it to one of my natural teeth and make a bridge?
A. Generally, this is not a good idea. We find that it is generally much better not to attach implants to teeth. We frequently attach implants to each other, which can improve strength and works well. So in a case like this, although it may be more expensive in the short term to place two implants instead of one, the long-term success is likely to be much better with the two implants.
Q. I lost my upper back teeth on one side and have gone for years without doing anything about it. My sinuses always seem to bother me more on that side than on the side that I have back teeth. Could these problems be related to one another?
A. In a large majority of people who are missing their upper back teeth for a long period of time, is the increasing downward growth of the maxillary sinus. At birth, it is the size of a pea and progressively grows as the skull matures. This growth is at the expense of the surrounding bone. If you are considering replacing those upper back teeth with fixed teeth that stay in all the time, it may be necessary to perform a sinus elevation procedure to allow room for placement of dental implants into this area to support those teeth. This involves placement of bone and/or bone substitutes into an area which was previously occupied by the lower part of the maxillary sinus. Most importantly, this procedure increases the available bone use to place implants and restore the missing back teeth.
Q. I’ve had dentures for several years and have lost a lot of jawbone. My lower dentures are floaters and I need help. Is there still hope for me?
A. In most cases, with the new options available today in the field of dental implants, some form of treatment is possible. We encourage people to get help as soon as possible if they are already having some problems with their current situation. These problems include excessive use of denture adhesives, chewing only soft food, unable to taste some foods, constant mouth sores, unhappy with the appearance of one’s teeth and bite position (in some cases the nose and chin getting closer together). The sooner we correct the problems with dental implants, the more choices one has available for treatment. If you have any or all of the above symptoms, implants can very well be the answer for you.
Q. I am missing all of my teeth and am now wearing a full upper and lower denture. I can no longer tolerate my lowers. Will I need an implant for every tooth I am replacing on the lower jaw?
A. It is not necessary to have an implant for every tooth that is being replaced. The number of implants necessary to provide support depends on the type of implants used and the type of teeth (removable vs. non- removable) that will be attached to the implants. A thorough oral exam and panoramic x-ray is all that is necessary in most cases, to determine which implant can be used and how many must be used. Sometimes additional X-rays or CT scans are used in more complicated cases.
Q. I consulted a dentist several years ago about using implants to replace my lower denture and he told me that I did not have adequate bone available to place enough in-the-bone implants without danger of fracturing my now fragile jawbone. Are there any alternatives?
A. Because of the advances in the field of implantology, there are now more choices and techniques. It is rare for a person to not be able to receive an implant or a combination of implants. Today we have available many types of implants designed to accommodate multiple problems.
Q. I had a root canal on a tooth that fractured and now it has to be removed. Can it be replaced with an implant or do I have to have a bridge or a partial?
A. Teeth that have root canals can fracture more easily than other teeth because they are weaker and somewhat dehydrated. They can sometimes be as brittle as glass. In the past, the best available treatment was to remove the tooth and file down the adjacent teeth to make a bridge – caps on the adjacent teeth with an attached “dummy” tooth between. Sometimes this still is the only way. However, in many cases an implant can replace the fractured tooth and we will not need to grind down a tooth to at all.