What are dental implants?

Dental implants are a natural-looking, long-lasting, comfortable, and alternative to bridgework or dentures for restoring missing teeth; they replace a tooth's root. Dental implants are secured into the jawbone and are not visible once surgically placed. Titanium alloys are the most widely used metals in both dental and other bone implants. They are lightweight, durable, and biocompatible, which means that the body will not reject them. With dental implants, people rediscover the ability to laugh and eat comfortably, and self-confidence comes from having a beautiful, healthy smile.

Moreover, dental implants simulate a natural tooth entirely in form and function. Unlike other replacement options, such as bridges and removable dentures, implants replace the teeth' roots. Besides restoring the mouth's natural appearance, dental implants, unlike bridges and removable dentures, can help prevent bone deterioration. The dental implant will hold the bone and function just like your natural tooth root. All dental implants require the placement of individually designed crowns and bridges on titanium screws.

dental implant requirments
An ideal candidate for dental implants

Are there any concerns before the implant procedure?

Different factors determine if a patient is a candidate for implant restorations. To receive teeth implants, you need to be in good overall health. If you are free of active gum disease and other infectious oral conditions, we can proceed with the dental implant treatment. Otherwise, a complication may occur. If you meet the following qualifications, you are an ideal candidate for dental implants.

  1. Adequate jawbone to support an implant
  2. Healthy gum: no inflammations of the gum (gingivitis) or free of periodontal disease
  3. Good general health

When you already have significant gum loss in your aesthetic zone, your upper front teeth area, implant-supported dentures may be your option because we can also recreate your gum area.

Does regular dental insurance cover the cost of dental implants?

The coverage of dental implants depends on your insurance policy. Dental benefits are typically up to $ 1,000-2,500 per year. Most plans have many limitations, as coverage is strictly determined by what you pay for the policy. For example, some insurance pays $500-$1000 of the Implant-supported crowns after a deductible (the amount you pay before your dental insurance disburses). However, not all insurances cover dental implant surgery. And if they cover the surgery, they may pay about $500 - $1000 as well.

dental implants before
Dental implants are effective and long-lasting

Are there any payment plans for a dental implant?

We want to help you make dental implants affordable because many implant patients desire to finance their treatment procedures. So, depending on the cost, we will find the appropriate plan to suit your needs. Schedule Free Consultation!

How long does a dental implant procedure take?

It depends on complexity, such as how much bone you have left on the missing teeth area. Suppose you have excellent teeth alignment, and only one tooth needs a replacement due to tooth decay with almost no bone loss. In this case, the implant's process duration is relatively short. Without waiting, you can have an implant, and the implant is ready for the crown impression in about three months. However, after an extraction, you need a bone graft to preserve the bone and then place the implants. If this is the case, 3-4 months more may be required. If you want to have a full-mouth dental implant, the process would be different. You could have teeth by tonight, but it all depends on the situation. However, if you have gingivitis, jawbone loss, or misaligned teeth, the implant process takes longer because you require another procedure first.

Does the dental implant procedure hurt?

We understand that people are afraid of getting drilled into their jaw. Just like with any cavity treatment, we use local anesthesia for dental implants. You might feel slight discomfort when the needle goes into your gum. However, after 5 min or so, there will be no pain. Generally, we place the implant 3 to 6 months after a tooth extraction to allow the root area to heal. Most people who have had dental implants have said that there is minimal discomfort involved in the procedure.

dental implants replace missing teeth
Replace metal and missing tooth

What are the Advantage and disadvantages of dental implants?

Dental implants do not have many disadvantages that removable partial dentures (RPDs) and dental bridges have. There is no need to grind on your adjacent teeth or connect multiple teeth, which becomes a cavity-prone area after treatment. Implants-supported crowns have roots in the supporting bone and give natural functional pressure to the bone. Getting implants helps keep the bone structure and avoid bone loss. You often see the gum above the missing tooth area of the bridge is depressed or concaved. With implants, we recreate your crown root to be less likely to have concavity on the gum and give a natural look.
Moreover, dental implants simulate a natural tooth entirely from the root and the crown. The implant body acts as a natural root and functions as a root. In other words, the implant is ultimately a replacement for the missing tooth's root. Besides restoring a natural appearance in the mouth, dental implants can help preserve facial structure, preventing bone deterioration, typically when having missing teeth.

dental implants treatment steps
Dental implant treatment process

Dental Implant Process

We can proceed with dental implant treatment if you are free of active gum disease and other infectious oral conditions. Getting a dental implant is not a "fast and quick" type of procedure. You should expect to see us several times before the implant is completed.

  1. Consultation: This will allow us to check the mouth, get some x-rays and CT scans, and diagnose the conditions such as teeth, gums, and jawbone to determine candidates for implants. You will receive a comprehensive implant evaluation using a 3D-CT scan to determine if a dental implant is right for you. We will begin the process if your health and gums are in good condition and want to continue with the implant. If your oral health is not in a good state, such as gingivitis, you will have to wait until you regain good oral health.
  2. Extraction of the failing tooth: When we extract the failing teeth and place the bone graft into the extraction socket, we usually need to wait 3-4 months before implant placement.
  3. Implant Placement: During this appointment, the dentist will drill a hole in the jawbone and insert the implant. If necessary, we will make a temporary tooth at the end of this procedure.
  4. Taking impression for the crown: Once the gums heal from the implant insertion (usually 2-4 months), it's time for the dentist to take an Implant impression. A temporary crown may also be cemented at the end of this procedure.
  5. Place the Crown: Finally, we remove the temporary crown if we place it. Then place the abutment, which is the crown's support (connecting element), then cement the crown on the abutment, or screw in the one-piece abutment and crown on the implants. They will look like natural teeth.

With dental implants, people rediscover the ability to laugh and eat comfortably, and self-confidence comes from having a beautiful, healthy smile. Moreover, dental Implants simulate a natural tooth entirely in form and function and are ultimately a replacement for the root of the missing tooth. In addition to restoring a natural appearance in the mouth, dental implants can help preserve facial structure, preventing bone deterioration, typically occurring when there are missing teeth.

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Dr. Shimizu is an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. There are 419 dental professionals worldwide (Only four in Houston) as of 2022 who have achieved this prestigious honor.