The Definitive Guide To Dental Implants
This is the ultimate guide to dental implants.
You will not find this content on dental implants anywhere else on the Internet. This content is written and produced by Dr. Navid Senehi, DDS. MD. and founder of Facial & Oral Surgery Institute in Woodland Hills, CA.
Dr. Navid Senehi is a nationally known oral surgeon who is regarded amongst his peers and patients as The Dental Implant Master. He is an expert on oral and maxillofacial surgery including dental implants and full mouth reconstruction.
So if you're looking to learn as much as you can about dental implants, you'll love this guide.
Let's dive right in.
What You Should Know About Dental Implants
Popularity of Dental Implants
There are many people who believe we are in the middle of a dental implant revolution.
Is that true... or just an exaggeration?
Let's look at some recent stats.
The above chart figures were obtained from Google Trends. You can hover your cursor over the chart lines to reveal the actual interest over time. The value of 100 indicates the peak in popularity.
How Much Dental Implants Cost
In addition to the popularity of dental implants is a related search term that Google Trends finds even more popular, and that is "how much dental implants cost" which is shown on the chart below.
Google Trends indicates how much dental implants cost recently hit an all-time high and has more than doubled in popularity since June of 2012!
Thus one of my reasons for wanting to provide this guide for consumers searching for answers about dental implants.
The information you find online can be overwhelming. Just search Google for "dental implants" and you will find 140,000,000 (yes, that's 140 MILLION) searches!
In this guide, I will provide you with information from my experience as a doctor who specializes in dental implants and implant surgery. It is my hope that I answer your questions and relieve your concerns. Today, the popularity of dental implants is no exaggeration. It is truly is a special time in cosmetic dentistry where technology, skill, and talent can create the perfect smile of your dreams.
Dental Implants for Replacing missing teeth
A missing tooth is not just an esthetic eyesore, but also it can affect your whole body and has the potential to adversely affect your life and well-being. A missing tooth can affect the way you speak, eat, and even how you bite. When one or more teeth are missing, your remaining teeth bear an increasing amount of pressure to make up for the missing teeth. This increase in pressure and usage could cause them to wear out prematurely and eventually fail. Other effects of missing teeth may manifest, such as headaches, jaw pain or shifting of the remaining teeth. Additionally, bone that previously surrounded the now extracted site could simply melt away, a process called resorption.
Studies show patients lose 25% of the supporting bone structure within the first year after losing a tooth. Resorption presents a problem when restoring the missing teeth in the future. Dr. Senehi utilizes the latest techniques to preserve the most amount of bone structure and place implants the same day, as the affected teeth are extracted with the possibility of same day restoration. This breakthrough in implant dentistry affords you the luxury of not having to undergo a second procedure to uncover the implant thereby reducing the time between extraction and final restoration in most cases by many months.
What are dental implants?
Dental Implants are titanium posts that are placed surgically into the jaw bone. They primarily act as a substitute for the natural tooth root. Once the implant is positioned in the bone, the titanium implant will bond over time (Osseointegrated), creating a strong foundation for future, or in some cases immediate restoration of your teeth. Additionally, once the dental implant is restored, it will mechanically induce the surrounding bone, preventing further resorption.
Are you a candidate for dental implants?
Whether you need to replace one tooth, several teeth, or all your teeth, Dr. Senehi has a solution for you. Dental implants are the solution of choice for patients of all ages (except growing children), even those with the following health concerns:
- Periodontal Disease (Bone Loss). Bone loss is common in patients with periodontal disorders, and advanced cases will result in loss of (teeth). Dr. Senehi is highly trained and experienced in grafting bone to safely and permanently secure implants, often even with patients that have been told that they were not implant candidates due to severe bone loss. In most instances, Dr. Senehi can graft the site and place the implant the same day. With the use of current technological advancements, even same day restorations are also an option. Please ask us during your consultation if you are a candidate for same day restorations.
- Currently Wearing Partials or Dentures. Implants are meant to replace removable prosthesis (such as partial or complete dentures), they can also be used to stabilize and secure a denture, allowing it to be more comfortable and functional.
- Existing Medical Conditions. While precautions are observed for certain conditions, the rule of thumb is that if you can have routine dental treatments, you can have an implant placed. Dr. Senehi is a dual degree Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon. As a physician (M.D.) Dr. Senehi will perform a comprehensive analysis of all medical conditions and current medications. After the physical examination, he will discuss all of the options available to perform the procedure safely and with the highest probability for success. Additional coordination with your primary care physician could be necessary before the completion of the procedure.
- Smokers. Even though the success rates are lower than that of non-smokers, it does not mean that smokers are excluded from successful implant placement. However, options regarding smoking cessation will be discussed during the consultation.
- Traumatic bone defects. With the use of current technological advancements, Dr. Senehi can restore traumatic defects by placing dental implants in the areas that could not be previously restored.
- Pathological defect. Patients that suffer from certain pathological conditions that cause bone resorption may also be candidates for Dental Implants. Once the pathology is removed Dr. Senehi can provide options for restoration of the affected region with Dental Implants.
Key advantages of dental implants
The following are some of the benefits that you could expect after implant placement.
- Enhanced appearance. Dental implants support crowns that have the look and feel of your own teeth. Also, they provide a supportive structure for enhancement of the soft facial tissue.
- Comfort. Dental implants eliminate the discomfort and awkwardness of removable restorations.
- Easier eating. Missing teeth or removable restorations make chewing difficult. Implants feel and function like your teeth because they are fixed, allowing you to chew and eat your favorite food confidently and pain-free.
- Enhanced oral health Individual implants improve oral hygiene by allowing easier access between teeth for cleaning. Additionally, dental implants allow your teeth to be restored without altering the adjacent teeth (unlike traditional bridges), preserving more natural tooth structure and improving your long-term oral health.
- Convenience. The worst thing about removable dentures is that as their name suggests, they are removable. Dental implants not only eliminate the need for messy adhesives, but they also eliminate the inconvenience of removing your dentures.
- Better speech. As dentures move and slip, they can and do cause issues with speech. Slurred words and mumbling are all too common amongst patients who wear dentures. Dental implants allow you to speak without having to worry that your denture might slip.
- Enhanced self-esteem. Dental implants can help you feel better about yourself by giving you back your smile as well as your self-confidence in some cases in ONE DAY.
- Enhanced Durability. Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, implants will last a lifetime.
- Prevent Resorption. The placement of dental implants will prevent the naturally occurring deterioration of the bone called resorption, and once restored it will also impede the migration of the adjacent teeth.
Dental Implant Procedures
For many patients suffering from edentulism, tooth loss, or severe dental damage, the best solution is a dental implant procedure. The idea of replacing one’s natural teeth with artificial teeth can be somewhat challenging for some. At Facial and Oral Surgery Institute we are committed to helping address your concerns and challenges when it comes to your health and your mouth.
Dental implant therapy is a tooth-replacement treatment that replaces a natural tooth or multiple natural teeth with high-quality artificial teeth. These replacement teeth, typically fabricated in a highly-controlled laboratory, are designed to perform just as well if not better than a person’s natural teeth.
Visually and structurally, dental implants are intended to look, feel, and work just like your normal teeth would. They look like natural teeth in shape, color, and material, and even mimic a natural tooth’s structural composition. Typically, conventional implants consist of a titanium post and an artificial crown or cap. The post, like the root of a tooth, is embedded into the jawbone where it osseointegrates into the surrounding bone structures in order to form a stable, near-natural support for an artificial tooth.
The artificial tooth, also known as a cap or crown, is then attached. Once the implant has properly integrated and the surgical area has adequately healed, patients should notice little difference between their natural teeth and their new dental implants. Functionally and aesthetically, a well-executed dental implant procedure should result in natural-looking and feeling teeth.
Dental Implant Benefits
The advantages of dental implants over other tooth replacement alternatives are quite pronounced. No other tooth replacement treatments, with the exception of implant-supported dentures or All-On-Four Dental Implants, reproduce the natural transfer of bite forces from the teeth into the jaw bones.
Dental implants mimic the roots of natural teeth and transfer bite forces into the underlying jaw bone. This is important for two reasons: first, transferring bite forces into the jaw bone actually stimulates bone growth and helps to maintain bone density. Without adequate stimulation, patients who have lost teeth or have teeth with unhealthy roots will actually experience a rapid wasting away of bone structures in a process called “resorption”. This process is the reason why elderly patients, particularly those who have been toothless for some time, often also have hollow cheekbones and other signs of facial aging.
Conventional implants neatly address this problem by replacing the functions of a tooth’s roots with a titanium metal post which stimulates the jaw bones and helps retain a fuller, more youthful appearance.
Alternative Treatments to Dental Implants
There are a variety of alternative treatments in the marketplace that, depending on a patient’s individual needs, are suitable for replacing lost teeth. These include traditional dentures, bridges, and for less severe cases, dental veneers.
Dental Implants vs. Dentures
Traditional dentures are the removable, full-arch solutions typically associated with previous generations. They are generally the least expensive solutions, although they require a higher degree of maintenance than dental implants and are considerably less resilient.
Patients who opt for traditional dentures may have to replace those dentures every three to five years or sooner depending on the quality of the materials chosen, the quality of the denture manufacturer, and the conditions the prosthetic is subjected to during use.
Conventional dental implants, on the other hand, require no additional maintenance other than the normal brushing and flossing adequate for natural teeth. Furthermore, if placed and fitted correctly by an expert and skilled dentist, conventional dental implants are designed to last a lifetime and won’t fall out of your mouth at inopportune moments. Dental implants also have the benefit of stimulating underlying bone structures which promote bone retention.
Dental Implants vs. Bridges
Bridges are another attractive alternative to dental implants. Bridges are prosthetic devices that are supported by adjacent abutment teeth. They can be fixed, like dental implants, or removable like dentures. Bridges, however, do not convey the same bone-retaining benefits of dental implants.
Bridges offer a middle ground between the aesthetic and functional advantages of dental implants and the lower cost of dentures. Bridges are more permanent, longer-lasting, but also more expensive than dentures. However, they are less expensive than individual dental implants, and for patients who only need one or two teeth replaced, bridges can be a good compromise.
Dental Implants vs. Veneers
Dental veneers are not suitable for tooth replacement since they rely on existing natural teeth for support. However, veneers can be used to treat cosmetic damage, such as stains, non-structural cracks, or chips. Like the facade of a building, dental veneers fabricated from porcelain or another material simply covers up existing teeth forming a thin protective and visually-appealing sheath.
For patients experiencing edentulism, dental veneers are not a viable option.
What Can You Expect During Dental Implant Therapy?
Typically, dental implant therapy consists of five steps: an initial consultation, preparation, implantation procedure, recovery, and placement of the final abutment and dental crown. Not all patients have adequate bone depth and the bone density necessary for implantation which may necessitate an additional step of grafting new bone. If required, this bone is typically harvested from the hips and must be implemented before the actual implantation procedure can take place.
During the initial consultation, a thorough dental examination will be performed in order to clearly identify and diagnose underlying causes. Once the examination is complete, a plan will be developed by Dr. Senehi. The plan will take into account a patient’s medical history, budget, needs, desires, health, and expectations.
Dental Implant Preparation
Preparation for the dental implant procedure can sometimes commence immediately following an initial consultation. During the preparatory phase, Dr. Senehi will extract irreparably decayed or damaged teeth. If bone grafts are necessary, they will be placed in the areas of edentulism and allowed to heal.
Dental Implant Procedure
During the implantation procedure, metal posts made of an inert, dental-grade metal are inserted into the gums and embedded into the jaws. This procedure typically entails the use of local and general anesthetics depending on the scope of work required.
Dental Implant Recovery
Recovery times will vary from one patient to another depending on a variety of factors including overall health and fitness, the number of dental implants embedded, and other variables.
Generally speaking, patients can expect a recovery period of between 3 to 6 months. This recovery period is necessary not only for soft tissues to heal but also to allow the metal post to completely osseointegrate into the underlying bone.
Final Placement of Dental Implants
During the final placement and fitting, an abutment extension is attached to the implanted metal post. A final artificial tooth, or crown, is then placed and fitted onto the abutment and the dental implant procedure is complete.
Dental Implant Cost
A common question we receive almost daily is, "How much do dental implants cost?"
Conventional individual dental implants can involve higher up-front costs than other tooth replacement treatments, such as bridges, dentures, and other prosthodontic solutions. However, when lifetime costs are taken into account, individual prosthetic dental implants can often be much more economical. A single conventional dental implant can cost between $1,000 to $3,000 for a single tooth.
Patients who opt for full-mouth reconstruction using conventional dental implants can expect to pay $90,000 or more for a full set of 32 teeth. A likely better option based on revolutionary technology is the All-On-Four dental implants which can be achieved at a much lower cost. Both options look, feel, and function much closer to natural teeth. Many patients find that the aesthetic and functional benefits alone are worth the expense.
Choosing The Right Oral Surgeon
It can be a daunting task choosing the right oral surgeon. Just google "Oral Surgeon Los Angeles" and you will be overwhelmed with over 74,000 search results. Following are some resources to help you make your decision:
5 Keys For Choosing The Best Oral Surgeon Los Angeles
Choosing The Right Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
When it comes to choosing the right doctor for your oral procedure, it would be wise to prioritize experience, skill, and a history of successful results. With Dr. Navid Senehi of Facial & Oral Surgery Institute, you’ll get all three. Dr. Senehi can assist you with strategy, financial options, and, if necessary, a comprehensive treatment plan as well as help you get a more accurate idea about your overall oral health, including the teeth, mouth, jaws, and surrounding areas.
If you have any questions please contact us by calling us at 818-805-0557 or click the Chat Icon in the bottom right-hand corner and share your question. If we receive your question after hours we promise to reply first thing the next business day and you will receive our reply via email.
Look Younger with Dental Implants
Tooth Loss, Aging, and Facial Collapse
Cosmetic surgery is booming. In fact, Americans are spending more than ever before on plastic surgery and other cosmetic procedures. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, we collectively spent $16 billion dollars on cosmetic enhancements. Much of that money went to the usual nips, tucks, implants, and botox injections. With so many high profile procedures available, many patients have a hard time selecting the best therapy for them or even where to start. Some procedures are temporary while others are permanent. Some are more invasive while others may require nothing more than a needle prick. Some cost more than others.
Get Back Decades with Dental Implants
When it comes to enhancing a person’s face, many patients often overlook the dramatic appeal and lasting aesthetic benefits of simply improving their smile with dental implants. Remember, your smile is often the first thing other people notice. This is particularly true for patients experiencing either complete or partial edentulism or toothlessness. An estimated 2 of 3 Americans are missing at least one tooth. A significant number of these may be completely edentulous. For these patients, dental implants can easily wind back the clock decades when it comes to facial beauty. In fact, dental implants may actually be the best way to dramatically improve and enhance a person’s face. Unlike Botox, implants last forever* and provide functional improvements. In other words, the benefits provided by dental implants are more than skin deep. In fact, for patients suffering from edentulism, dental implants can provide an extremely important anatomical function that plays a pivotal role in facial beauty and aesthetics.
The Science Behind Facial Collapse
Facial collapse is a cosmetic condition where the underlying bone structures in the jaw and face have wasted away through resorption, causing the patient to appear markedly aged. This is typically characterized in edentulous patients by hollow cheeks, loose sagging facial skin, and a visibly weakened jaw.
In a healthy individual, dental roots play a critical role in the transfer of the forces of mastication or biting and chewing, into the underlying bone structures. This has the effect of stimulating bone retention and the maintenance of bone density. From a cosmetic perspective, this is extremely important for two reasons: first, maintaining bone depth is what gives younger individuals their youthful visage. Plump cheeks, full jaws, and strong facial bones give younger individuals naturally healthy looking, fuller faces. Secondly, stronger bones allow the skin to drape more naturally and provide a supportive substructure for the dermal layer. The hallmarks of an aged face, on the other hand, are often characterized by hollow cheeks, weak jaws, and a lack of support for the skin leading to sagging and other visual signs of aging.
In cases where facial collapse, or the lack of adequate underlying bone, is the cause of visual aging, simply treating the skin with Botox, fillers, facelifts and other surface-level procedures will not work. These treatments won’t last for these problems and, if the underlying bone structure is not addressed, may also look unnatural.
Instead, the best path forward for edentulous patients is to address facial collapse at the roots. Studies show that when a tooth is lost, either through extraction, trauma, or decay, the bone below the edentulous area rapidly undergoes a process known as bone resorption. More specifically in dentistry, it is known as Alveolar bone resorption. Alveolar bone resorption is a natural process in which the body breaks down bone tissues and releases the minerals, such as calcium, into the bloodstream.
In the face, this process occurs when the natural roots of teeth are removed thereby breaking the natural transfer path of forces from the mouth into the underlying bones. When that pathway is disrupted, the body assumes that the supporting bone structures, such as the jaw and other facial bones, are no longer needed. As a result, bone resorption occurs which, if left unaddressed, can eventually result in a complete loss of bone in affected areas. The loss of the tooth and its supporting roots ultimately leads to the creation of crestal defects or situations of maxillary atrophy. Of course, bone resorption is not necessarily always a result of dental extractions, although it is natural and common. Bone resorption may also indicate underlying systemic diseases such as periodontal disease, circulatory disturbances, or metabolic problems.
If you or a loved one has noticed visible signs of facial collapse or a collapsed bite, it’s a good idea to see a cosmetic dentist or maxillofacial specialist. Dental implants may be the right approach for you.
Facial Reclamation With Dental Implants
While the human body will actively resorb bone when proper stimulation is absent, it can also rebuild lost or missing bone through a process known as bone regeneration. Typically, this is achieved through a combination of a bone grafting procedure and dental implants or, if bone depth allows, with dental implants alone. In order to achieve facial reclamation with dental implants, there must exist a bare minimum of jaw bone thickness left to allow for implants to be successfully embedded and osseointegrated. If direct implantation is not possible, however, a bone grafting procedure will often be required prior to receiving dental implants.
By actively fighting against bone resorption and jaw atrophy as well as promoting bone growth in some cases, dental implants are a pivotal piece of any facial reclamation project. They are particularly important for edentulous patients who are at the highest risk for facial collapse and premature facial aging. Dental implants can stop bone degeneration and give patients a dramatically younger appearance.
Why Dental Implants?
When it comes to replacing missing teeth, implant dentistry is the gold standard. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, implant-based solutions provide superior aesthetics, superior resilience, lower maintenance, and better functionality than other solutions. One of the key reasons doctors and dentists recommend implant dentistry over traditional dentures, bridges, and other teeth replacement treatments are the incredibly important health benefits. Implants are critical in preventing bone loss and the resulting atrophy of jaw and facial bones. Furthermore, properly implanted prosthetics do not require additional maintenance or regular replacement and refitting.
When it comes down to it, dental implants do the most to address three key patient concerns: asthetics, functionality, and durability.
5 Reasons To Get Dental Implants
Custom crafted and precision fabricated implants tailored to each individual offer a perfect solution for patients looking to replace missing or damaged teeth. Dental implants are not only designed to look indistinguishable from the real thing, but they also functionally replace each component of a natural tooth, from the roots to the crown, thereby retaining a similarly natural mouthfeel, functionality, and aesthetic. Opting for dental implants can dramatically transform your smile inside and out.
While dental implants generally cost more upfront, the long-term benefits make investing in a permanent solution attractive. Unlike traditional dentures and bridges which must be periodically replaced every few years, dental implants can effectively last a lifetime*. Furthermore, dental implants require no more additional maintenance than the natural teeth they are designed to replace. Once replacement prosthetics, dental appointments, and maintenance are taken into account, dental implants are often a far more attractive financial proposition. Dental benefits also have ramifications on a person’s facial structure and beauty in ways too difficult to calculate.
One of the most important advantages of dental implants is the effect implants have on the underlying bone structures. The roots of natural teeth act as conduits for the transfer of stimulating forces into the jaw and facial bones. These forces tell the body to retain and maintain adequate bone depth and density. When that pathway is broken and not replaced, which is the case with non-implant-based solutions, the underlying bone will naturally atrophy and waste away.
Dental implants can be seen as direct artificial corollaries to natural teeth. They functionally and aesthetically replace each component of a tooth from the roots to the visible crown. Because implants mimic natural teeth, they feel and function much better than other teeth replacement prosthetics improving the day to day experience of most teeth replacement patients.
Patients with implants can bite and chew just as they could with their natural teeth. Because dental implants are embedded and osseointegrated into the bone itself, they are incredibly stable and won’t accidentally fall out like traditional dentures. They are also no more difficult to clean or maintain than regular teeth. Best of all, they look great and are visually indistinguishable from healthy, natural teeth. The boost in self-confidence and self-esteem for patients replacing missing or broken teeth is simply immeasurable.
With proper care and oral hygiene, dental implants can and are designed to last. While dentures and bridges need to be replaced, implants only need to be fitted once. Successfully integrated dental implants not only replace natural teeth, they effectively become a natural extension of the body itself through. Through osseointegration, implants become part of the bone. Studies put the long-term success rate of conventional dental implants well beyond 90 percent. Teeth surrounded by healthy periodontal tissues, or gums, virtually lasted forever with 99.5 percent lasting over 50 years. Implants surrounded by similarly healthy periodontal tissues should also exhibit no problems for the lifetime of the individual. The implant itself is only one component of a healthy mouth. Proper oral health and hygiene are critical to maintaining the stability of implants, just as it is for the maintenance of normal teeth.
*the life of your dental implant prosthetic may vary depending on the health of the individual and the materials selected.