Dental Implant Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Dental Implant


dental implant image
A dental implant may be an option for you if you have a missing tooth or a tooth that needs to be removed. It can also serve as a foundation for a dental bridge and a better alternative to dentures. A dental implant is embedded into your jaw bone as a permanent replacement tooth that matches your other natural teeth.

The failing tooth is extracted, and the implant fixture is place (see photo). The root of the implant is a titanium post that is implanted within the empty tooth socket. As your jawbone heals from the surgery, the bone naturally grows around the metal post, securing it to your jaw. Once this implant heals or “integrates” with your natural bone the doctor will place an abutment and crown to match your natural adjacent teeth.


Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

implant patients

Nearly everyone who is healthy enough to undergo oral surgery is a good candidate for a dental implant. In order to ensure the procedure is successful, there should be enough bone within the jaw to hold the implant in place. This is determined during your no charge implant consultation with Dr. Tsai.

There are some patients, such as those who suffer from diabetes and heart disease or those who have periodontal disease , who should be evaluated to find out if they are good candidates for the dental surgery. Finally, patients that smoke should also be carefully evaluated as smoking and implants do not do well together.


Why Choose a Dental Implant over a Dental Bridge?

dental implant image.


Many patients ask if there are other potentially less expensive options to a dental implant, like bridges or dentures. The answer is usually yes. However, there are downsides or drawbacks to these other treatments. Bridges and dentures are much more difficult to maintain and keep clean and don’t always give patients the best fit, feel and look.

In general dental implants last longer, look more natural and have become the standard of dental care for those who have lost teeth. As always it is best to discuss these options with Dr. Tsai to make the best decision for you.


Does Dental Insurnace Cover the Cost of Dental Implants?

insurance tab
Most dental plans have some coverage for dental implants. Sometimes this depends upon the reason for the tooth loss, when you lost the tooth, and of course your employer’s coverage decisions. If your plan does not cover the implant itself, it may offer coverage for the crown that goes on the implant. Sometimes plans will offer alternative coverage that can be applies to your implant. Please give us call and we can pre-authorize your implant treatment for you. This way you know the financial information ahead of time.


Are Dental Implants more Comfortable than Dentures?

old womanman dental implants
In general Yes. Yes, because they are permanent implants and become part of the structure of your mouth. Dentures are removable and can sometimes slip around in your mouth, affecting your speech and ability to eat comfortably. Dental implants don't do that, they don't require any messy adhesives to keep them in place either, and because of the ceramic material they are made of they tend to look much more natural than dentures.

However, sometimes patients are not able to have multiple implants and thus choose to have an implant retained denture made. This way they have the benefit of the implants being fixed along with the full set of teeth from the denture. Dr. Tsai can talk with you further about this.


I have Several Allergies, can I be Allergic to Titanium?

allergies woman

Allergic reactions to the titanium posts within a dental implant are very, very rare but it can happen. Medical Grade Titanium is considered to be biologically inert, meaning it will not trigger your immune system. However, if you know you have an allergy to metals, contact an allergist for testing before undergoing surgery for dental implants. This way you can be sure.


Can any Tooth be Replaced with a Dental Implant?

tooth-2.jpg

Yes, dental implants can replace any tooth in your mouth. Though some teeth are simpler to replace than others, all of them can be replaced if needed. Dr. Tsai will use a different type of implant, depending on several factors, such as the location of the implant, how much bone is available, location of your sinus floor, adjacent tooth location, and periodontal condition (gums).



How Long does the Implant Healing Process last?

time to heal

Dental implant healing time (or integration) time varies from patient to patient. In general it takes about three to six months for the dental implant to heal. However, if the extraction was difficult or a bone graft or sinus lift was required it can take longer.

Once it heals and the post is secure, an abutment, or a small connecting post, is attached to the titanium post to hold your new tooth in place and the crown placed. There is no healing time for the abutment and crown.


Will the Dental Implant Look Fake or Artificial?

fake teeth chatter teeth

No, when done properly dental implants will look as natural as your own teeth. Dr. Tsai will use various methods to match the color, shade, gradient, shape etc. of your existing teeth with the new dental implant crown.

In the end it will be almost impossible to tell you have an dental implant when you flash your smile. Click below to take a look at some photos as well as the wax-up process used to create and repairs smiles with
crowns, veneers, and implants.


Will the Dental Surgery Hurt?

Though some people experience sensitivity around the extraction site and the implant location, most feel no discomfort at all. We will put you on a precautionary antibiotic and may prescribe you a pain medication to be take if needed. Those patients who have mentioned some discomfort say it was not nearly as much as when they had a tooth extracted. Usually this soreness can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications.


Can Dental Implants Prevent Bone Loss?

prevent bone loss

Yes. Many people don’t know this but Dental implants, like your natural teeth, stimulate the creation of more bone within your jaw bone as you chew and exert pressure on your teeth. Just like when you exercise, bone replacement and creation is stimulated. When you lose teeth, you begin to lose bone in your jaw.

This can affect your facial bone structure, which affects your appearance. More importantly the localized bone loss and affect adjacent teeth, causing them to tip in or loose support. A properly placed dental implant can minimize or resolve this issue.


Are Dental Implants Hard to Keep Clean?

brush teeth woman

No. You treat dental implants just your other healthy teeth. Since dental implants don't require other teeth to be removed, like a dental bridge often does, it helps to keep your smile healthier. Dental implants allow for better access between your teeth, which also improves your oral health. You'll need to continue to brush and floss your teeth and get regular dental check-ups, just as you would do with your natural teeth. Occasionally you should have a dentist check your implant, but otherwise they quickly feel like your own natural teeth.


How long do Dental Implants last?

With proper dental care, no smoking, and overall good health your dental implants could last the rest of your life. It really is up to you. As long as your gums and surrounding teeth are kept health dental implants can last a lifetime.


Could there be any complications with Dental Implants?

Dental implant complications aren't very common but they sometimes do occur. The implants can fail to bond with the bone and will come out or break. A problem between the crown and implant can also happen where the crown or abutment dislodges and needs to be bonded back on. Other possible issues are: the implant site could become infected, nerve damage could occur if the implant is placed to deep, smoking and other tobacco products could cause the implant to fail, etc. All of these complications are rare and can be quickly corrected or avoided.


What is your No-Charge Second Opinion for Dental Implants?


We offer a no-charge second opinion (or first opinion if you would like) to discuss the option of dental implants. We do limit the number of these appointments and also the limit the time allowed with the doctor. In some cases we may take an X-ray to better understand the local bone thickness/support as well as adjacent root structure. We will also provide you with a treatment plan and cost estimate at this time.

Have questions about Dental Implants or mini Dental Implants? E-mail or call us: 650-583-5880




Frequently asked questions about dental implant - Dr. Sherry Tsai provides dental implants and mini dental implants in Millbrae, San Bruno, Burlingame, San Mateo and the Bay Area

650-583-5880
88 Capuchino Dr.  
Millbrae CA 94030
(map)


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