WHY IS PREVENTIVE DENTAL CARE IMPORTANT?
The foundation for a beautiful and happy smile is preventive care from your dentist! Along with diligent at-home brushing and flossing, routine professional cleanings and checkups can help you avoid costly procedures. With regular checkups by your dentist in San Marcos, we’ll be able to track your oral health and help you keep your smile healthy.
DID YOU KNOW…
Unlike your natural teeth, dental implants can’t get cavities.
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WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR PREVENTIVE DENTAL CARE APPOINTMENT IN SAN MARCOS
AN HONEST CONVERSATION
Your dentist will first sit down with you to determine if dental implants best suit your unique needs. After examining your mouth, administering X-rays, and checking your jaw health, your dentist will decide if one or more dental implants will provide the proper tooth restoration required for your smile. At this time, you and your dentist can discuss other restorative dentistry alternatives that may be a better fit for you.
YOUR ORAL SURGERY TREATMENT
Once you’ve been approved for treatment, your dentist will schedule your oral surgery appointment in San Marcos and provide a surgical plan. During the surgery, your dentist will open your gum tissue slightly to securely place a dental implant in the jaw. Your dentist will complete the procedure by cleaning the area and adding sutures to begin the healing process.
HEALING & OSSEOINTEGRATION
Your gums will begin to heal once your implants have been placed. Most patients heal completely from surgery within 1-2 weeks. In a process called “osseointegration,” the dental implant will take between 3-6 months to permanently bond with your jaw bone.
CRAFTING THE PROSTHETIC
To ensure proper healing and bonding occurs, you’ll want to visit our office in San Marcos for a few follow-up appointments after your surgery. Your dentist will examine your jaw and gums and take impressions of your implant and teeth. These impressions will be sent over to a lab, who will craft a custom prosthetic, dental crown or arch of teeth.
APPLYING THE RESTORATION
After the lab has completed your prosthetic and your mouth has fully healed, you’ll visit our office for your final appointment. During the visit, your dentist will complete the procedure by permanently placing the restoration to your dental implant.
MAINTENANCE & AFTERCARE
Keep your mouth and dental implant healthy by brushing and flossing regularly. Don’t forget to visit Tree of Life Dentistry every six months for a teeth cleaning and oral exam.
DENTAL IMPLANT OPTIONS
Single Tooth Implants
single tooth implants
As the most frequently used dental implant, single-tooth implants are made up of two main parts. The dental implant, or post, is a titanium rod with a screw-like shape. A dental crown is a restoration that is usually applied to a single implant.
To place a single dental implant, the post is bonded permanently into your gum and jaw. As the gum heals, a dental crown is created, which is eventually attached to the post by an “abutment.” This dental crown reinstates the shape, function, and appearance of your natural tooth. Unlike a partial denture, single-tooth implants are extremely durable and never move or shift.
If you are missing all or most of your natural teeth, and are looking for a secure, durable alternative to traditional dentures, full-arch implants may be the best option for you. By placing a series of 4-6 dental implants per arch into your mouth, you can enjoy the look and function of a new smile that can last a lifetime.
These dental implants act as artificial roots that allow a set of removable implant-supported overdentures or fixed dental bridges to permanently bond to the gumline and restore your smile. Full-arch implants look and feel much more natural, and will never shift or move when you eat or speak, unlike dentures.
Similar to standard dental implants, mini implants are about half of the size of a traditional implant. They can be used to restore one tooth or several missing teeth, but mini implants are most commonly used to support a set of dentures in the lower jaw.
Due to their small size, the placement process is not as invasive as traditional implants. Plus, mini implants can usually still be applied in your jaw even if it has been weakened by bone resorption after tooth loss.
DID YOU KNOW…
Dental implants are made of titanium, which is one of the strongest and most durable metals.
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HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT PREVENTIVE DENTISTRY? FIND ANSWERS HERE.
How are dental implants made?
Dental implants are composed of two unique parts: one screw-shaped titanium “post”, and the restorative component, which is usually a dental crown and abutment. A wide selection of pre-selected post sizes are available to ensure each patient gets an implant that suits their needs. The restoration, on the other hand, is a custom-made appliance. Once your dentist secures your dental implant, they will administer impressions of your teeth and send them to a dental lab.
The lab will create a long-lasting, resilient dental implant restoration. Most are crafted out of porcelain or another high-quality, durable material. Once the restoration is complete, the lab will send it back to our office in San Marcos, and your dentist will complete the procedure by securely attaching your dental implant in place.
HOW LONG DO DENTAL IMPLANTS LAST?
When properly placed and maintained with care, dental implants can last up to 30 years or more. It’s very common for patients to keep their implants for the rest of their lives.
The dental implant restoration, on the other hand, may not last this long. Restorations such as dental crowns or overdentures are exposed to regular wear and tear from chewing, biting, and more. Over the years, the restoration may need to be replaced a few times to keep your smile healthy and functional.
CAN DENTAL IMPLANTS GET INFECTED?
Dental implants can become infected, but it is a very rare complication. Known as “peri-implantitis,” a dental implant infection usually only occurs if the implant is not kept clean or cared for after surgery.
To avoid peri-implantitis and maintain a healthy implant, follow your dentist’s instructions while recovering, and be sure to brush and floss regularly after your implant has healed.
WILL DENTAL IMPLANTS STOP BONE LOSS?
Yes. When your jaw is no longer stimulated by the natural pressure of chewing and biting, bone loss will occur. Losing a tooth stops this process, causing the jaw bone to weaken.
When the dental implant post is bonded directly into the jaw bone, it acts as an artificial tooth root and transmits the force of chewing and biting through the root and into your jaw bone, keeping it healthy and strong.
CAN DENTAL IMPLANTS BE DONE IN ONE DAY?
There are a few types of dental implants that can be done in one day. The restoration your dentist provides is a temporary appliance to keep your tooth healthy and functional until you have fully healed from your dental implant placement surgery. With your restoration, you can speak and eat normally throughout the healing process.
Your dentist will schedule a series of follow-up appointments to track your healing process and take impressions of your teeth. These impressions will help the lab create your custom-made restoration, which will be a more permanent, durable, and natural-looking prosthetic than your temporaries.
CAN MY DENTAL IMPLANTS SHIFT?
Dental implants fuse with the jawbone to securely hold your tooth replacement in place. This sturdy foundation means that there should be no movement of any kind with your dental implants.
If you notice any movement, you should contact us right away because it is a sign that something is wrong. Movement in the implants suggests implant failure which is rare but can happen for a variety of reasons, including inadequate bone density to support the implant.
Until you can reach the dentist, you should apply a cold compress to the area to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain. Removal of the dental crown along with x-rays will help us determine what the problem is and will determine the appropriate fix.
HOW DO I CARE FOR MY DENTAL IMPLANTS?
Dental implants are low maintenance, especially compared to tooth replacements like dentures. You can expect your oral hygiene routine for your natural teeth to be the same for your implants. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste.
You should brush for 2-3 minutes twice a day and floss once a day. We recommend using interdental brushes, which thoroughly remove food particles from between the teeth. This makes it easy to thoroughly clean those hard-to-reach crevices.
You can also use an antibacterial mouthwash to eliminate bacteria in your mouth in between teeth cleanings. Don’t skimp out on your bi-annual dental visits. You should attend a dental cleaning and checkup once every 6 months.
CAN I STILL GET DENTAL IMPLANTS IF I’M ALLERGIC TO CERTAIN METALS?
Yes, you can still be a candidate for dental implants despite having a metal allergy. Traditional dental implants are made of titanium, which is a biocompatible material that takes well to the jawbone.
However, those with metal allergies may have concerns about their ability to undergo implants because of the presence of this material. Most patients who have a metal allergy have a sensitivity to nickel.
We recommend that you get a skin patch test done with your doctor or an allergist to determine if you have a sensitivity to titanium. If so, there’s no need to worry. You can still get implants. We offer zirconia implants which have a very low chance of allergic reaction.
ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS COVERED BY INSURANCE?
This depends on the specific type of dental coverage you have and your insurance provider. Unfortunately, dental implant coverage can vary greatly from company to company. Some insurance companies consider implants to be a purely cosmetic procedure, while others will cover them as part of a restorative cover.
The amount that they will cover also varies greatly, but you can expect it to range up to 50%. Even if your insurance doesn’t cover implants, they may cover the crown or other restoration that is attached to the implants. If you do not have insurance, we offer flexible payment plans to help you afford your treatment.
DID YOU KNOW…
Unlike dentures which require replacements, dental implants can potentially last a lifetime.
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