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Enjoy a Natural-Looking, Highly Functional Smile

Every single tooth actually has two main parts: the root and the crown, but most dental restorations only serve to replace the crown of a missing tooth. Dental implants go a step further and bring back the root as well, providing the most reliable, durable, and natural-looking tooth replacement available today. Whether you are missing a single tooth, all of your teeth, or somewhere in between, dental implants can help you reclaim your smile, and you can get them right here at our Oak Hills, San Antonio dental practice. To learn more about them or schedule an appointment, contact us today.

lady at dentist office smiling

What Are Dental Implants?

With dental implants, one or more missing teeth are replaced by surgically implanting a titanium post into your jawbone to serve as a new root. After your bone fuses to the post, a metal abutment is placed on it to connect a custom-made dental crown, bridge, or denture (known as your restoration).

Unlike conventional tooth loss solutions, dental implants replicate the entire structure of a tooth, including the root. This allows you to enjoy the next best thing to your real teeth. They stimulate the jawbone in the same way as the roots of your original teeth, allowing them to function and feel pretty much exactly like the pearly whites you once had. For this reason, our dentists typically recommend dental implants for all eligible patients.

man at the office smiling

Benefits of Dental Implants

Dental implants replicate the entire tooth structure, including the root. As a result, this provides the closest thing to your natural smile that offers exceptional benefits that aren’t possible using any traditional solution, including a long-term success rate. You’ll invest in your smile using a permanent treatment to chew, speak, and smile confidently for many years to come.

High Success Rate

Dental implants are the most predictable and reliable solution to treat tooth loss. In fact, they have over a 95% success rate for a long-term investment in your smile. Research shows dental implants can last for decades with the right aftercare, like maintaining your oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly.

Feels & Looks Natural

Your jawbone fuses to the titanium implant posts, so you’ll never need to worry about any slipping or irritation. You’ll regain as much as 70% of your natural biting force to enjoy your favorite foods again. This helps prevent limitations in your diet that can lead to nutritional deficiencies that harm your general health.

All-ceramic material is used to recreate the teeth you’ve lost. They are carefully crafted to match the appearance of your natural ones to blend in. You can chew, speak, and smile confidently because no one will know your restorations aren’t your real teeth.

Cost-Effective, Long-Term Solution

It’s true you’ll initially pay more for dental implants when compared to other treatments; however, they are more affordable long-term because you’ll never need to worry about having them replaced (if you commit to your oral hygiene at home and routine care from your dentist). Not to mention, they improve your oral health to reduce needing a costly restorative or emergency treatment down the road.

Preserves Your Jawbone

After losing one or more teeth, your jaw will slowly deteriorate because it isn’t being stimulated by the root. A dental implant post mimics your root, preserving density in your jaw. This provides your natural teeth with the support they need to stay in place. This reduces your risk of cavities, gum disease, and additional tooth loss to lower your overall dental expenses.

Missing teeth and bone loss also cause your facial tissues to sag, leading to premature wrinkles. This can add years to your true age, but you can turn back the hands of time with dental implants. Your facial tissues will have the support they need, so you can look younger.

man brushing teeth

Who Dental Implants Can Help

As we touched on above, a dental implant is actually a prosthetic tooth root, and once one has been placed into your jaw, we can attach it to any number of replacement teeth to create your new smile.

All-on-4/Teeth in a Day

This procedure enables a patient to have an entire row of missing teeth restored with a strong implant denture in just one day. In a single well-planned appointment, four implants will be placed into the mouth, and a denture will be attached to them immediately. The key to this treatment is how the implants themselves are positioned to provide maximum security for the new teeth. This treatment is even viable for patients who have not been good candidates for dental implants in the past because of a thin or brittle jawbone. Learn More About All-On-4.

Missing One Tooth

In the case of a single missing tooth, we’ll use what is called an implant-retained crown. For this, a custom-made, all-porcelain crown will be attached directly to an implant using a metal connector called an abutment. It will be color-matched to the rest of a patient’s teeth, and because it will have the same structure as any natural tooth, it will blend in seamlessly.

Missing All Teeth

If you have a denture, it’s just a given that it is going to slip and slide around in your mouth, right? Thanks to implant dentures, that no longer needs to be the case! They work by having a denture snap onto multiple implants placed into a patient’s mouth, anchoring them directly to the jawbone just like natural teeth. Compared to a traditional removable denture, they have numerous advantages, including a more reliable fit, greater chewing power, and a longer lifespan. Learn More About Implant-Retained Dentures.

Missing Multiple Teeth

If a patient is missing a few consecutive teeth, implant crowns can also be used to support a dental bridge to replace them. Two crowns will be placed on either side of the space in a patient’s smile, and these will be attached to additional prosthetic teeth to close it.

happy smiling young man

Understanding the Cost of Dental Implants

When you’re missing teeth, you don’t just want to replace your ivories with placeholders, you want to know that your teeth will be able to do their job. With dental implants, you’re getting the crème de la crème of tooth replacement. Still, you need more details about the procedure so you can determine whether it’s right for you. As you continue reading, you’ll notice that we’ve outlined some key details that you need to know. When you’re ready to take the next step, feel free to contact our Oak Hills office to request a visit!

happy smiling elder man

Types of Dental Implants

Tooth loss can occur in several ways, from a single tooth – to a full set of teeth. Thus, we offer multiple dental implant options to meet your particular needs.

If you’re only missing one tooth, then a single implant and crown will be in order. For patients who’ve lost two or more teeth, we can place an implant bridge, which consists of one implant that supports two or more porcelain prosthetics that are bonded together.

To replace an entire set of teeth, there is the option of implant dentures. In some cases, we can use the All-on-4 method to place a minimal number of implants per arch, which amounts to a faster and less invasive manner of rebuilding your smile.

Dental Implant FAQs

Are you thinking about getting dental implants to restore your smile? You may have already heard that they’re the next best thing to natural teeth, but chances are you still have some questions about the procedure. At D. Michael Miller, DDS, we want you to have all the information you need, so we’ve answered some frequently asked questions about dental implants below. But feel free to get in touch anytime with additional questions!

We complete the dental implant process in three main steps. For each phase of the process, there is a separate cost. Here is the basic framework:

  • Implant Placement – A cylinder-shaped titanium rod surgically inserted into the gums.
  • Abutment Addition – A titanium component that screws into the implant to allow the prosthetic teeth to securely attach.
  • Final Restoration – Porcelain crown, bridge or dentures that are attached to create an appealing and functional smile.

Also factoring into the cost will be the condition of your oral health. If you need any restorative work prior to the implant process taking place, we’ll consider that when developing your detailed treatment plan and cost estimate.

When considering the cost of dental implants, two factors should be considered: effectiveness and longevity. By attaching at the root level, something that no other form of tooth replacement does, dental implants create a level of stability that is unmatched. Then, once they fuse with the existing jawbone, you’re left with a sound foundation that is only rivaled by the original tooth root itself.

Better yet, dental implants are known for their longevity. Here is how you can get a lifetime of usage from yours:

  • Limit your consumption of hard items, like nuts and seeds.
  • If you suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding), seek treatment.
  • Visit us on a regular basis so we can monitor your oral health and the condition of your implants.
  • Practice excellent dental hygiene, which should include brushing and flossing at least two times a day.

In some cases, dental insurance will cover a portion of the dental implant process. As all plans differ, the specific coverage amount will depend on the standards set by your insurance holder. If, however, you need restorative work done before the implant procedure starts, most plans will cover from 50-70% of the cost after your deductible has been met.

For more cost-sensitive patients, we’ve formed a partnership with CareCredit. A third-party financing company, they provide a way for patients to receive the expert care they need, and make payments at low-to-no interest rate. If you’re interested, you can contact our office to get more details about how the plan works.

Dental implants are a great choice for most people, but since each patient is different, the best way to know if you’re a good candidate is to schedule a visit. Dr. Miller will do a thorough exam to make sure implants are right for you before making a recommendation.

Generally speaking, he’ll be looking for reasonably good overall health, strong jawbones, and a commitment to good oral hygiene. With that said, even patients with a thin or weak jawbone can usually get implants after having a bone graft (a procedure that strengthens and fortifies their jaw).

Yes! They’re made from biocompatible, surgical-grade titanium, which is also used in knee and hip replacements, and have been used in countless people over the years. In fact, now an estimated 5 million dental implants are safely placed each year.

Many people are surprised to learn that there aren’t any nerve endings in the jawbone, which means it doesn’t register pain. So, while it may sound like getting implants would hurt, the most discomfort patients report is mild to moderate gum tenderness during the recovery period (similar to what you would expect after an extraction).

In addition, our team at D. Michael Miller, DDS always makes sure you’re completely numb and comfortable before the procedure starts. We’ll also discuss medication and aftercare tips to make the recovery process as easy as possible. In most cases, over-the-counter pain medication is all that’s necessary.

You can certainly wait to get dental implants if you wish, but it’s important to know you’ll begin to lose jawbone density in the area. Eventually, your jaw may be too thin or weak to support a dental implant, in which case you might need a bone graft beforehand to strengthen it.

Dental implant failure does happen, but it’s fairly rare. In fact, dental implants can last 30 years or more with proper care and have a long-term success rate of over 95%!

Common factors that contribute to failure are tobacco use, poor oral hygiene, gum disease, and clenching and grinding. By getting regular checkups with us, not smoking, wearing a nightguard if necessary, and keeping your implant clean, you’ll have an even higher chance of enjoying it for a lifetime.

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