Dental Implants — San Antonio, TX
In the past, dentures and dental bridges were the only way to replace missing teeth. Unfortunately, these options only replace the visible portion of teeth, leaving much to be desired in terms of stability and comfort. Today, the New Image Dentistry team can help you restore both the roots and crowns of missing teeth with dental implants. This innovative tooth replacement solution creates natural looking, feeling, and functioning smile as well as a lifelong solution for missing teeth. For more information about dental implants in San Antonio, TX, please give us a call. We would be happy to answer your dental implant questions during a tooth replacement consultation to ensure you pick the right restoration option to meet your unique needs.
Why Choose New Image Dentistry For Dental Implants?
Entire Treatment Completed In-Office
Dental Implants Placed In-Office
by Our Experienced Periodontal Specialist
Advanced Dental Technology for Precise,
Comfortable, & Long-Lasting Results
What Are Dental Implants?
There are two parts to a natural tooth: the visible crown above the gumline and the hidden roots anchored into your jawbone. Unlike any other tooth loss solution, dental implants are designed to replace the entire structure of a missing tooth, not just the part you see when you smile. To do this, a dental implant contains three main parts: an implant post, an abutment, and a final restoration.
The small metal implant post is inserted directly into the jawbone to mimic the roots of the missing tooth. They’re usually made of titanium, which is a biocompatible material that has been used to integrate with bone tissue for decades. The post will fuse with the surrounding bone tissue, essentially becoming part of your jaw. This provides an incredibly stable foundation for the final restoration it supports. This crown, bridge, or denture is secured on top of the post via a small connector piece called an abutment and will be custom-made to blend in seamlessly with the rest of your smile.
No other option replaces missing teeth like this. As such, dental implants are the only way to regain a complete smile that looks, feels, and functions just like natural! That’s why dentists and patients alike consider dental implants to be the gold standard of tooth replacement.
The 4 Step Dental Implant Process
As you may imagine, replacing the entire structure of a missing tooth requires a more involved process than just bringing back the crown. As such, getting dental implants is unlike getting dentures or a dental bridge. Dental implant treatment goes through a multi-step process that spans several months. While this may seem like a long time, it’s this unique process that will help your dental implants feel and function just like natural teeth, and potentially last a lifetime!
Initial Dental Implant Consultation
The first step of dental implant treatment is to come visit us for a consultation. We’ll have a discussion with you about your tooth replacement goals, review your medical history, and examine your smile. It’s important that you’re free of oral health issues like gum disease and have a strong jawbone for your treatment to be successful. If needed, we’ll work with you to complete any necessary preliminary treatments such as gum disease therapy, tooth extractions, or bone grafting to get you ready for your dental implants. Then, once we’ve determined which teeth need to be replaced, how many dental implants you need, and other details about your treatment plan, we’ll schedule your placement surgery.
Dental Implant Surgery
When you get to our office for your dental implant surgery, we’ll make sure you feel relaxed and comfortable in the examination chair. Aside from a powerful local anesthetic to numb your mouth, you may be interested in sedation options to help you feel at-ease.
Then, the doctor will make one or more small incisions in your gums depending on how many dental implants you’ll be getting. Once she has access to the jawbone, she’ll carefully insert the dental implant(s) into the pre-determined positions. Then, the gums are closed again, a protective cap is placed over the implant, and you’ll be sent home to heal.
Dental Implant Osseointegration & Abutment Placement
While you’ll likely be able to return to your normal day-to-day activities a few days after your surgery, your jawbone will need much longer to heal. Over the next four to six months, a process called osseointegration will occur, where the dental implant fuses with the surrounding bone and gum tissue. After this step, your dental implant will essentially be a part of your jaw!
Then, you’ll return to our office for one more minor surgery. We’ll open the gums to expose the top of the dental implant(s) to attach a small connector piece called an abutment. Then, we’ll take impressions of the area and begin working on your final restoration.
Delivery of Dental Implant Restorations
Before you know it, you’ll be returning to our office for the last step of your dental implant treatment. We’ll secure your custom-made crown, bridge, partial, or full denture firmly to the implant(s) via the abutment. Next, we’ll take a few moments to make sure that your bite feels comfortable and go over how to best care for your dental implants. Then, you’ll be ready to walk out of our office with a strong, beautiful smile that looks like it was never missing any teeth in the first place!
Benefits of Dental Implants
No treatment is right for every patient, but for those who do decide to move forward with dental implants, there are numerous benefits. Tooth loss can be a devastating realization that hinders a person’s ability to eat, speak, and smile confidently. Fortunately, with the help of these permanent prosthetics, more than 3 million people have regained their physical aesthetics and confidence. Dental implants have the ability to change lives, which is why it’s important to understand the benefits of dental implants in San Antonio before making your final decision about how to replace your missing teeth.
- Eating your favorite foods can be enjoyable once more with dental implants. Unlike dentures that can slip or fall out and make it impossible to eat healthy, nutritious foods, dental implants remain firmly in your jawbone, providing a greater bite force and stronger chewing power.
- If you want to embrace a better quality of life, consider no other option other than dental implants in San Antonio. A recent study found that around 34% of denture-wearers believe their prosthetics hinder their ability to live a full life. By choosing dental implants, you can smile freely without feeling embarrassed by your prosthetic. You’ll instead enjoy greater functionality and a natural-looking aesthetic thanks to their ability to blend in with your natural teeth.
- Better oral health is attainable with dental implants. Instead of soaking them each night and buying specialized cleaning products to maintain them, you can floss, brush, and rinse just like normal. This minimizes your risk for tooth decay and gum disease, both of which can cause your implants to fail if you’re not careful.
- If you want to avoid the potential for systemic diseases, make sure to choose dental implants to replace your missing teeth. Tooth loss is closely tied to lifespan. With more individuals over the age of 65 living with 5 or more missing teeth, the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis increases. You can avoid this by replacing your teeth with permanent prosthetics and taking better care of your smile, which will positively impact your overall health and wellbeing.
- Dental implants promote jawbone preservation. Because they are surgically placed into your jawbone, they act like a tooth’s root. As a result, they will continue to stimulate this area of your facial structure, preventing changes in your facial appearance and the potential for dental drift, which can occur when missing teeth are not replaced quickly.
- Oral sores and irritation no longer need to be a concern because dental implants are integrated into the bone tissue and do not sit on top of your gums like a traditional denture. When changes in your facial shape occur, your denture may no longer fit correctly, resulting in irritation and discomfort. However, this will not happen with dental implants because of their unique and permanent placement.
- You will find that when placed by an implant dentist in San Antonio who is trained and has experience in placing dental implants that you will have a high success rate of around 98%. This will only fall to 90-95% after 10 years, making it a trusted and longer-lasting method of treatment for tooth loss.
- Saving money is possible with dental implants, although that may be difficult to believe because of the costly upfront investment. However, when you consider the dental adhesives, specialized cleaning solutions, and frequent adjustments and repairs you’ll need every 5-7 years with your dentures, it’s easy to see why dental implants can save you lots of money when it comes to tooth replacement.
- When committing to a good oral hygiene routine and making sure you avoid bad habits, you can expect your dental implants to last 30 years or even a lifetime!
Who Dental Implants Can Help
Dental implants in San Antonio are a versatile tooth replacement treatment that can fit a variety of patients’ needs. Whether you’re missing a single tooth, several, or all of your teeth, implants are able to restore the entire structure of them, from the roots upward. In cases where patients may not be great candidates for the treatment right away, we’re able to conduct preparatory procedures to help get them there, like bone grafts, sinus lifts, or periodontal therapy. Below, you can learn more about what we look for in good candidates for dental implants and how we’re able to restore your smile, regardless of how many gaps it has.
Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
As mentioned above, not every patient is a good candidate for dental implants right away. During your initial consultation with your implant dentist in San Antonio, you’ll receive a thorough evaluation of your teeth and gums, and our team will discuss any goals you have for the procedure and go over your medical history with you. Before we schedule your dental implant surgery, we’ll make sure you fit a few of our requirements, including:
- Enough jawbone density to undergo osseointegration.
- Dedicated to maintaining good oral hygiene.
- Is having any current medical conditions that could impact the healing process treated.
- Has realistic expectations of the procedure.
- Have any existing oral health problems treated.
Once we’ve determined that you’re a good candidate, we’ll create a customized treatment timeline for you and walk you through it so you know exactly what to expect throughout the process.
Missing One Tooth
If you are missing just one tooth, you will receive a single dental implant. After the implant has fused with the bone around it, our team will attach a custom crown to it to replace the visible portion of your tooth.
Missing Multiple Teeth
For multiple missing teeth in a row, an implant bridge may be your best treatment option. Whereas a traditional bridge relies on the adjacent teeth for support, an implant-supported restoration is anchored in the jawbone, making it as secure and natural-feeling as possible.
Missing All Teeth
Instead of replacing an entire arch of missing teeth with a traditional full denture, we can rebuild your smile with an implant denture. This type of denture is securely anchored into your jawbone with several dental implants to give you a strong, confident smile. With either removable or fixed options, you won’t ever have to worry about your new teeth slipping or popping out of place!
All-on-4 Dental Implants
Some patients who are missing all their teeth in one or both arches may be a candidate for All-On-4 dental implants. This special type of implant denture is held in place with only four strategically placed dental implants to maximum stability with minimal surgery. What’s more, most patients are able to receive replacement teeth the same day of their dental implant surgery! During your consultation, we’ll review all your options with you and help you pick the one that’s best for your unique needs.Learn More About All-On-4 Dental Implants
Understanding the Cost of Dental Implants
The cost of dental implants in San Antonio varies from patient to patient. No two cases are alike and depending on a variety of factors, you may pay more or less than a neighbor or friend. While it is true they are costlier upfront than dentures or dental bridges, you ultimately receive far greater results that not only boost your confidence but also allow for a longer-lasting smile, improved oral health, and a better quality of life. At New Image Dentistry, we always want you to feel confident about your decision to pursue dental treatment, which is why we’ll discuss the estimated cost long before we ever begin. Also, we will go to great lengths to help make your dental implant placement affordable by maximizing your dental benefits, providing an in-office dental plan if you’re uninsured, or helping you apply for flexible financing.
Preliminary Treatments & Dental Implant Surgery
When looking at the breakdown of costs, you will find that preliminary treatments may or may not be included. During your consultation, we will determine if you require bone grafting, sinus lifts, periodontal therapy, or even tooth extraction. These treatments are designed to ensure optimal success when your dental implants are put into place, but not everyone will need them. Only if you have jawbone deterioration, gum disease, or severe tooth decay can you expect to be recommended for preliminary treatments.
Also, your dental implant surgery will incur its own fee. Fortunately, the team at New Image Dentistry is pleased to provide start-to-finish treatment in-office, which means you won’t need a referral to see an outside specialist for the surgical portion of your treatment. This eliminates the need to pay a separate fee to another practice.
The Parts of Your Dental Implant
Your implant dentist in San Antonio will explain how the parts of your dental implant will be factored into the overall costs. You may not realize it, but the various components that make up your new smile each have their own price tag:
- How many implants you will need – The more dental implants you need, the higher your costs. Only one titanium implant to replace a single tooth will cost much less than between 4 and 8 implants to replace an entire arch of teeth.
- The materials used – Titanium and zirconia are most commonly used, each with its own cost.
- The type of restoration – Versatile in their ability to address all types of tooth loss, dental implants can be combined with an implant crown, bridge, or denture. The cost to produce a single crown is less than a full denture; however, when you look at how much you will pay over a lifetime with traditional dentures, you will find it is more cost-effective to go with implant dentures.
- The brand – At New Image Dentistry, we decide which brand of dental implants to use; however, you can trust that we will go over all the fine details as to why we use a particular brand and manufacturer. Yes, there are cheaper options available, but if you want a product that lasts a long time and ensures optimal oral health, it’s better to go with a higher-priced dental implant than one of the cheaper ones on the market.
How Dental Implants Can Save You Money
It may not seem possible, but the truth is you can save a lot of money by choosing dental implants in San Antonio. Here’s how:
- You won’t need dental adhesives like you would if you wear traditional dentures.
- You won’t require special cleaning solutions like denture cleaner to keep your smile healthy.
- You won’t be visiting the dentist every few years to have your prosthetic adjusted or replaced.
- You won’t spend money to treat systemic diseases caused by tooth loss (i.e., osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, etc.).
Does My Dental Insurance Cover Dental Implants?
Some dental insurance companies are coming around to the idea of providing coverage for dental implants; however, this isn’t the majority. While they may not agree to pay for your surgical placement, they may provide coverage for your preliminary treatments and customized restoration. Our team at New Image Dentistry will review your plan, discuss your available benefits, and ensure you maximize them to get the most out of your policy while paying as little as possible out of pocket.
Making Dental Implants Affordable
If you are uninsured or need help to pay the remaining balance left behind after filing on your insurance, we are pleased to provide an In-Office Dental Plan as well as flexible financing through CareCredit. Here you can apply for a low or zero interest payment plan that allows you to break up the cost of your treatment into monthly installments. This will enable you to better manage your budget while achieving the smile you deserve. You may also inquire about:
- Lending Point
- Alpheon Credit
- Citi Health Card
- Pre-payment “Lay-Away” options
- Split payment options
Dental Implant Salvage
While the success rate for dental implant placement is extremely high, there are instances where a dental implant can fail. When this happens, dental implant salvage will be necessary in order to fix the problem. Depending on the reason for the initial failure, we will evaluate the tooth-in-question and formulate a plan. Whether it is caused by bone loss or the development of gum disease, we will work hard to ensure you get to keep your implants for as long as possible.
Dental Implant FAQs
Dental implants as we know them have been around for decades now, but nevertheless you probably have some questions about the procedure. Our New Image Dentistry team is here to clear up anything you don’t understand; the more you know about dental implants, the more confident you can be about the decisions you make related to your care. Do you have any questions that aren’t covered by the FAQs listed below? Call our office today to let us know.
How Long Will My Dental Implants Last?
The answer to that depends on whether you give your dental implants proper maintenance. Fortunately, this is as simple as brushing and flossing on a regular basis as well as visiting our team every six months for a dental checkup – in other words, the same things you would do to take care of your natural teeth. The average lifespan for dental implants that receive proper care is over 30 years. In many cases, they can last the rest of a patient’s life. Try to avoid any habits that might damage or compromise your implants, like crunching ice or using any kind of tobacco product.
Is There Anything I Shouldn’t Eat with Dental Implants?
When you first get your dental implants, you’ll need to maintain a soft food diet while your mouth is recovering. You also need to avoid using your implant post to chew until a restoration can be placed on it. Once your mouth has healed and your crown, bridge, or denture is in place, you’ll be able to eat whatever you want again! You will need to be cautious around hard or sticky foods, however, as they can damage your dental implants in much the same way that they can damage your natural teeth.
What Can Cause Dental Implants to Fail?
Dental implants can fail for a few different reasons. One of the most common causes is peri-implantitis, which is a type of gum disease that specifically occurs around dental implant posts and attacks the tissues holding them in place. Another likely culprit is a failed osseointegration process, meaning that the jawbone never fuses with the implant. Common risk factors for implant failure also include chronic teeth grinding and tobacco use. That said, it should be noted that dental implant failure is actually quite rare, as the procedure has an extremely high success rate. We’ll provide you with guidelines for keeping the risk of implant failure to a minimum.
Will People Be Able to Tell That I Have Implants?
Most people can’t tell the different between a real tooth and a restoration supported by implants. This is because the restoration will be fully customized to match the size, shape, and shade of your other teeth. This gives dental implants a highly natural appearance. Also, there’s no chance that implant restorations will slip while you’re talking, chewing, or laughing, so you don’t have to worry about any potentially embarrassing incidents with your new teeth moving out of place.
Dental Implant Post-Op Instructions
If you want to make sure your new teeth remain in place for as long as possible, you must listen closely to the tips provided and adhere to the dental implant post-op instructions in San Antonio. Everything from what you can expect post-surgery to what you should and shouldn’t eat as well as how to properly clean your teeth are important for you to know. Dental implants are capable of lasting at least 30 years or more, so if you want to get the most out of your investment, make sure you are following the list below.
What to Do Directly After Dental Implant Surgery
Once you are finished with dental implant surgery, you can expect to feel somewhat sore once you get home and the anesthesia wears off. While getting plenty of rest is important, you’ll need to avoid the following to ensure a swift and successful healing process:
- Do not spit or use a straw.
- Do not poke or prod your implants, as they need to fuse with the bone and that takes time.
- Quit smoking and using tobacco products at least two weeks before your surgery and wait at least a few months until picking back up on your habit. Of course, when moving forward with dental implants in San Antonio, it’s a great opportunity to kick the habit for good.
- Use a tissue to wipe away any saliva to avoid spitting it out.
It’s normal to experience some side effects once your implant dentist in San Antonio is finished installing your titanium posts. Should you notice any of the following, do not be alarmed:
- Minor discomfort, as you can use a cold compress or an over-the-counter pain reliever
- Minimal bleeding, which can be remedied by applying gentle pressure with clean gauze to the area
- Minimal swelling can occur for at least one week but can be reduced with the help of a cold compress
After any oral surgery, there’s a good chance you’ll crave something you probably shouldn’t have (i.e., juicy hamburger, steak, French fries), but at least for a few days, it is best if you eat soft foods that won’t place additional pressure on your implant posts. Some of the best include:
- Scrambled eggs
- Yogurt or ice cream
- Soup (warm, not hot)
- Mashed potatoes
Because your implant posts need to fuse with the bone to create the necessary stability and foundation for your new teeth, you’ll need to avoid hard, crunchy foods. Once you begin to feel better, though, and you no longer experience achiness or soreness, you can begin to incorporate normal, solid food into your daily diet.
Health & Oral Hygiene
Keeping your mouth clean is essential if you want to avoid the potential for infection. But to do this, you’ll need to be very careful about how you maintain your smile during the healing phase of treatment. To do this, you’ll need to:
- Wait 24 hours before brushing your teeth like normal. When maneuvering around your implant posts, be very careful so as not to irritate or disrupt them.
- Avoid any mouthwash that contains alcohol (i.e., Scope, Listerine).
- Instead, rinse your mouth with warm saltwater 2-3 times each day. This will encourage faster healing and reduce any bad bacteria inside the mouth. If necessary, our team can provide a prescription mouthwash if you prefer.
What to Do After Your New Teeth Are Attached
The final stage of the implant process is receiving your customized restoration. While it does take between 3-6 months to completely heal before having it put into place, it’s well worth the wait. Once equipped with your new teeth, you may experience some slight sensitivity, but it is only temporary and can be remedied with an over-the-counter pain reliever. After this fades, you can begin to fully enjoy your new and improved smile for years to come.
Maintaining & Caring for Your Dental Implants
Like real teeth, dental implants are designed to last the rest of your life, but you need to make sure you’re taking good care of them so that they stay firmly in your mouth for years to come. Fortunately, implant maintenance is very simple. In fact, it’s not much different than caring for natural teeth in that it mainly involves excellent oral hygiene combined with common sense precautions for protecting your smile. If you have questions about what you can do to maintain your implants, please call our office today.
Make Oral Hygiene a Priority
Good oral hygiene is one of the most important cornerstones of dental implant care in San Antonio. Even though dental implants can’t get cavities, the tissues holding them in place can still be damaged by gum disease. If you don’t keep the area around the implant clean, an infection could develop, and the dental implant could come loose as a result. Keep the area around the implant free of bad bacteria by brushing and flossing thoroughly twice daily for two minutes at a time.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Harmful oral bacteria feed on sugar and starch. If you want to protect your gums, you need to be careful not to eat too many foods that contain these ingredients. Instead, eat more vegetables, leafy greens, dairy products, and lean proteins. All of these nutrients contribute to healthier gums. In particular, foods that are rich in Calcium and Vitamin C are known to contribute to an environment where dental implants can thrive and last for years.
Break Bad Habits
Any habit that can wear down or break natural teeth can also do damage to dental implants. You need to identify any harmful oral habits that could harm your implants and work on breaking them as soon as possible. Particularly harmful habits include:
- Smoking or using other tobacco products
- Biting your fingernails
- Chewing on the end of your pen or pencil
- Tearing open packages with your teeth
- Crunching ice
We can offer tips for breaking harmful habits if you have trouble dropping them on your own. For example, if you’re tempted to chew on something, you may want to keep sugar-free gum on hand.
Protect Your Dental Implants
Even low-contact sports can carry a risk of getting hit in the mouth. Whether or not a mouthguard is required, it’s a good idea to wear one in order to keep your implants safe. You can also wear a mouthguard at night to keep your dental implant safe from the side effects of bruxism (teeth grinding).
Schedule Regular Dental Checkups
Your implant dentist in San Antonio can catch problems with your dental implant early on and treat them before they have a chance to develop further. Preventive care goes a long way towards helping you avoid more costly and timely issues later on.