Implants

Dental Implants are the best choice when it comes to replacing missing teeth. A dental implant is made of titanium; a material that the bone likes and will eventually grow around it treating it like your natural tooth. The dental implant is placed directly into your jawbone and then a cap is placed over the implant and functions like a natural tooth. The implant is very strong and can last a lifetime as long as proper dental care is followed.



When you first come in for dental implants, Dr. Wu will assess your health and check to see if you are a smoker or have complications such as diabetes to make sure that you are a good candidate before recommending dental implants.



After a tooth is lost, the neighboring teeth can start to drift. The bites are always in a balance of opposing forces but once something is missing the bite changes. Teeth will drift in a direction that is of the least resistance. Adjacent teeth can drift into the missing space and opposing teeth can drift out of the gums and into the opposing teeth arch until they meet something.

When a tooth is lost, there is an empty socket. The socket will form a blood clot which will then fill in with granulation tissue or scar tissue. Over the next several months, the granulation tissue will be replaced by bone as your bone cells grow in from the edges of the socket. The bone will not fill in completely however and the resulting socket will shrink in bone volume. Also if the missing tooth space is not stimulated with biting pressure then the bone will atrophy and shrink. This gives patients that "sunken in" facial appearance. This can give you an older appearance.

Dental implants act just like natural teeth. They are implanted into the missing tooth socket or a new socket can be created. The implant then acts as a new tooth root. The surrounding bone will then be stimulated to get stronger and denser to support the functioning tooth.

A dental implant is usually consists of in 3 parts:

  • The dental implant body is the part that is inserted into the socket of missing tooth.
  • The abutment connects between the implant to the prosthesis is used above.
  • The crown is what is seen above the gums and provides the biting platform.

Single Tooth Implant

When multiple teeth are missing, we can connect several implants to support a bridge, a denture, or a hybrid prosthesis.

Hybrid Prosthesis

There are certain factors which determine the procedures needed for successful dental implant treatment.

  • Medical history: uncontrolled diabetics, smokers, osteoporosis treatments
  • Bone volume: if a tooth has been missing for a long time then too much bone has resorbed away, many times we can graft more bone to the area to create an ideal situation
  • Compromised teeth space: if there has been significant drifting of the neighboring teeth then there is insufficient space to make a normal sized tooth. Orthodontics or tooth reshaping can help
  • Poor oral hygiene: even though dental implants can't get cavities they do need healthy gums. Implants are just as easy to clean as natural teeth.

There are other considerations but it is best to schedule a consultation to see if you are a good candidate for dental implants.

FAQ's

Does my insurance cover implants?

Some dental insurances are allowing implants to be considered as standard of care and are covering dental implants. However, to find out the exact implant coverage is to request a treatment plan preauthorization from your insurance. We will collect all the necessary x-rays and information possible and submit to your insurance to get a preauthorization.

Does it hurt?

Every protocol is followed to ensure the procedure has minimal discomfort and to ensure a high level of success. Local anesthesia is usually sufficient but if needed, sedation or general anesthesia is provided so that you can sleep during the entire procedure. Most people are given pain medication after treatment but some people find they don't have to use them.

Will it look and feel like a natural tooth?

Implants are as close to a natural tooth as possible. The implant acts just like a natural tooth root. The porcelain crown is made to match the shape and bite and color of your natural tooth. You can use this tooth just as you did with your natural tooth.

How long do they last?

Bridges typically last 7-15 years. Dentures need to be relined or refitted every 3-5 years as gum and bone shrink and soften. Statistically, implants lasts 20-30 years and have a 98% success rate.

What is the implant made from?

Implants are made from titanium very similar to the titanium used in knee and hip replacements which are performed in of millions of procedures annually. They are considered non-ferromagnetic( does not attract to or generate magnetism ).

Any eating restrictions?

Dentures can only bite up to half of your biting force. Since the implant is attached to the jawbone like a natural tooth, you can bite with the same force as your natural teeth.

I need bone grafting. Where do you get the bone from?

Bone grafting is a very common procedure done in dentistry. Your own bone will always be the best option however, we may need other sources when needed.  There are many types of bone available. There are bovine bone and human cadaver bone both can be used and have excellent rate of success. The bone have gone under a special process and sterilization so that it is very safe to use.

Dr. Wayne Wu is a dentist in Irvine. We provide all dental treatments including cleaning, veneers, cosmetic dentistry, crowns, extractions, implants, pediatric, orthodontics, periodontal and holistic protocols.