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Dental Implants

If you have had to live your life with lost or severely damaged teeth, Mission Valley dentist Landon Libby, DDS and our entire team understand how difficult it can be to chew, speak, or even smile. Dental implants can be an amazing solution to replace one or more missing, broken, or failing teeth. In addition to being an excellent single tooth replacement, dental implants have the power to restore an entire row of missing teeth in your upper or lower jaw! By and large, dental implants are considered the most natural-looking (and feeling) restoration to replace one or several missing teeth. Our doctors work together to create a treatment plan custom-tailored to help you reclaim a stunning smile and fully functional bite with dental implants.

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What are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is a titanium post designed to function like a natural tooth root. While one end of the post is surgically implanted into the jawbone, the opposite end contains a connective abutment that secures an artificial tooth — typically a dental crown, bridge, or denture. Naturally strong and resistant to cavities, dental implants are considered a highly desirable form of tooth replacement for patients of various dental needs and backgrounds. With proper oral hygiene, dental implants can offer a predictable way to replace a tooth that often lasts forever and won’t decay. Unlike removable dentures or unanchored dental crowns and bridges, implants will not shift or slip in place and require no changes to a regular, healthy dental hygiene routine.

Implants can be a life-changing solution to give back a smile to someone who has lost hope, to restore chewing ability for a patient who thought they would never eat certain foods again, and to reclaim confidence in speaking and living life to the fullest!

What Benefits Do Dental Implants Offer?

Dental implants are the only tooth replacement option to restore both the tooth root and body. Due to the fact that they’re secured to the jawbone, dental implants are considered the restorations that look and feel most similarly to natural teeth. Some of the primary benefits of dental implants include:

  • Implants can last a lifetime with proper care.
  • Dental implants have a 98% success rate for safe and reliable care.
  • Implants may reduce or prevent rapid bone loss in the jaw after tooth loss.
  • Each dental crown is designed to look and feel natural.
  • Dental implants reduce the risk of losing multiple teeth after tooth loss.
  • Implants do not affect working teeth and can improve your overall oral health.

Implants can replace a single missing tooth, but they can also stabilize a denture — this provides increased comfort for patients who wear a denture, as well as more effective chewing, speaking, and smiling.

“The procedure I had to have done was quick and painless. I like going to the dentist again. Everyone was friendly and professional. This is my favorite dentist by far. From Kristina and Meghan to Linda to Danielle. The dentist was professional and friendly as well. A five star outfit.”
Michael W.

Are Dental Implants Right for Me?

Most patients find that dental implants improve their appearance, speech, comfort, and food choices by making it easier to chew. If one or more of the following circumstances applies to you, dental implants may be ideal:

  • You are missing one or more teeth.
  • You are tired of having broken, hurting, and decayed teeth.
  • You have ample amounts of bone to secure implants.
  • Your gums and tissues are healthy.
  • You are unwilling or unable to wear removable dentures.
  • Your jawbone has reached full growth.

In some situations, dental implants may not be the best choice to replace your missing teeth. In order for implants to successfully integrate with the jawbone, patients must have a clean, healthy mouth and an adequate amount of jawbone support. If you require gum disease treatment or bone grafting, these services will be performed before implant surgery. Dr. Libby will listen to your concerns and evaluate the state of your oral health to help you learn whether implants are the best option to achieve your goals.

Dental Implants vs. Dental Crowns

Dental implants and crowns are excellent restorations that can both help replace or restore damaged teeth. However, the two treatments are not interchangeable — dental implants require oral surgery, therefore they’re usually utilized when a patient’s concerns are relatively more severe when compared to the dental crown procedure. In addition, implants are only utilized when a missing tooth needs replacing, while crowns can be placed when a tooth is damaged yet still intact.

With dental implants, patients can restore the function and appearance of their smile with results that look very natural. Plus, implants stimulate the underlying jawbone and help prevent bone recession caused by lost teeth. On the other hand, dental crowns are designed to reinforce weakened or decayed teeth. In many cases, a dental crown can help prevent an extraction by strengthening the tooth and protecting it from further damage. It’s also not uncommon for a patient to replace a missing tooth with an implant-crown restoration, which allows the implant to function like a natural tooth root while the crown acts as the visible tooth body.

Robert Implant Story

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What are My Tooth Replacement Options With Dental Implants?

A dental implant is a “one-tooth” solution to a “one-tooth” problem, meaning restoring more than one consecutive missing tooth will typically require either a dental bridge or denture to fill the gap. While dental implants can be used to replace each individual tooth, this may require more bone volume than the amount available. Dr. Libby and our team of dentists will talk to you about your options and recommend an ideal treatment plan for your unique needs.

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Single-Tooth Implants

A single dental implant can be an excellent option to restore the look and function of a lost or severely damaged tooth. Once the implant is positioned and successfully fuses with your mouth, a custom-made dental crown will be connected to the abutment, thereby completing your restoration. Your new tooth should blend in perfectly with your smile and feel entirely natural!

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Implant-Supported Dentures

We can also use dental implants to support a set of dentures. Traditional dentures, which are usually attached to the gums with pastes or other adhesives, can be very unstable and insecure. This often causes the dentures to slip along the gumline and may make it impossible to eat foods that are crunchy or tough. Unlike traditional dentures that rest on the gums, implant-supported dentures are anchored to the jawbone by dental implants — this can allow patients to eat, speak, and chew more confidently. Implant dentures are designed to be a permanent treatment for patients missing multiple teeth, and should look, feel, and function like real teeth!

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How is the Dental Implant Procedure Performed?

Dental implant surgery is generally performed as an outpatient procedure. It is performed in a dental office or hospital, with no overnight stay required. Self-dissolving stitches are typically used. At Libby Dental, there is no need to fear a dental implant procedure! We start with a customized plan to give you the exact implant to fit your needs.

Dental implant surgery is performed in phases, with the entire process lasting anywhere from three to nine month. This includes time off for healing and the growth of new bone around the implant — a process known as “osseointegration.”

  • Phase One: This first stage of the dental implant process involves an oral surgery to place your implant into the jawbone. This is followed by a few months of rest while your implant begins to fuse with your mouth. Sedation dentistry can be used as anesthesia throughout this placement procedure. Our dentists will make the area numb, and create a spot for the implant to replace your tooth root.

We then let the area heal for several months to allow your implant to naturally integrate with your gums and jawbone. Most dental implants are made with biocompatible titanium. The process of your bone healing around the implant is called “osseointegration” — this means that your body actually likes the material and grows around it, making your implant a part of you.

  • Phase Two: The abutment is placed. A period of healing follows, after which we can build your new tooth or teeth onto the implant so your entire restoration looks and feels like a tooth was never missing!

Some individuals may require a bone graft surgery prior to getting dental implants due to a lack of available bone support. This is common in patients who have a jawbone that is too soft, or not thick enough to sustain the implant. Whether bone grafting is necessary will be determined during your consultation visit.

What Can I Expect During the Implant Surgery Recovery Period?

Swelling, tenderness, and minor bleeding are common reactions after dental implant surgery, but Dr. Libby and our team will provide you with detailed aftercare instructions to help ensure you have a smooth recovery period. There is usually no significant downtime following implant surgery, but the recovery period may last one to two days. There may also be certain dietary and activity restrictions immediately after your procedure, which Dr. Libby will go over with you to ensure you’re well-informed of what to expect after treatment. It generally takes four to six months for the osseointegration (bone fusing) process to be completed, at which point you will be able to receive your permanent implant restorations. After your dental implants are fully fused with the jawbone, you should be able to enjoy renewed functionality for many decades.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

Dental implants can provide you with a lifetime of enhanced comfort and confidence as long as you take good care of your teeth. Fortunately, implants only require the same regular daily maintenance necessary to keep your natural teeth healthy to remain in good condition. Frequent brushing and flossing, as well as continuing to attend your semi-annual dental appointments, are the only measures necessary to help ensure your implants are effective for as long as possible. We also recommend wearing a mouthguard or night guard if you have a habit of clenching or grinding your teeth while asleep, as unnecessary pressure can accelerate wear and tear on your implants (and teeth in general). All in all, dental implants can last forever if you practice good oral hygiene, do not smoke, and attend your regular dental appointments to monitor any potential concerns. 

How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?

The cost of dental implants varies based on a patient’s unique needs and the details of your treatment plan. Rest assured that our office will provide you with a personalized quote and related payment information at the time of your consultation. 

Missing teeth are incredibly damaging to your health. You may be unable to eat the nutritious foods you need in order to stay healthy, and your jawbone can even recede due to missing tooth roots. This can lead to further tooth loss, as well as a sunken appearance.

That said, dental implants are an investment in better health. After tooth loss, a dental implant can help improve your ability to chew foods you need in order to stay healthy. It can also protect your jawbone density and help you retain a youthful appearance. All of these benefits add up to a happier and more positive quality of life. With that in mind, we encourage you to seek out experienced, qualified implant providers rather than simply selecting the cheapest option. At Libby Dental, we offer CareCredit® for qualified patients who would like to pay for their dental implants in a series of smaller, more manageable installments.

Are There Alternatives to Dental Implants?

Dental implants are often praised for their ability to regenerate lost bone volume, but they are not the only tooth replacement options available. For individuals who would rather avoid oral surgery, dental bridges can be highly effective in restoring the function and appearance of missing teeth. These artificial teeth are meant to “bridge” the gap between healthy teeth, and replace a single tooth, multiple consecutive teeth, or an entire dental arch. Unlike implants, dental bridges can be affixed in as little as one to two appointments. There is no surgery required, and only a small amount of tooth preparation is necessary before treatment. That said, bridges do not strengthen your jaw like dental implants since there is no root to stimulate the underlying bone.

Choosing an Implant Dentist

When the correct conditions are present and the correct technique is followed by a good clinician, a dental implant will be fully successful over 98% of the time. This makes your implant dentist a vital part of your healthcare team.

Choosing an experienced implant dentist can be overwhelming. If you need a dentist to place dental implants, you should look for a dental professional who:

  • Helps you understand the value of dental procedures.
  • Is a trustworthy member of your healthcare team.
  • Can place both the titanium posts and the replacement teeth.
  • Continues to learn about new techniques and innovations.
  • Appreciates the intrinsic value of a beautifully healthy smile as well as its function.

Dr. Libby is an implant dentist who does more than place implant posts and new teeth. He places a high value on clear communication and doctor/patient relationships. Great dentistry starts with trust, and Dr. Libby recognizes this — which is why we take time to hear from you before we start working on your smile!

Our end goal is to make you feel better about yourself, your smile, and your health when you leave our office. If implant dentistry is what you need in order to do so, then Libby Dental is here to help!

Let’s Talk About Your Teeth

Have you lost one or more teeth? It happens. Let’s get you back to a healthy place! Call us at (619) 900-6742. We can bring you in for a helpful conversation about your dental health and treatment options. In the long run, you’ll save time worrying and be that much closer to good health and peace of mind!

Dr. Libby speaking with a patient