Dental Implants

About Dental Implants

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root used in dentistry to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth. Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth. Since they transmit chewing forces to the jawbone, it helps to reduce bone loss and preserve facial structure. This is why many leading dental organizations now recognize dental implants as the standard of care for tooth replacement.

Who is a candidate?

Dental implants can be placed in most adults who are in good to moderate health. They are not typically placed in adolescents until they have reached their full expected physical maturity. Certain uncontrolled medical conditions may decrease the effectiveness of implant treatment, so be sure to discuss your full medical history with your doctor before beginning treatment.

Every patient is different and patient results may vary. Only a trained clinician can determine the best treatment plan for you. Please ask your doctor to explain the benefits and risks to see if tooth replacement with implants is right for you.

Dental Implant FAQ

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about dental implants. if you don’t find the answer to your specific question here, we invite you to contact us directly.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are a type of implant dentistry that provides a foundation for replacement teeth. Typically, a dental implant is a small titanium post that takes the place of the root of damaged or lost teeth. They are surgically placed into the jaw to hold the restorations that replace either a single tooth or group of teeth. The new tooth fuses into place in your jaw (also known as osseointegration) and looks identical to a natural tooth.

Dental implant placement is used to treat diseases, such as periodontal disease, and can be an important part of the health care for your teeth.

The implants are designed to transmit the force of chewing directly to the jawbone, which helps reduce bone loss and preserves facial structure.

What to know before getting dental implants?

Dental implant surgery is usually an outpatient procedure done in a dental office. Anesthesia — either local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia — is used so that the patient doesn’t feel any pain.

It’s typically a multi-step, multi-appointment process starting with removing the damaged tooth and root, then placing the dental implant and abutments, then fitting the replacement tooth. The entire process may take several months to allow for proper healing in between the steps.

As with any surgery, talk to your dentist or prosthodontist to know what you need to do to prepare yourself ahead of time. Some patients need to take antibiotics prior to the procedure, although that’s not always the case.

After full healing, you’ll be able to bite and chew food just as you would with your natural teeth. But you’ll want to eat softer foods right after oral surgery. Talk to your dentist so you can have the proper after-surgery care.

What are some alternatives to dental implants?

While dental implants are the best option for tooth loss in most cases, there are certain conditions that may make a patient not a candidate for the procedure.

Alternatives to dental implants include full or partial removable dentures, tooth-supported fixed bridges, and resin-bonded bridges. It may be tempting to do nothing to replace a missing tooth or teeth, but there are risks and potential problems involved in doing nothing.

It’s always best to consult with your dentist to explore your options and to make the best decision for your overall oral health.

How long does a dental implant procedure take?

How long a dental implant procedure takes is determined by the specific conditions present. Each patient is unique.

However, in general, you can expect that the entire dental implant procedure — from removing the damaged tooth or teeth, placing the implant(s), to fitting the replacement tooth or teeth — can take several months.

Each individual appointment of the process usually takes a few hours.

How long do dental implants last?

The titanium base of the dental implant can last a lifetime with proper routine dental care like brushing and flossing and regular dental check-ups at least every 6 months.

The replacement tooth or teeth may need to be replaced after 15 to 20 years due to normal wear and tear, but some last longer.

How much do dental implants cost?

Dental implants can be an investment of several thousands of dollars per single implant. If the implants will support a bridge to replace multiple teeth, the investment will be higher.

However, dental implants are a long-lasting solution and the initial cost can be considered a long-term investment in the health of your mouth and the beauty of your smile.

Are dental implants safe?

Yes. Dental implants have been used for multiple decades and are very safe. However, there are rare complications, and dental implants aren’t for everyone. This is why it’s critical to talk to your dentist about all the pros and cons of dental implants for your specific case.

What can you not do after dental implants?

After the full healing process, you’ll be able to bite and chew food with your dental implants just as you would with your own teeth.

In the short-term, you may want to eat soft foods and avoid foods that are extra crunchy, sticky, and/or acidic.

Always talk to your dentist to get their recommendations for your specific situation.

Do dental implants hurt?

No. After full healing, dental implants should not hurt at all. There may be some discomfort right after implant surgical procedures, but it can be managed with pain medication and shouldn’t last very long.

And you shouldn’t have any pain at all during the surgery itself because of the anesthesia and/or sedation you’ll be given.

Do dental implants look real?

Yes! Dental implants are designed to look, feel, and function just like natural teeth. Nobody but you and your dentist should even know that you have them.

Are dental implants worth it?

While the determination of being “worth it” is subjective, most experts and patients alike believe dental implants are worth the time and investment of getting them.

For example, neutral third-party MedicineNet lists the benefits of dental implants being worth it in regards to appearing like real teeth, ensuring that you can chew and eat normally, being both durable and convenient, and even improving your self-esteem because they can restore your confidence in your smile.

And makes the observation that implants are worth it for the bone health benefits. Since the implant is essentially replacing the root of your tooth, “this means that — although it is still possible — bone loss is much less likely.”

Is it better to get a bridge or an implant?

There are valid reasons for choosing to get a bridge, just as there are for valid reasons choosing an implant. To decide what’s the right choice for you, it’s always best to talk to your dentist about your specific case and concerns.

In general, though, a bridge usually costs less than an implant. A bridge replaces a missing tooth (or teeth) with replacement teeth that attach to nearby natural teeth, so getting a bridge doesn’t involve surgery. And the time required for the process is much less than for an implant.

An implant, on the other hand, is a permanent restoration of a missing tooth (or teeth) that is mounted into your jawbone. This is why implants generally have less of an impact on normal speech, chewing, and maintaining healthy dental hygiene. Implants also last longer than bridges — 15-20 years or more as compared to 5-7 years for a bridge.

Can dental implants be done in a day?

No, dental implants cannot be done in a day. Getting dental implants is a multi-step process to remove the damaged tooth or teeth, to place the implant(s), and then to fit the replacement tooth or teeth.

The process takes multiple appointments, usually over a few months. But it could be up to a 6-month period, depending on how a particular patient responds to each step of the process.

What is the success rate of dental implants?

Dental implants are highly successful both in regards to the health and safety of the patient and the effectiveness of the implant itself. In fact, Healthline reports that dental implants have a 10-year success rate of 97%. Implant failure is very low.

Can dental implants get infected?

While not very common, it is possible for dental implants to get infected. The infection is called peri-implantitis. Similar to gum disease, the infection causes inflammation, redness, pain and trouble chewing, and sometimes bleeding, fever, and/or a bad taste in the mouth.

You can prevent infections by practicing good oral hygiene and being extra careful around the implant site. Make sure to also go to all of your follow-up appointments with your oral surgeon.

There are different treatment options that a dentist may prescribe to treat infected dental implants. If you are having any abnormal issues with a dental implant, it’s important to see your dentist right away before the condition gets worse.

Additional Blog Posts about Dental Implants You May Find Helpful

There's a lot of information to cover about dental implants. We also discuss them in the following blog posts:
  • Congenitally Missing Teeth
  • Learn the Benefits of Dental Implants
  • Common Cosmetic Dental Procedures
  • How Much Does it Usually Cost for Dental Implants?
  • About Dr. Lovik Mirzaeian

    We would like to welcome you to our practice and assure you that your ultimate satisfaction is our goal. Dr. Lovik Mirzaeian has achieved extensive training in multidisciplinary dental treatments. His credentials include Dental Implants, Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Crowns, Full Mouth Reconstruction, Endodontics, Oral Surgery, Orthodontics, and Sleep Sedation.

    Dr. Lovik Mirzaeian can fix your teeth, restore sore gums, and brighten your smile without discomfort. With sedation dentistry, you'll feel like you've slept through your appointments. You can have years of dental treatment done in just a few appointments. No more hiding your smile behind your hand or putting up with pain.

    As a quality minded dentist, Dr. Mirzaeian directs and works closely with the technicians who provide assistance fabricating the materials used in your dental treatment. Practicing the art of dentistry since 2003, Dr. Lovik Mirzaeian provides the finest quality dental care available today. Dr. Mirzaeian has extensive experience in general and cosmetic surgery such as crowns, bridges, porcelain veneers, bonding, implants, dentures, partials, extractions, tooth colored fillings, teeth whitening, root canals and all other types of dentistry to create that winning smile you so desire. Through his frequent participation in continuing education courses, Dr. Mirzaeian ensures that his patients always receive the latest, most effective treatments possible.

    Dr. Mirzaeian is an honors graduate of the University of San Francisco California School of Dentistry, where he received first-rate training in all aspects of general dentistry. Through a combination of state of the art technology, sensible treatment plans and genuine devotion to the unique needs of each patient Dr. Mirzaeian preserves healthy teeth and gums, alleviates oral discomfort and improves the appearance of smiles on a daily basis. He has applied his unique blend of artistic and technical skill to produce durable and aesthetic results in thousands of patients. A young dentist with a grasp of the most innovative, minimally invasive new procedures, Dr. Mirzaeian is dedicated to lifelong learning through continuing education courses.

    Dr. Mirzaeian is licensed by the Dental Board of California and is a member of the American Dental Association, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and California Dental Association.