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What are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is made of a medical-grade titanium post, a connecting abutment, and a custom crown. Together, these parts replicate the function and appearance of a natural tooth. Dental implants can replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or all of your teeth (full-arch restoration). They are a popular option for replacing one or more teeth because they look, feel, and function just like a natural tooth. Many people who wear dentures or bridges switch to implants because they are more comfortable and preserve facial structure.

Regardless of the current state of your teeth, our board-certified oral surgeon, Dr. Karas, will create a treatment plan that restores your smile and oral health. Dr. Karas offers many types of dental implants in Walnut Creek, CA, to help patients achieve a healthier and more confident smile. Our practice uses advanced 3D scanning technology to map out the specifics of your treatment and track your progress along the way. Contact Muir Oral, Facial, & Dental Implant Surgery today to learn more about dental implants.

Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

The ideal candidate for a dental implant is in general good health. To receive a dental implant, you must have healthy gums and adequate jaw bone. Patients with gingivitis or who have experienced bone loss because of periodontal disease, trauma, or other conditions may not be suitable for dental implants. In many cases, we can place a bone graft to rebuild the jaw bone.

If you need to restore teeth but do not qualify for traditional implants, mini dental implants are an excellent alternative. Mini implants function just like traditional implants, but are much smaller and require less bone for support.

Types of Dental Implants and Tooth Reconstruction

There are different methods used to place a dental implant and two main categories of implants:

  • Endosteal implants are the most common type of implants. The post can either be a screw, cylinder, or bladed type, and your surgeon will determine the right one for you. Most patients who receive a dental implant today will receive an endosteal implant.
  • Subperiosteal implants are rarely used in implant dentistry today. Instead of being inserted into the jaw bone, they are placed on the bone inside of the gum tissue with the metal post protruding through the gums. This method was primarily used to hold dentures in place for patients with insufficient bone height.

Implant Options

Dental implants are a versatile solution that can serve your smile in many ways. We will modify treatment based on your specific needs.

  • Single Dental Implants. One dental implant replaces one missing tooth. This can be repeated throughout your mouth in any place where a tooth is missing.
  • Implant-Supported Bridges. Instead of grinding down natural teeth to support a bridge, dental implants can be used to support a bridge that replaces multiple teeth missing next to each other.
  • Immediate Implants. As soon as a tooth is extracted, we can place the dental implant post, providing there is enough jaw bone to support it. This reduces the total number of appointments necessary to restore the missing tooth.
  • Full-Arch Restoration. Multiple dental implants can support a permanent denture in one or both dental arches, resulting in a new and fully functioning smile. With life-changing and natural-looking results, this treatment is ideal for patients with many failing or missing teeth.
  • Mini Dental Implants. Similar to standard implants, mini dental implants have the same structure, only smaller. The surgery is less-invasive and an abutment is not required, because there is a small ball at the end of the post to hold the crown. Mini implants are great for patients who lack jaw bone density or who cannot undergo invasive surgery.

Dentures or Implants?

Dental implants are the most lifelike tooth replacement option because they fuse to the jaw bone. The post serves as an artificial tooth root, providing the same function and appearance as natural teeth.

Dentures can be a quick fix for missing teeth, but they often come with many inconveniences. You must take removable dentures out to eat, which can feel embarrassing in social situations. If not professionally fitted, dentures can cause sores or slip around when speaking.

However, dentures are non-invasive and there is no healing period, whereas you must wait for implant posts to heal. Some people wear dentures for many years and are satisfied, but many people turn to a more comfortable and healthier way of restoring their teeth and opt for dental implants.

Permanent Denture Replacement in Walnut Creek, CA

Dental implants eliminate these issues by providing secure, healthy, and comfortable tooth replacement. Through full-arch restoration, you can achieve a brand new smile through a fixed denture attached to several implant posts. Implant-supported prostheses provide natural-looking results and all the health benefits of dental implants, such as jaw bone loss prevention and full functionality. If you seek an alternative to full or partial dentures, contact us to learn about your options for denture replacement in Walnut Creek, CA.

The Dental Implant Procedure

Preparation

The first step in receiving dental implants is to visit our office for a consultation. At this appointment, we will take 3D scans of your mouth and discuss your treatment options. If dental implants are right for you, we will talk about your options for anesthesia and schedule your oral surgery. Dr. Karas will walk you through each step of the procedure and answer all of your questions.

Placing the Implant

On the day of surgery, Dr. Karas will administer the selected form of anesthesia. Some patients only require local anesthesia, while others receive IV sedation. He will make a small incision in the gum tissue, place the dental implant post, and place necessary sutures to close the incision. Dr. Karas will place a temporary crown to wear while you heal.

Types of Anesthesia

There are three main types of anesthesia that we use at our practice:

Installing the Abutment

After the implant is placed, it will take several months to fuse with the jaw bone in a process known as osseointegration. Once this process is complete, Dr. Karas will attach an abutment to the implant post. This abutment serves as a connective piece that attaches the crown to the implant.

To attach the abutment, you will return to our office for a second surgical procedure. Dr. Karas will uncover the implant and attach the abutment. This part of the implant process is minimally invasive and only requires local anesthesia to numb the area. In some cases, Dr. Karas can attach the abutment during the initial surgery and a second surgical procedure is not necessary.

Fitting the Crown

It will take about two weeks for the gum tissue to heal after placing the abutment. Once healed, you will visit your restorative dentist to begin the process of creating your custom crown. Your dentist will take impressions and fabricate a crown that matches the color of your other teeth for natural-looking results. Once the crown has been created, your dentist will attach it to your implant, completing the dental implant process.

Recovery

At Muir Oral, Facial, & Dental Implant Surgery, we keep our patients informed throughout every step of the oral surgery process. We will provide you with post-operative instructions after your dental implant surgery, which you should follow closely to ensure a speedy recovery and optimal results.

After dental implant surgery, many patients resume their normal routines within a day or two, although it may take up to 2 weeks for the surgical site to heal. Take the time you need to heal and, as with any type of surgical procedure, expect some ‌swelling or discomfort as your mouth recovers. Here are some tips to help you recover after dental implant placement:

  • Bite on a gauze pad placed directly on the bleeding wound for 30 minutes to control excessive bleeding.
  • Apply an ice pack on the cheek in the area of surgery to minimize swelling.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and stick to soft foods on the day of surgery.
  • Rinse with warm salt water 4–5 times a day, especially after meals.
  • Resume brushing your teeth, but be gentle around the surgical areas.

How Much Do Dental Implants Cost in Walnut Creek, CA?

There is no flat rate for dental implants, because every patient is different. The cost of your dental implant treatment will depend on how many implants you need, your choice of anesthesia, your insurance coverage, and if you require additional procedures such as bone grafting or tooth extraction. During the consultation, we will provide you with a cost estimate for your treatment and discuss your payment options. To find out how much your dental implant would cost, contact Muir Oral, Facial, & Dental Implant Surgery to schedule your appointment.

Covering the Cost of Dental Implants

Our office is a provider for Delta Dental and Blue Shield PPO of California. We accept a variety of payment methods to make oral surgery accessible to more patients, including:

  • Visa®
  • Mastercard®
  • Discover®
  • Check
  • Cash
  • Debit Card
  • Insurance
Are Dental Implants Worth the Investment?

Dental implants are an investment in your long-term health. They do not slide around, cause sores, or require removal during eating and brushing. Dental implants have higher success rates and the potential to last a lifetime with proper care. While bridges or dentures may seem cheaper in the beginning, the cost of replacing them and treating more progressive bone loss can add up. By choosing implants now, you protect your oral health and can prevent costly surgeries.

Ways to Finance Your Dental Care

You have options to finance the cost of your dental implant treatment. Your insurance coverage, loan approval, and other circumstances will determine if you qualify for certain options and which one is right for you.

  • Dental Insurance. If you have dental or medical insurance, your policy may cover a portion of your treatment and you can repay the remaining balance on a monthly schedule.
  • Financing. With financing, you can pay for the cost of your treatment upfront and pay off your balance over time. Our office is an enrolled CareCredit® provider, and we can show you how to apply online if you wish to explore your financing options.

CareCredit

CareCredit is a healthcare credit card you can use to pay for treatments not covered by insurance, including oral surgery. You can choose short-term or long-term repayment options to fit your budget. Apply for your CareCredit® credit card in just a few minutes and, once approved, you can use your card to pay for treatment at any enrolled provider location nationwide.

Does Dental Insurance Cover Dental Implants?

Some insurance policies cover a portion of dental implant surgery. If your policy does not cover the surgical procedure, it may cover the implant crown. If your insurance covers part of your treatment, you will only be responsible for paying for the portion not covered. Check with your insurance provider directly prior to your procedure to learn the details of your coverage.

Are Implants Right for Me?

Dental implants are an excellent option for patients who have missing or failing dentition, or who currently wear dentures and seek a more convenient alternative. Whether you have been missing teeth for a long time or need to replace an existing tooth that cannot be saved, you likely qualify for dental implants. Even if jaw bone loss has occurred, Dr. Karas offers bone grafting treatment to rebuild the jaw bone and help make dental implants a possibility for more patients.

Dental implants may not be right for you if you take certain medications, have a suppressed immune system, or smoke. Smoking significantly impairs wound healing and can result in implant failure. Patients with periodontal disease must treat the disease before receiving implants because healthy bone and gums are essential to successful implant placement.

Advantages of Implants

Permanent Results

Because the implant post fuses with the jaw bone, your dental implant becomes a permanent part of your smile. With proper care, it can last a lifetime.

Restore Your Confidence

Missing a tooth can damage your self-esteem. Dental implants are designed to match your other teeth, and many people can’t distinguish between a dental implant and a natural tooth. Now, you can smile with confidence again!

Easy Maintenance

Care for a dental implant the same way as a natural tooth with regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits. Unlike dentures, dental implants remain in your mouth during eating and cleaning, adding to their convenience.

Improve Oral Health

A dental implant is the only tooth replacement option that prevents jaw bone loss. Removable appliances and dentures do not stimulate the jaw bone, while dental implants help maintain jaw bone integrity.

What Happens If I Don't Replace a Missing Tooth?

When a tooth is missing, neighboring teeth may shift into the open space, resulting in misalignment and bite problems. Crooked teeth are difficult to clean, which can increase the risk of tooth decay or further tooth loss.

Teeth roots stimulate the jaw bone when you chew, keeping the bone strong. Without a tooth root or implant post, the jaw bone will not receive stimulation and ‌deteriorate. As jaw bone loss progresses, facial features ‌sag, making you appear older than you actually are, and more significant dental shifting can occur. By replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant, you protect the jaw bone and your facial structure while preventing misalignment.

Can I Get an Implant Years After a Tooth Fell Out?

You can receive an implant many years after a tooth has fallen out as long as there is adequate jaw bone to support it. If a tooth has been missing for a while, the jaw bone has likely deteriorated in that area. Using bone grafts, Dr. Karas can rebuild the jaw bone and create a sturdy foundation for the implant. Even if you have been missing many teeth for a number of years, you can still achieve a complete smile with implant-supported dentures or multiple individual implants.

Where Can I Get Dental Implants in Walnut Creek, CA?

Muir Oral, Facial, & Dental Implant Surgery is your go-to destination for replacing missing teeth and improving oral health. Dr. Karas is a board-certified oral surgeon who also holds a medical degree and is committed to helping his patients achieve brighter, healthier smiles they can be proud of. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.



Nestor Karas, DDS, MD

Dr. Karas is a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon who holds a medical and a dental degree. He is a native to the Bay Area and has published extensively in a variety of oral surgery topics. Dr. Karas performs a broad scope of procedures in the safety and comfort of our surgical suites and has hospital privileges at John Muir Medical Center for patients with advanced surgical needs or severe medical conditions.

Hear From Dental Implant Patients

These patients can tell you about the firsthand experience undergoing dental implant treatment at our office.

Frequently Asked Questions: Dental Implants

Do dental implants hurt?

We make every effort to keep you as comfortable as possible. Most patients who receive dental implants report little to no discomfort. Local anesthesia is often used to numb the area, but we also offer laughing gas, IV sedation, and general anesthesia.

Do teeth implants look natural?

Dental implants are designed to look and feel just like natural teeth. The crown is custom-designed to match the size, shape, and color of your other teeth, making your implant indistinguishable. Dental implants are the most natural-looking option for tooth replacement, whether it’s a single tooth or many missing teeth.

What foods should I avoid after dental implants?

Avoid any food that could damage the implant, such as tough or sticky foods. Be sure to follow your post-operative instructions closely, as they will advise you on diet recommendations, activity restrictions, and how to ensure a speedy recovery.

Does food get stuck under dental implants?

Like any natural tooth, food can get stuck at the base of the dental implant. Regular brushing and flossing will clear any debris and leave your gums and teeth healthy and clean.

How much do tooth implants cost?

The cost of dental implants varies depending on the number of implants, anesthesia, insurance, and additional procedures. To find out how much your implants would cost, schedule an appointment at our office in Walnut Creek, CA.

How long do dental implants last?

The implant post fuses to the jaw bone and becomes a permanent addition to your smile. If the crown becomes damaged or worn down, your dentist can replace it as needed. The implant itself, however, can last for the rest of your life with proper care and good oral hygiene.

How much do mini dental implants cost?

Mini dental implants can cost less than traditional implants because they only require one surgical procedure. The total cost will depend on how many mini implants you need and if you require extraction. If you require multiple implants, you can save money by having them all placed in the same procedure versus multiple sessions.

Are dental implants safe?

Dental implants are safe and have been used in dentistry for many decades. The implant posts are made of medical-grade titanium. For patients with metal allergies, ceramic or nonmetal options are available.

What are same-day dental implants?

Same-day dental implants are implants that are placed on the same day as tooth extraction. Same-day implants are an excellent option for patients who need a damaged tooth extracted and have enough jaw bone to support an implant because they eliminate the need for a second surgical procedure to insert the implant.

How do dental implants work?

Dental implants replicate the function, appearance, and health benefits of natural teeth. The implant post acts like a tooth root, enabling you to eat and speak comfortably with the full functionality of a natural tooth. The crown is made to blend naturally with your other teeth, creating natural-looking results, and you can receive as many implants as you need to restore your smile.

How do I take care of my implants?

Take care of your implants the same way you take care of your other teeth. Brush and floss twice a day, and see your dentist for checkups to make sure your implants stay healthy. Dental implants do not require any special products or care routines. With good oral hygiene habits, you can keep your implants and teeth clean and promote excellent long-term oral health.

How Can We Help You?

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