Dental Implants: A Royal Opportunity
For thousands of years, people have been trying to find a functional way for dental implants. The Pharaoh’s tried to replace lost teeth with pieces of bone and precious jewels. George Washington had his famous wooden dentures and other museums have jaws with pieces of rock or shell wired to them.
Why all this trouble? Chewing food is essential to living well and teeth are essential for chewing. Imagine how those Pharaohs would have responded if they had seen our modern dental implants technology. We have the privilege of being one of the first generations of humans with the opportunity to replace our teeth with something functionally and esthetically equivalent to new teeth.
Guided Implant Surgery: Safer Surgery, Better Results
We know that the word “surgery” is scary for most people. Surgery involves more than just drilling and filling. It makes people feel helpless and can seem unpredictable. We’ve had surgeries before ourselves and know that feeling. That’s why, as a team, we’re committed to making our patients’ implant surgeries as safe and predictable as possible.
One of the ways we do this at Alamo Dental Health is by using custom surgical guides for our dental implant surgeries. These guides are individually designed to uniquely fit each patient’s teeth, gums and bone and incorporate the implant surgery plan. Using a CT Scan, these guides are designed to match the exact placement and angle of each planned implant. The result: implants go exactly where they’re supposed to go, how they’re supposed to go without guessing or surprises. Guided surgery utilizes the latest technology to insure that surgeries are smooth, not scary.
Fun Fact: Our patient’s surgical guides are actually crafted by a local San Antonio company. We’re always excited to support local business and even more excited when it means better service and quicker turn-around times for our patients!
Replacing a Single Tooth: Out with the old, in with the new
Dental implants may have started out as simple denture stabilizers, but it didn’t take long for dentists and patients alike to figure out that dental implants were a fantastic way to actually replace individual teeth, root to crown.
Implants have become the gold standard for replacing lost teeth. Because of this, many people opt to replace missing teeth with implants one at a time as the teeth are lost, spreading the cost of major implant treatment out over the course of many years and insuring that they always have functional teeth to chew with and healthy bone levels.
If you’ve watched our video seminar about dental implants, then you know that one of the biggest problems that missing teeth create is bone loss. One of the major benefits of dental implants is that they retain bone in the jaw, slowing aging, protecting the face, sinuses and nerves and insuring a strong bite for years to come. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that actually prevent bone loss.
Replacing a Group of Teeth - Dental Implants Solution
Not only can implants replace single teeth, they can also replace groups of teeth. Anchoring small or large bridges or a partial denture to several implants can be a cost effective way of replacing a group of missing teeth at a significantly lower cost than replacing several teeth with individual dental implants.
Traditional Concept Complete Arch Replacement
Once dentists realized that implants were a great way of anchoring a bridge, they began to replace entire arches of missing teeth with bridges attached to anchoring dental implants. This was much less expensive than replacing all of the missing teeth with individual dental implants and it was much better for the bone than simply anchoring a denture. The challenge with this concept is that a person must have adequate bone throughout their whole jaw in order to place the implants without significant bone modification and grafting. Most patients who have lost all of their teeth in an arch have been missing some of those teeth for some time, leading to severe and uneven bone loss in some areas of their jaw and the need for a solution that either requires less bone or incorporates major bone reconstruction.
All-on-4 Complete Arch Replacement
All-on-4” treatment was a phenomenal breakthrough for patients missing all their teeth in one arch whose bone loss made Traditional Concept Complete Arch Replacement impossible. Dentists discovered that a full-arch of teeth could be securely anchored with just four to six implants even if patients had less bone. The secret was was placing those implants at specific special angles. In a feat of physics, dentists had found an ideal solution for the majority of patients missing all their teeth.
Requiring fewer implants and less bone reconstruction, All-on-4 is less expensive than Traditional Concept and incredibly more stable and functional than classic dentures. All-on-4 teeth look and function like real teeth and they don’t come out at night. Since this option became available, thousands of patients who couldn’t do traditional implants have benefited from All-on-4, transforming broken and missing teeth into beautiful, steak-chewing, apple-crunching smiles.
Snap-on Dentures Complete Arch Replacement
While All-on-4 is a fantastic treatment, it still doesn’t fit everyone’s bone or everyone’s budget. If you read our page on bone grafting, then you know that dentistry can do amazing things these days to build up lost bone; however, in some cases, the bone grafting process is not a good fit either for a patient’s health or their budget. In these cases, Snap-on Dentures, also called Overdentures, become the go-to choice because they are a stabilized version of a classic denture and require fewer implants than All-on-4 and consequently even less bone to work. Although they are a removable option that gets taken out for cleaning every night and are made from a less durable material than All-on-4 teeth, Snap-on Dentures look great, chew well and provide a high level of patient satisfaction.
If you are sick and tired of wiggly, wobbly dentures, and want a solution that fixes the wiggle without breaking the budget, adding dental implants to stabilize your current denture is a great option. Most existing dentures can be re-tooled to incorporate implant attachments, and, with the addition of 2-4 implants, a slippy-sloppy denture can become a stable Snap-on Denture.
What It’s Like Having Dental Implants? Watch and Hear Patty’s Experience.
Fear & Finances: The Biggest Objections
The thing we hear from nearly every person we meet who needs dental implants is either “I’m afraid that getting dental implants will hurt!” or “I’m afraid that paying for dental implants will hurt!” and sometimes we hear both! The truth is that having to sit with your mouth open while a dentist works on your teeth is intimidating to most people, and implants are not the cheapest dental solution around.
The good news is that sedation dentistry is allowing people, even those who have had terrible dental traumas growing up, to experience going to the dentist in a whole new way. Our office provides both IV Sedation and Conscious Oral Sedation for people who need help relaxing and who don’t want to feel anything physically or emotionally while in the dentist’s chair. Click here to learn more about Sedation Dentistry.
The bad news is that the cheapest dental solution is always a cleaning and exam. In other words prevention is ALWAYS cheaper than treatment. At the point when teeth need replacing, the only cheap option is doing nothing, which carries its own cost: toothlessness. Implants definitely cost more than cleanings and that is because they are an entirely different service just like getting a routine oil change is always less expensive than getting a car re-made at a collision shop after it has been totalled. Implants take a tooth or even a whole mouth that has been totalled and they bring it back to life, restoring function and beauty. Implants are not the cheapest treatment in a dental office; however, that does not mean that you always have to pay an arm and a leg. There are almost always several options available to you depending on your health and your budget. Schedule a free “Meet and Greet” implant consultation today and discover your options for treatment and financing.
Not Sure If You actually NEED an Dental Extraction?
Hearing you need an dental extraction when you’re not sure why it’s necessary. How can you know if the tooth truly needs to come out or if it could actually be restored? Isn’t it best to keep your own teeth as long as possible?
We meet new patients all the time coming in for a second opinion and feeling frustrated that another dentist wanted to take a tooth out that the patient is pretty sure could be saved. What we’ve discovered is that about 5% of the time, there was a restorative option available that was overlooked. However, about 95% of the time, the tooth needs to be extracted and the diagnosing dentist simply didn’t take the time to adequately explain why.
It’s easy as a dentist who “does teeth” all day long every day, to forget that patients don’t “do teeth” all day long and that they need extra information in order to feel comfortable making decisions, especially about losing teeth. Dentists also have different personal guidelines about what “saving a tooth” means.
Here are my personal guidelines for when teeth should be extracted:
- If the tooth has an untreatable level of infection inside the tooth
- If the tooth has an untreatable level of infection in the surrounding gums
- If the bone around the tooth has dissolved and can’t support the tooth
- If the tooth has broken or decayed to the point that it can’t support a crown
- If the tooth has already been root canaled twice
Why these guidelines? Because I don’t believe that fixing a tooth just to have it break again in a month counts as “saving a tooth.” Every one of these scenarios could be patched, but would explode as a toothache, dangerous infection or deeper trauma within days or weeks, further risking your health. I’m not willing to put my patients’ health at risk for convenience.
If you’re not sure why your tooth “needs an dental extraction” come see me for a second opinion. We’ll take a look and a 3D-CT radiograph give you a clear explanation of what is going on either with that one tooth or in your whole mouth depending on how much you’d like to know.