Dental Implant FAQ

Tooth Replacement in San Antonio, TX

What is a Dental Implant?

The only way to replace missing teeth permanently is with dental implants. These are prosthetic teeth supported by implants placed in the jawbone to mimic the roots of the missing teeth. There are three parts to dental implants. The actual implant is a titanium or ceramic screw placed in the jawbone where the root(s) of the natural teeth used to be. An abutment is a slender pin or clasp fastened to the top of the implant to attach the visible portion of the restoration to the implant. The visible part is either a crown (for a single implant) or a dental prosthetic resembling a denture (an entire arch of replacement teeth).

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Steven C. Albright, DDS Phone Number 210-490-4044 Book Your Appointment

How Successful are Dental Implants?

The success rate of dental implant surgery is 95% or higher if you take care of your implants properly. This is one of the highest surgical success rates for oral surgery. Most individuals with implants have them for a lifetime.

How Do I Know if I Need Dental Implants?

There are many reasons to get dental implants to replace missing teeth. For some patients, it is a medical necessity. For others, it is more of a cosmetic issue. However, it is essential to remember that any time even a single tooth is missing, your dental health is at risk. If you have any of the following issues, you may need dental implants:

  • One or more missing teeth
  • Difficulty chewing or eating
  • Shifting of remaining teeth
  • Broken or infected tooth that cannot be saved
  • Your dentures are uncomfortable or do not fit well
  • Bone loss in the jawbone
  • Your face appears sunken due to missing teeth or a deteriorating jawbone
  • You are self-conscious about your dentures or dental bridge
A depiction of the upper jaw with all normal teeth
1. Normal
An example of the upper jaw missing a tooth with the jaw bone unhealed
2. Tooth Loss
A representation of a healed upper jaw bone after losing a tooth
3. Healed Bone
A digital representation of a dental implant placed in the jaw bone
4. Implant Placed
A representation of the healed jaw bone after placement of the dental implant
5. Healing
An example of a fully restored tooth using a dental implant
6. Implant Restored

What Happens if I Do Not Replace Missing Teeth?

When you ignore missing teeth, you end up with more significant dental and oral health problems down the road. When teeth are missing, the adjacent teeth eventually shift out of alignment. It is difficult to eat properly when your teeth are missing, leading to embarrassment when dining around others and limitations on what you can eat. It is also difficult to keep bacteria and food particles out of the space where a tooth is missing.

The American Dental Association says that individuals lose up to 25% of the jawbone surrounding a missing tooth. This deterioration causes a sunken appearance in the face, prematurely aging you. This can also contribute to the shifting of remaining teeth. Finally, if you do not replace missing teeth, you increase the risk of gum disease and bacterial infections that can spread to the remaining teeth, soft tissues, and jawbone.

Dental Implants Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of dental implants, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to dental implants are discussed.

Dental Implants Presentation

Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?

You may be a candidate for dental implants if you are an adult in good overall health with no oral health issues. Cavities or gum disease must be treated before you can have implant surgery.

Some people may not qualify for dental implants:

  • Smokers
  • Excessive alcohol drinkers
  • Anyone with uncontrolled diabetes
  • Individuals with autoimmune diseases
  • Patients who have cancer or blood clotting disorders.

Many people are surprised to learn age is not a factor when considering dental implants. As long as you are an adult, you are never too old for implant surgery. Many individuals in their 70s and 80s have successfully restored their missing teeth with dental implants in San Antonio.

How is the Dental Implant Process Performed?

Two-Stage Implants

Two surgeries are needed for most patients, with the implants being placed during the first procedure. Precise placement of the implants in the jawbone requires skill. Dr. Albright carefully places the implant, then sutures the gums over the top of the implant. During this time, the implant fuses with the jawbone, creating a stable base for the visible portion of the replacement teeth. It can take anywhere from three to six months for the implant to fuse with the jawbone, a process known as osseointegration. You can wear a temporary crown, partial, or full prosthetic during the dental implant healing process to preserve your smile. You are on a soft diet during this phase to allow the implants time to fuse with the jawbone.

The second surgery is more straightforward. Dr. Albright uncovers the tops of the implants and attaches a small healing collar. Impressions are taken of the mouth and used to create permanent replacement teeth. After a few weeks, when the replacement teeth are complete and the area has healed, the permanent crown(s) or prosthetic teeth are attached.

Single-Stage Dental Implants

Single-stage implants, sometimes called Teeth-in-an-Hour, do not require a second surgery or healing collar. Once the implants are placed, temporary prosthetics are attached the same day while osseointegration fuses the implant in the jawbone. In a few months, the permanent dental restorations will be attached.

How Long Do Dental Implants Take to Heal?

Getting dental implants is a time commitment. It can take anywhere from three to six months for the implants to fully integrate with the jawbone before the permanent replacement teeth can be attached. If you need bone grafts before your implant surgery, it takes longer. However, the results can last a lifetime and dramatically improve your health and self-confidence.

How Much Do Dental Implants Cost in San Antonio?

It is difficult to say how much your dental implants will cost without an initial consultation. The cost depends on your needs, the type of restoration, the number of teeth being replaced, and several other factors. Dr. Albright understands that cost is a factor for many patients and strives to give every patient an accurate, detailed estimate of the price at an initial consultation.

Dr. Albright explains the process in detail after examining your teeth and gums, reviewing your medical history, and determining what type of restoration you prefer. Based on this information, he will quote a price. Our staff can also help you maximize available insurance coverage to reduce costs. We also offer two different outside financing options: Care Credit or Capital One Healthcare Finance.

Questions About A Procedure?

Call us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Steven C. Albright, DDS Phone Number 210-490-4044 Book Your Appointment