Your Expert Guide to Dental Implants
At East Bay Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, dental implants are one of the premier procedures we offer to patients in Oakland, CA and the East Bay so they can feel confident in their oral health and smile. We specialize in offering the latest technology for our treatments and a digital process to make your implant experience as seamless as possible.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is an artificial root placed into your jaw that acts as a permanent, strong foundation and structure for your replacement tooth. An implant is different from other tooth replacement options because it is fixed and independent from other teeth.
Implants can help to improve and balance your bite. They can alleviate pressure and distribute forces evenly among your remaining teeth. Dental implants can also improve your smile and give you confidence in social situations by closing spaces and allowing you to eat what you want.
Why You May Need Dental Implants
Whether you have missing teeth already or your current teeth are in poor health due to cavities or bone loss, dental implants can be a wonderful solution for you to achieve a perfect smile.
Patients can also benefit from dental implants if they have dentures that don’t fit well. Dentures are a removable replacement for missing teeth. They can be complete, when all the teeth are missing, or partial, which is when some natural teeth remain. Other patients who can benefit from implants may have had poorly placed implants in the past, and they no longer fit as comfortably as expected. High quality dental implants which are placed by a doctor with extensive training and experience can last 15-20 years. Implants must be cared for daily, just as you care for your natural teeth - by brushing and traditional flossing or using water flossers.
When you lose a tooth and do not have it replaced, it can lead to shifting in your other healthy teeth and your bite can be altered. You may start to have problems with the way your teeth come together, known as dental occlusion, which can lead to bone loss and loose teeth.
While dental implants have many aesthetic benefits they also play an important role in the overall function of your mouth and can improve your bite and chewing ability.
Dr. Evan Santiago, who is a periodontist and implant specialist, is highly skilled in assessing whether your condition can benefit from having dental implants.
What Does Having Dental Implants Involve?
The team at East Bay Periodontics and Implant Dentistry has a vast amount of experience, so patients typically get through any procedure with the least amount of pain and the quickest recovery time.
After an in-depth consultation, Dr. Santiago patients are given the best treatment plan for their condition. East Bay Periodontics and Implant Dentistry uses a 3D X- ray to plan your implant so a patient can see exactly how it will fit into their natural bite and the surrounding teeth. In some cases we will take a digital impression in order to perform the case with a digital guide for precise placement.
This digital workflow will ensure that the patient has the implant placed in the optimal position so that all important anatomical structures are avoided and that the crown that will be placed on the implant after healing will have the best aesthetics and cleansibility.
Sometimes there is enough bone to place an implant immediately after extraction of the tooth. Other times the patient has the implant placed after the tooth has healed from an extraction. After the implant has been placed, an abutment (temporary cap) is placed on the implant to keep the gums from growing over the implant. Sometimes a temporary crown can be placed on the implant at time of placement to preserve the gum tissue and aesthetics. Several follow-up visits will be necessary after placement of the implant to ensure the procedure was successful before the permanent crown can be attached.
After the dental implant or implants have been placed, Dr. Santiago and his team are available to address any concerns. When post op instructions are followed pain and complications are rare, however should you need us we are readily available.
We advise patients not to eat crunchy or hard foods such as chips, nuts, popcorn, hard bread, apples, and gum candy after having implant surgery. Raw vegetables, salads, and meats can also cause issues because particles can lodge in between the teeth, and aggravate the gums after treatment. Ample instructions on what foods are recommended will be provided prior to your surgery.
Dental Implants and Real-Life Experiences
At East Bay Periodontics and Implant Dentistry we believe our patients get a superior quality of care because we invest so much time and effort into each of our patient’s individual needs.
Peter M., who had dental implants placed with our practice, says one of the “outstanding” aspects of his experience was being told exactly what was going on at every stage of his treatment: “Dr. Santiago, explained everything in great detail and gave me choices along the way. He was also very concerned about any pain I may be experiencing and ensured it was kept to a minimum.”
Peter adds, “They did exactly what I needed and exactly what I wanted, and they treated me very well financially. Everything was very clear. I can't say what I love more, the choice or the quality of the work. I liked it all!”
Witt M. was also very pleased with his dental implants. He was impressed with the level of knowledge and service from the team: “The office staff and the technicians are very well trained, very friendly and helpful. They are always happy.”
Witt adds that the practice has always been “excellent” and he has never had any problems. “I've been a patient there for a long time. I have always appreciated the attention to preventive care they offer.”
Paula P. has been a patient with the practice for nine years. She loves the kind and helpful nature of Dr. Santiago and his team: “I had to have an implant replaced that had failed, which was done by another dentist. Dr. Santiago did a very thorough exam - he was very exact and meticulous. He explained everything in great detail and told me how he was going to fix it.”
Paula confesses she was a “little phobic” about getting her dental work done, but was put completely at ease. “I knew exactly what to expect from his explanation. Dr. Santiago takes all the time he needs with you, and you don't feel rushed. I never once felt like he was hurrying up to finish up and get to the next person.”
She adds: “It was very nice to have no pain or sensation whatsoever. Dr. Santiago has done a very good job and I've had minimal discomfort during the whole thing.”
What Are the Positive Outcomes of Having Dental Implants?
Dental implants can stabilize your bite and prevent movement or deterioration of your other teeth.
Typically, you can also eat a more healthy and balanced diet as it is easier to eat all the kinds of foods you may have avoided in the past because they were too difficult to chew.
You can also experience an improvement in speech once any gaps left by missing teeth are filled, or broken and decaying teeth are replaced.
We know that your self-esteem and self-confidence are important. Our patients say they feel more confident in their smile and aren’t afraid to show off their teeth at social events and gatherings.
Common Questions Associated with Dental Implants
1. How long can dental implants last?
The longevity of your implants depend on many different factors. If you have good oral hygiene, see your dentist regularly, and are generally healthy it is not unrealistic that your implants can last upwards of 15-20+ years. At East Bay Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, we have many patients who have been successful at maintaining their implants over 1-2 decades. Like anything else that you use everyday, dental implants can be subjected to wear and tear which is why it is important to have them checked regularly. Additionally if you are a smoker, diabetic, or have changes in your health this can lead to dental implant bone loss or infections which should be addressed immediately.
2. Is having a dental implant painful?
A dental implant is considered the best option to replace missing or damaged teeth. The process is performed with local anesthesia. If you are nervous about the procedure we can talk to you about your sedation options to help you to be more comfortable during surgery. After dental implantation and the numbness wears off, you may experience some discomfort which typically lasts for several days but sometimes can last up to 10-14 days. Dr. Santiago and his team are available to provide support and assist you with any questions or concerns you may have leading up to or following your dental implant surgery.
3. Can dental implants ever fail?
Typically, dental implants are successful. On occasion, an implant can fail during the initial healing phase. If this happens, the implant will be removed and the lost bone will be replaced. After three to six months of healing a new implant can be placed. However, this is very rare, and happens in less than 2% of cases.
4. How long will it take to recover from having a dental implant?
For the first day after your treatment, you should only eat very soft or liquid foods, to prevent you from chewing on your mouth or biting your tongue. In general, you should avoid chewing anything on the side that has the dental implant for six to eight weeks if possible. Once the implant has healed and fused to the bone you can get a tooth on your implant. At that point you may use the implant like a regular tooth. Making sure to brush and floss it like a regular tooth as well.
Dr. Santiago sees patients twice within the first four to six weeks after surgery for a checkup to see if everything is healing normally. Once the implant has been cleared to have an abutment and crown placed on it, Dr. Santiago likes to follow the implant in intervals of three to six months for one year to ensure that there are no signs of bone loss and that you are able to clean around the implant adequately.
5. Is a referral required to receive a dental implant?
At East Bay Periodontics and Implant Dentistry we are happy to see all patients and a referral is not necessary. However, we will need a current set of X-rays for your examination. We will request those from your general dentist, or we can take them for you in our office before Dr. Santiago does your periodontal exam. Typically a 3D x-ray is also required to plan the implant surgery.
If you have read this article and feel you have any of the conditions mentioned, having dental implant surgery may be a great benefit for you. You can book an appointment to see Dr. Santiago and one of his top reviewed dental implant specialists.