Dental Implants in Santee

What Are My Options After Losing Teeth?

Experiencing tooth loss can make you feel less confident about your smile. With dental implants, you can restore not only your functionality and overall oral health, but also your self-confidence. Show off your smile confidently when you choose the most secure and longest-lasting tooth replacement option out there.

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Did you know…

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Dental implants are very common with over 3 million Americans having at least one implant. 

Ready to schedule a consult?

Call (619) 449-8622

How it works: The dental implant placement and restoration process

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Consultation

At your consultation, your dentist will determine if dental implants are right for you. Your doctor will examine your mouth, take x-rays, and determine if your jaw is strong and healthy enough to support one or more dental implants. You and your dentist can also explore other restorative dentistry options at this time. 

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Oral Surgery

Once you’ve been approved for treatment, your dentist or oral surgeon will then create a surgical plan for your dental implant placement. Then, we’ll schedule your appointment for oral surgery. During your appointment, your dentist will make an incision in your gum tissue, place the implant into your jaw securely, clean the area, and then close the incision with stitches.

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Healing & Osseointegration

Once your implant has been placed, your mouth will begin to heal. It will take 1-2 weeks to completely heal from surgery, but 3-6 months for your jaw bone to completely bond with the implant through a process called “osseointegration”.

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Creating the Prosthetic

As your mouth heals from surgery, you’ll come to see us for a couple of follow-up visits to ensure you’re healing properly. We will also take impressions of your implant and your teeth, where we will then send the implants off to a lab where your prosthetic (dental crown, arch of teeth, etc.) will be made.

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Placing the Restoration

Once your new prosthetic is completed and your mouth is fully healed from surgery, you’ll come back to our office for one last appointment. This is the appointment where your dentist will permanently bond your restoration to your dental implant, then you’re done! No more appointments or healing, just a great smile.

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Maintenance & Aftercare

Dental implants don’t require too much special care, just treat them similar to how you would your natural teeth. Brush and floss twice a day and see your dentist twice a year for an oral exam and teeth cleaning to keep your smile healthy.

Dental Implant Options

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Single Tooth Implants

Single tooth implants are the most popular type of dental implant. With these, they have two major parts: the implant itself or the “post” which is a titanium rod that looks similar to a screw, and the restoration itself (usually a dental crown.)

The post is placed into your gum and jaw permanently for a single tooth implant. Then while your mouth heals, your restoration is created, then attached to the post. The dental crown (your restoration) restores the shape, function, and appearance of your smile. These single tooth implants are very durable, secure, and long-lasting.

Full-Arch Implants

If you’re missing most or all of your natural teeth and want an alternative to dentures that are more secure and long-lasting, then full arch implants are a great option. These implants use a series of 4-6 implants per arch and are placed strategically across the arch of your mouth.

These dental implants (or posts) function as artificial tooth roots and allow for a set of (implant-supported) dentures or dental bridges to be attached for a secure and restored smile. These full arch implants look and feel more natural, plus they’ll never move or shift as you’re speaking or eating.

Mini Implants

Mini implants are about half the size of a standard dental implant. Since they’re smaller, the placement process isn't as invasive as it would be for a standard implant. Mini implants can also typically be placed in your jaw even if it has weakened due to bone resorption.

Mini implants are most commonly used to support a set of dentures in the lower jaw, but they can be used to restore a single tooth or even several missing teeth.

All-On-Four Implants

All-on-four implants are also called implant-supported dentures since a patient can replace an entire arch (or both arches) of teeth with a denture that is secured with four dental implants. Once the titanium posts are implanted into the jaw bone, an immediate denture is attached so you can have a restored smile without any wait time as you’d have with other dental implants that require a lengthy recovery time.

For patients who want dentures that are more secure and don’t want to deal with bone loss, difficulty eating, and speaking, then all-on-four is a fantastic tooth replacement option.

Did you know…

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About 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth and nearly 40 million Americans have lost all their teeth.

Interested in dental implants?

Call (619) 449-8622

Have questions about implant dentistry? Find answers here. 

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How are dental implants made?

There are two parts to a dental implant, the first being a small titanium screw-shaped rod also called a post. This is what the restoration (typically a dental crown) is placed onto. While posts are premade in a variety of sizing for all patients, the restoration will be custom-made.

Once your dental implant is placed. Your dentist will take impressions of your teeth and send them to a lab where a technician will create your restoration. It will be durable and long-lasting, made out of porcelain or a different high-quality material. Once completed, we will receive the restoration and then attach it to your healed dental implants.

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How long do dental implants last?

Dental implants can last up to 30 years or longer when taken care of and placed properly. It’s very common for patients to keep them for their entire lives.

The restoration, however (dental crown or a set of overdentures), is not as long-lasting and may need to be replaced a few times over the years. This is due to your restoration being exposed to regular wear and tear from biting, chewing, and other similar motions.

Can dental implants get infected?

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Yes, infected dental implants are called “peri-implantitis.” Don’t worry though, it is a rare complication and typically only happens when your implant isn’t cared for or doesn’t stay clean following surgery.

As long as you follow your dentist’s instructions for recovery, you can avoid peri-implantitis. Also, brush and floss your teeth once your implant has fully healed.


Will dental implants stop bone loss?

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Yes! Since bone loss occurs when your jaw bone lacks stimulation by the natural pressure of chewing and biting, dental implants replace that stimulation. Your natural tooth transfers this biting force through the tooth root and into your bone, and this is what keeps your jaw bone healthy.


After losing a tooth, your bone is missing this pressure stimulation and starts to weaken. Due to the fact that dental implants are placed directly into your jaw bone and act as a tooth root, your jaw is restimulated as it was before.


Can dental implants be done in one day?

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Sometimes, yes. In this case, the restorations you receive atop your post are usually temporary until your mouth has fully healed from the implant placement surgery. So while the crown is temporary, you can eat and speak normally during the healing process.


During the follow-up appointments, you’ll attend during your healing process, your dentist will take impressions of your mouth so a permanent restoration can be made. The permanent restoration you’ll receive will be much more durable, long-lasting, and more natural-looking than your temporary restoration.


How Long Do All-On-Four Implants Last?

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Most dental implants last from 25 years to your entire life, on average. All-on-four implants haven’t been around long enough for us to have a lot of data on their longevity, but they have been designed to be just as long-lasting (if not more so) than your traditional dental implants.


Since all-on-four dental implants are the same as traditional implants structure-wise, they should last the same if successfully fused with the jawbone. Data has been collected on all-on-four implants since their introduction in 1998, and have a 98% success rate over their 24-year life span so far.


What Are The Benefits of all-on-four implants?

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All-on-four implants have many more advantages over traditional dentures and dental implants. Dentures are often uncomfortable, difficult to chew/speak with, cause soreness, and cause embarrassment due to them moving around in your mouth due to lack of security.

Dentures also accelerate bone loss, while all-on-four implants preserve your bone. They also hold your teeth in place securely, and look, feel, and function like a natural tooth would. Plus, no discomfort or any restrictions

While traditional dental implants are great for replacing a single or a few missing teeth, it is not ideal if you’re missing most or all of your teeth. This would involve a lot of surgery, recovery time, and waiting time.

All-on-four however replaces your entire arch (or both arches) of teeth in just one appointment. Since these teeth stay in place, you won’t have the cleaning regimen that you would with removable dentures.

how do you care for all-on-four implants?

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Easy, the best way to care for your new teeth is to brush and floss them properly. You’ll brush your new teeth just as you would your natural teeth. You should brush them for two minutes, twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Flossing is also necessary, but once a day is fine. We recommend that instead of thread floss, you use a water flosser. It’s more effective at removing food particles from your teeth. We also recommend using a rubber tip gum stimulator, which removes all food debris from your gum line.

It’s also important to avoid smoking and to wear a mouth guard, smoking can prolong your recovery time and the mouth guard protects your teeth from damage. Lastly, you should see your dentist every six months for an oral exam and to have your teeth professionally cleaned.

Did you know…

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Dental implants are the only restorative option that preserves and stimulates your natural bone structure.

Ready for your next dental appointment?

Call (619) 449-8622

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