If you suffer from missing or failing teeth, you are not alone. It is estimated that 120 million people in the United States are missing at least one tooth, while 36 million are missing all their teeth in one or both of their jaws (American College of Prosthodontists). In addition to oral health problems, many patients comment on the emotional impact of missing teeth. At Bonita Medical Center, we want to let you know that there are very successful treatments that can improve your oral health. Our trusted oral surgeon, Dr. Schow, performs dental implant-based restorations in the comfort and safety of our Santa Fe, NM, practice, and service the surrounding Santa Fe community.
Dental implants are a permanent tooth replacement solution that looks, feels, and functions just like a natural tooth. They are extremely versatile and can even replace an entire arch of teeth! Many patients who are experiencing broken, failing, or missing teeth are candidates for dental implants.
The dental implant is considered a true replacement because it replaces the entire tooth, root and all. A single dental implant is composed of three parts: the post, the abutment, and the crown. The post is made of medical-grade titanium and is surgically implanted into the jaw bone. Over time, the post fuses with the bone to create a strong foundation for the rest of the implant. The crown is the visible part of the implant and custom-made to blend in naturally with the surrounding teeth. The abutment piece connects the post and the crown. Together, all three parts of a dental implant create a permanent solution that offers a natural look and feel with complete functionality. With dental implants, patients can speak with ease and smile with confidence again!
At Bonita Medical Center, we create a custom treatment plan to suit each patient’s oral health condition and desires. Whether you are considering a single dental implant, multiple implants, a full-arch replacement solution, or something else, we will do everything we can to provide the perfect tooth replacement solution for you.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
Did you know that dental implants don’t just look good, they also benefit your oral health? Improved oral health is one of the many reasons that dental implants are a popular alternative to traditional tooth replacement solutions, such as fixed bridges and dentures. Dental implants function in the same way natural teeth do — they stimulate the bone in your jaw to prevent bone loss so that your facial harmony and jaw health are preserved for years to come.
Some of the many benefits of dental implants include
- Truly permanent and durable solution. Due to a process called osseointegration, the dental implant post fuses with the jaw bone to create a strong anchor for the rest of the implant. If dental implants are taken care of properly, they can last a lifetime.
- Natural-looking appearance. The visible part of the dental implant, called the crown, is custom-made for the most natural-looking appearance possible.
- Increased confidence. Many patients tell us how much more confident they feel after receiving dental implants. We love to see our patients so happy!
- Eat your favorite foods again. Unlike traditional tooth replacement options, dental implants allow you to eat the foods you love knowing your replacement teeth will not slip or fall out of place.
- Improved bone health. Dental implants stimulate the jaw bone to prevent bone loss and preserve the health of your jaw.
- Versatile. Dental implants offer several solutions to tooth loss, whether you’re missing a single tooth, multiple teeth, or even an entire arch of teeth.
- Most patients are dental implant candidates. Many patients are happy to find they are successful candidates for dental implants. Chances are, if you are healthy enough to undergo a tooth extraction, you are healthy enough to receive a dental implant.
Dr. Schow performs the full scope of oral surgery and dental implant restoration options at our safe and comfortable practice in Santa Fe, NM. If you are interested in a permanent and versatile tooth replacement option, we encourage you to schedule a consultation at our office to discuss treatment using dental implants.
Dental Implant Process
Dr. Schow at Bonita Medical Center is an expert when it comes to dental implant placement. The process for dental implant treatment always begins with a consultation appointment, where your oral surgeon will design a treatment plan just for you. Diagnostic images may be taken at this time. Your oral surgeon will also discuss your options for anesthesia. Your consultation is also the ideal time to ask any questions and address any concerns you may have. We want you to feel safe, comfortable, and informed throughout your entire treatment.
The day of your surgery will begin with the administration of anesthesia. Once you are completely at ease, your oral surgeon will surgically place the dental implant post into the jaw bone before suturing the site closed. You will rest comfortably in our surgical suite until the anesthesia wears off, and then your designated driver will take you home to complete your recovery. On average, the procedure takes between 30 and 60 minutes for a single dental implant and around two to three hours for multiple implants.
The healing process begins once your procedure has ended and will continue for several weeks as your implant gradually fuses with your jaw bone. Most patients find they can resume their normal activities after just a few days of rest. The length of time your healing period lasts depends on several factors, such as your overall health, the condition of your jaw bone, and your body’s natural ability to heal. You may receive a temporary crown to wear as your dental implant heals. The abutment piece will be placed by your oral surgeon when it is determined enough healing has occurred. Once your dental implant has successfully fused with the jaw bone, your restorative dentist will place your permanent, custom-made crown and your treatment will be complete!
If you are interested in learning more about dental implant placement at our Santa Fe, NM, practice, we encourage you to give us a call. We can schedule a consultation with one of our experienced oral surgeons who can help you decide if dental implants are the right choice for you.
Dental Implant Cost
We strive to provide the very best patient care at our practice in Santa Fe, NM, with individualized treatment plans to truly suit every patient’s needs. Since every patient — and therefore every treatment — is different, the cost of your dental implants at Bonita Medical Center will be just as unique as your treatment plan. Factors that are considered in the overall cost of a typical dental implant placement include insurance coverage, the number of dental implants to be received, and if prior oral surgery procedures are needed before the dental implants are placed, such as a bone grafting procedure or tooth extraction.
Bonita Medical Center works with many types of insurance and offers multiple payment options to provide the very best in oral surgery care at a reasonable cost. Please review our Financial & Insurance Options page or give our office a call to learn more.
A consultation at our Santa Fe, NM, practice with one of our oral surgeons will provide the best cost estimate for your treatment plan.
The Value of Dental Implants
Mimicking the look, feel, and function of natural teeth, dental implants are an extremely popular tooth replacement solution. Dental implants have positively changed the lives of many of our patients, improving everything from eating to feeling comfortable smiling again. This improved quality of life is truly priceless! Our patients can expect the following benefits when they choose to invest in dental implants:
- Permanent and long-lasting. Traditional tooth replacement options, such as dentures and fixed bridges, often need to be replaced after years of wear and tear. Dental implants are a complete tooth replacement solution and, when properly cared for, can last a lifetime.
- Preserve oral health. The dental implant post fuses with the jaw bone to create a sturdy and permanent foundation. This also acts as a new root for the replacement tooth — like a natural tooth, chewing with a dental implant stimulates bone in the jaw to preserve the quality of bone and prevent bone loss.
- Improved facial aesthetics. Bone loss is a common complication of missing teeth. Severe bone loss in the jaw can result in unbalanced facial structures — even traditional tooth replacement options like dentures do not prevent against bone loss. Dental implants restore facial harmony by preventing this loss. Natural-looking replacement teeth also improve the quality of your smile!
- Enhanced well-being. Eating, speaking, and smiling are a part of our everyday lives. Unfortunately, patients who suffer from missing or failing teeth often miss out on these activities and may experience decreased self-esteem as a result. Many patients find an improved quality of life after receiving dental implants.
If you are considering dental implants for a secure and permanent tooth replacement option, please call our friendly and welcoming Santa Fe, NM, practice to schedule a consultation. The experienced oral surgeons at Bonita Medical Center will work with you to ensure you receive the right treatment plan and the very best of care.
Denture Replacement With Dental Implants
Patients who wear dentures often find them to be uncomfortable and feel embarrassed about removing their teeth during meals. Although cheaper upfront, dentures can become expensive over time. You must replace them due to wear and tear and have them professionally fitted. Otherwise, you may experience oral sores or slipping dentures.
You can replace dentures entirely with dental implants. Through full-arch restoration, our surgeons can use multiple dental implant posts to secure a fixed denture. Your replacement teeth will remain in place and function just like natural teeth. With good dental care, you may never have to replace your fixed denture and can feel confident about your smile every day. Contact our office today to learn more about denture replacement in Santa Fe, NM.
Dental Implant FAQ
What are my tooth replacement options?
Dr. Schow at Bonita Medical Center offers several tooth replacement solutions for patients in the comfort and safety of their practice in Santa Fe, NM. Your oral surgeon will work with you to determine the right tooth replacement option for you. Common tooth replacement solutions include
- Dental Implants. Root and all, dental implants replace an entire tooth for a permanent and secure solution. They look, feel, and function just like natural teeth.
- Full-Arch Replacement. Patients who are missing several, or an entire arch, of teeth may be candidates for a full-arch replacement. This procedure utilizes strategically placed dental implant posts to replace an entire arch of teeth, providing the security of dental implants without the hassle of several individual implant placements.
- Bridges (Tooth-Supported). A bridge is a fixed tooth replacement option and is a common replacement for patients who are missing one or more teeth that are next to each other. Although they are non-removable and secure, bridges often need to be replaced after a few years.
- Full or Partial Dentures. The traditional tooth replacement solution, full or partial dentures are a relatively inexpensive way to receive a new smile. Like bridges, however, they often need to be replaced after a few years. Although many patients enjoy wearing dentures, others find them to be uncomfortable or are self-conscious about them.
Can my child receive dental implants?
Sometimes a child has lost a permanent tooth due to injury or accident, and a dental implant can provide the ideal solution for the missing tooth. In general, an oral surgeon will recommend waiting for a child’s growth to be completed before performing a dental implant procedure — usually around the age of 16 for girls and 18 for boys. We recommend a consultation with an experienced oral surgeon to discuss your child’s individual needs.
How long does it take to replace teeth using dental implants?
In general, the process can range from a few months to over a year, but it really does vary from patient to patient. Your unique condition, needs, lifestyle, condition, and quality of bone all factor into your dental implant treatment plan. Come see us for a consultation to find out what your individual treatment plan will be.
Can a general dentist place my dental implant?
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon undergoes several years of education and training beyond dental school to perform the full scope of oral surgery, including dental implants. Dr. Schow commonly places dental implants at their practice in Santa Fe, NM, and is experienced in safely and accurately performing the procedure. However, your oral surgeon will usually collaborate with a general dentist to place the permanent, custom-made crown that rests on top of the dental implant post.
What if there is not enough bone in my jaw for secure implant placement?
Many hopeful patients with inadequate bone find that they can become successful candidates for a dental implant with the help of a bone grafting procedure, which restores bone in the area needed for secure and permanent placement.
How do I care for my new dental implants?
After your healing period is complete, dental implants are extremely easy to care for. Just brush and floss daily, and see your dentist for regular check-ups.
What is the recovery like after dental implant placement?
Most patients find themselves able to resume normal activities within a few days of their dental implant placement procedure. If you have any questions about your healing, please give us a call.
What will I use to chew with while my implants heal?
Your recovery period lasts as long as it takes for the dental implant post to fuse with your jaw bone successfully. In general, this takes anywhere from several weeks to several months. While you are waiting for your implant to heal, you have a few options for a temporary replacement, such as a bridge or modified denture. Temporary transitional crowns can be made and placed for a non-removable option during your healing period.
We want you to feel at ease and informed every step of the way. If you have any other questions, please give us a call.