San Luis Obispo Dental Implants: Your Guide to Implant Dentistry in Slo

Here at Slo Peak Dentistry, we know the power dental implants have to improve the quality of life of our patients in San Luis Obispo. Not only do dental implants give overall health a boost, but they also help patients strengthen their self-confidence by providing them with a well-functioning, natural-looking, beautiful smile.

For San Luis Obispo residents considering dental implants to replace missing teeth, the list of benefits is long and persuasive. Mainly, dental implants serve to:

  • Maintain bone structure integrity following tooth loss
  • Save the health of adjacent teeth by eliminating the need for bridgework
  • Replace dentures with a loose fit
  • Ensure bite force is even throughout the mouth
  • Eliminate bulky dentures and improve your speaking ability
  • Prevent bone loss and improve facial appearance
  • Function, look, and feel like natural teeth

Why Do People Need Dental Implants?

The experience of losing one of your teeth can be devastating. Not only because it affects your appearance and robs you of a confident smile, but also, and more importantly because it can lead to physical problems that may affect your overall health. So, you must replace missing teeth, which is where dental implants come in.

Dental implants won’t only give you your smile back, they will also help you prevent health problems like:

  • Bone loss
  • Tooth shifting and drifting
  • Bite alteration due to tooth shifting
  • Jaw joint issues
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Added stress on remaining teeth

Dental Implants vs. Bridges: What Is the Difference?

Patients who come into our San Luis Obispo office benefit tremendously from dental implants. After all, this option does offer much clearer advantages compared to dentures and bridges, which are more traditional practices. Dental implants were not always available, so while they were being perfected, missing teeth were replaced with removable dentures or tooth-supported bridges.

When using bridges, dentists have to ground away at the healthy tooth structure to reshape adjacent teeth. This way, they can be used as support to anchor the bridge. The problem is that bridges put a lot more strain on the supporting teeth than they can handle. This leads the bone surrounding the teeth to melt away and resorb, which debilitates their natural support system.

As the bone and the gum start to pull away from the supporting teeth, dark shadows start surrounding the bridge, which is not aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, there’s a risk that the pressure on the bridge could lead to a gap between the bridge and the tooth. This would allow bacteria to enter and also force tooth decay, which could lead to root canals. Flossing can also become difficult or downright impossible for patients whose bridges link three or more teeth.

Tooth loss has a strong psychological effect on people and it is different for everyone. People who have an active social life and are outgoing may be affected to the point they will avoid social situations, including romantic ones, to keep people from discovering that they’re missing a tooth or several. Having missing teeth for a long time also leads to bone loss, which changes or disfigures the facial structure, making people look a lot older than they really are.

Dentures are one of the most traditional responses to tooth loss and, even though they do provide a certain level of esthetic security, they can also cause more damage. Dentures place a lot of weight on the underlying bone structure, which leads to bone loss. Not to mention that dentures are not forever, they will eventually need to be relined or replaced. Dental implants don’t cause any of the issues that both bridges and dentures do, so they are the safest and best solution to tooth loss.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are designed to replace the anchoring roots of the tooth and they’re made of biocompatible titanium. They’re meant to replace missing teeth as naturally as possible.

At Slo Peak Dentistry, the process of dental implant restorations includes three parts:

  • Titanium, bone-integrated implant
  • Implant abutment
  • Implant porcelain crown

The following cross-section shows both a natural tooth and an implant so you can see what dental implants offer.

What Is the Process of Dental Implant Restoration Like?

The process of implant placement begins with planning, which is the most important stage. Each patient gets an individualized, intelligent, and carefully-crafted treatment plan. This makes the difference between success and failure. Sometimes, this stage requires specialized imaging to see in what condition the bone is and 3D viewing to make sure placement is accurate.

Then, we move on to the implant placement stage. Here at Slo Peak Dentistry, we put patients in the hands of our dental implant specialists. They will carefully place the dental implants in the ideal position to allow the gum tissue to form around them.

Once the dental implants are in place, the healing process begins. The bone surrounding the dental implant will grow and integrate the implant fully, which will take a few weeks.

In certain cases where the dental implant is located in a visible area, a temporary restoration is necessary for aesthetic purposes. This is only while the implants heal and become fully integrated.

Lastly, once the dental implants are fully healed, we have to place an implant abutment. This will connect the implant to the porcelain crown, which is fabricated by our expert ceramist following exact specifications. Then, the crown is bonded to the implant abutment as the finishing touch on the dental implant restoration process.

Why Do Dental Implants Need to Be Placed as Soon as Possible?

When you lose one or more teeth, your jawbone starts to deteriorate. On average, a large percentage of the supporting bone structure is gone a year after losing a tooth, which is why it is a major concern. As time goes on, replacing lost bone becomes more and more difficult. The sooner you get your dental implants after tooth loss, the better results you will enjoy. Additionally, it will make the process a lot easier and support your health.

Are Dental Implants a Good Option for Everyone?

Anyone who is missing a tooth or several teeth can take advantage of dental implants. It doesn’t matter how old the patient is, dental implants are an option. However, the same can’t be said for younger patients. Dental implant placements are not recommended for patients in their early teens. That’s because, at that age, the bones are still developing.

The most appropriate time to get dental implants is along your tooth extraction or shortly after that moment. The longer patients wait to get implants, the bigger the risk of bone loss, which makes the process a lot more challenging. However, it is still possible to have successful dental implants years after tooth loss, as long as there is enough healthy bone to integrate the dental implant.

What Are All-on-4 Dental Implants?

All-on-4 dental implants are the type of implants that replace a complete arch of teeth. It’s different from individual dental implants because all-on-4 implants can replace entire rows of teeth, whether on the top or bottom jaw.

Instead of replacing each tooth, four titanium posts are inserted into the jaw. These will be the anchors for the full set of replacement teeth. This way, dental implants will stay in place. The titanium posts will eventually fuse with the bone, creating a sturdy and long-lasting foundation for functional and realistic replacement teeth.

What Does the Dental Implant Procedure Feel Like?

You’ll be happy to know that you won’t feel a thing while getting dental implants in our Manhattan offices. The science behind this modern implant dentistry has evolved quite a lot from its early stages 25 years ago. The procedure has been perfected in the last decade and it has become very predictable.

Our Slo Peak Dentistry office can boast of a nearly 100% success rate in dental implant placement. It is rare to find that a dental implant didn’t take, but the issue can be solved with a new dental implant. As mentioned before, dental implants function, look and feel like natural teeth, so much so that patients often claim they forget they even have implants.

Is Dental Implant Replacement Necessary?

Slo Peak Dentistry has completed over a thousand dental implant placements over the past decade in its San Luis Obispo dentist office. We have never had to deal with dental implant replacements or removals, and clients report years of successful use. Planning is the most important part of the process for us and we believe it’s the key to success.

We are extremely meticulous when it comes to making sure that the forces are properly distributed throughout the mouth. Otherwise, the teeth or dental implants would be forced in the wrong direction or become damaged as a result of being exposed to excessive force. Dental implant placement is quite an art and we have perfected it here at Slo Peak Dentistry.

Can Dental Implant Placement Be Finished in a Single Surgery?

Yes, Slo Peak Dentistry can complete the entire process in one surgery. Our dentists are experts in this procedure and they leverage the most advanced techniques to make that happen. The use of single-stage dental implants ensures that the oral surgeons won’t need to go in a second time to uncover the implants.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that dental implants need up to 6 weeks to heal before you can be fitted with artificial teeth by a regular dentist. In some cases, oral surgeons may place the dental implants right after they extract your tooth or teeth, which would take two separate procedures done on the same day. Of course, our oral surgeons will discuss your options with you based on the condition of your bone health and other factors to help you make the best decision.

Do Dental Implants Require Special Attention?

Patients only need to be careful while the dental implants heal. Other than that, there are no long-term requirements or restrictions. For example, they should avoid eating hard foods until the dental implants are fully integrated.

If you injure your arm playing tennis and you get a cast, you wouldn’t be able to use that arm for several months. That’s because the bones aren’t strong enough during that healing process to withstand regular movement, so you wouldn’t be able to do much with it, let alone play tennis again.

The same goes for dental implants. You will have to adopt a diet based on soft foods for about two weeks. Then, you can start introducing harder foods little by little. Once the dental implants are fully healed and integrated, you will be able to eat whatever you want. Additionally, dental implants don’t require special care in terms of cleaning. You just have to brush and floss as you regularly do, go to the dentist twice a year for dental cleaning and checkups, and that’s it.

Contact the #1 Dental Implant Specialist in San Luis Obispo

If you’re interested in all-on-4 dental implants or individual dental implants, fill out this contact form. We will reach out to have a chat about the available options and help you determine which one is right for you. Dental issues affect almost every aspect of life, so if you’re struggling with tooth loss, we can help you turn things around. You can get your teeth back to normal to improve your health and reconnect with your confidence!