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Replacing a missing tooth or multiple teeth in the past usually meant wearing a removable partial denture, or shaving down teeth adjacent to the gap to place a fixed dental bridge. With the evolution of modern implant dentistry, dental implants can now be used to fill in missing tooth spaces without having to make modifications to surrounding teeth. If you are considering dental implants, San Antonio Oral Surgery would love to discuss your dental implant options.

At San Antonio Oral Surgery, we use some of the best dental technology available to ensure the most precise implant placement including cone beam CT scans and computer guided surgery. Once we’ve placed your implant post and you have had a chance to heal, your general dentist will finish the restoration. Additionally, we offer several types of dental implant procedures including mini dental implants, implant-supported dentures, and the popular All-on-Four procedure or Teeth –in-a-Day (a full arch fixed restoration).

The dental implants are made of titanium, a very light but strong material. This helps make the implants acceptable to the body, stable and long-lasting. In most cases a dental implant will last for the life of the patient. Like natural teeth, for the best results, they do still require follow-up care with the restorative dentist and surgeon.   The surgeons at San Antonio Oral Surgery use only  implants systems with research-demonstrated predictable success. 

Anatomy of a tooth implant

Having an implant procedure performed by the Oral Surgeons at San Antonio Oral Surgery has many benefits. By placing a dental implant your chewing capability is restored and your smile enhanced. When you have our Oral Surgeons place your implant, it replaces both your missing tooth and the root. A tooth implant can be broken down into three basic components:

· Dental Implant Post – This part of the tooth implant replaces the root. The dental implant post is made of titanium so it can integrate, or bond with your jawbone through a process called “osseointegration”. After placing the implant post, the patient is allowed a few months to heal so the implant is stable before moving to the next step.

· Abutment – After the bone has fused to the tooth implant post, you will be sent back to your restorative dentist who will take impressions and fabricate a custom abutment for the post. The abutment is a small metal cap that connects the dental implant crown to the dental implant post.

· Tooth Restoration – The tooth restoration is the dental implant crown that attaches to the implant abutment. The restoration is usually made of porcelain and is formed to match the color and shape of your surrounding teeth. Patients that are missing multiple teeth can choose to have an implant-supported dental bridge or dentures instead of multiple dental implant crowns.

Reasons for dental implants:

What does getting dental implants involve?

The process of getting implants requires a few visits over several months.

X-rays and impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, spacing available for an implant and an exact location for the implant is chosen. The area bone is evaluated and if a deficiency exists, grafting can be done for a better long term outcome. In almost every case a surgical guide is made to transfer the chosen location for the implants from the models to the patient's mouth. With the area is numb, like when filling is done, the implants will be placed using the surgical guide for accurate positioning. A healing time of 3-4 months allows the bone to bond to the surface of the implant. Then an extension (abutment) is attached to the implant and the restorative dentist makes and seats the crown (or other prosthesis).

Post-operative care instructions will be given to you when your treatment is completed. Good oral hygiene, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new implant.

All-on-4™

The All-on-4™ procedure is a common one we perform at San Antonio Oral Surgery. Near complete or total tooth loss can be life-altering. In the past, the go-to solution was either full or partial dentures. While dentures are better than nothing, they provide limited function. Patients wearing dentures often report complications with dentures including sores in the mouth from a poor fit, increased salivation, and messy cleanup. Another common complaint with upper dentures is the coverage of the palate, or the roof of the mouth. Many patients cannot tolerate having the plastic denture material near the back of the throat and respond with a severe gag reflex. Almost all patients with upper full dentures report changes in the taste of foods and the inability to “feel” the food texture, due to the roof of the mouth coverage.

All-on-4™ is a procedure that changed all of that and removed nearly all of the complications patients report with dentures. The procedure allows patients to have an entire custom-made arch of replacement teeth secured in the mouth by four to six implants. Additionally, teeth can be secured to the implants immediately following the extraction of any remaining teeth, so the patient can walk out of our dental practice with a set of functioning teeth and better yet – a new smile!

Reasons to consider All-on-4™:

· All-on-4 implants require fewer dental implants when replacing multiple teeth in an arch.

· All-on-4 provides a fixed solution over traditional removable dentures.

· All-on-4 provides a strong foundation for dentures with minimal or no movement.

· All-on-4 will assist in maintaining healthy jaw structure.

· All-on-4 upper restorations do not cover the roof of the mouth

· All-on-4 will provide the confidence of natural teeth

If you have questions or have been referred to our surgeons for dental implant treatment, contact our office to set up a consultation appointment to discuss treatment, what to expect and anesthesia options.