Dental implants form the groundwork to place prosthetic, natural-looking teeth for San Francisco residents who have lost a tooth, or in some cases, require an entire set of new teeth. As an alternative to dentures and bridges, dental implants, coupled with prosthetics, mimic the look and function of your natural teeth. Dental implants allow you to brush, eat, and smile with confidence. At SF Oral Surgery, we specialize in dental implants that provide our San Francisco patients with the most advanced dental technology available that is proven to restore our patient’s dental health.
What Are Dental Implants?
Whether you’ve had to have a diseased tooth that cannot be treated with conventional dentistry removed, or you have lost a significant amount of your natural teeth, and those that remain are not able to provide you with the sufficient capability to do their intended “job,” dental implants are designed to replace the root(s), crowns, functionality, and appearance of natural teeth.
At San Francisco Oral Surgery our team of skilled oral surgeons affix a biocompatible metal, usually a titanium rod directly into your jaw bone to create an anchor which mimics that of your tooth’s natural root. At the same time a post, or abutment, is connected to the top of the dental implant. Once the implant has fully fused with the jaw bone, the prosthetic tooth is then carefully attached to the post.
If patients wait too long to replace the missing tooth or teeth their jaw bone will begin to recede because it requires the tooth’s root to sustain its growth. It is a surprise to many people that their bones are, in fact, living tissue. So as the jaw bone recedes it not only alters the entire contour of the lower half of the facial structure, making patient’s look older than they really are, the lost jaw bone may make it difficult, if not impossible, to successfully place dental implants. This is why we encourage San Francisco residents to address their missing teeth as soon as possible.
How Our Team of Doctors Work Together to Place Dental Implants
If you are a good candidate for dental implants, Dr. Michael Chan, Dr. Kirsten Rittenbach, or Dr. Brian Yang will schedule an appointment to place the dental implants. This procedure can be performed using local anesthesia, but many San Francisco area patients prefer general anesthesia to avoid discomfort and anxiety, as this is a rather involved procedure.
Your first and most important appointment involves the placement of dental implants directly into your jawbone to replace the missing root. It will take three to four months for the implants to fuse with your jaw bone and Dr. Michael Chan, Dr. Kirsten Rittenbach or Dr. Brian Yang will schedule follow-up exams to ensure that you are healing well.
During your recovery from the first surgery, you may need to wear a temporary tooth replacement and restrict your diet to soft foods. If you have had one dental implant placed, you will be advised to chew your food on the other side of your mouth.
Once the implants have completely fused with your jaw bone, your restorative dentist will then proceed to connect your new tooth or teeth to the post that is connected to the dental implant. They will attach small posts to connect the artificial teeth that replace your natural teeth. Once healed, your new teeth will function exactly like your natural teeth.
The ideal team for dental implant placement is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and Restorative Dentist. Dr. Michael Chan, Dr. Kirsten Rittenbach or Dr. Brian Yang are qualified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons with years of experience performing dental implant surgery. Your dentist will create any prosthesis, both temporary and permanent, and eventually fit the permanent prosthesis.
For San Francisco patients who prefer immediate dental implants, Dr. Michael Chan, Dr. Kirsten Rittenbach, or Dr. Brian Yang will collaborate with your restorative dentist. If feasible, your interdisciplinary team can work together to restore the function and appearance of your teeth with just one procedure.
SF Oral Surgery offers San Francisco residents the option of combining the two-stage dental implant surgery into a one-stage procedure. While you will still need at least six weeks to heal before your prosthetic teeth can be placed, the recovery time is much faster than the traditional method.
Another option for dental implant placement is immediately following tooth extraction. This method of immediate dental implants reduces the need for additional surgery and restores the appearance and function of your teeth in one procedure.
What Types of Prostheses Are Available?
The choice of prosthetic teeth depends on how many teeth are extracted and where they are located. There are three different options available to replace natural teeth:
- Crown for a single missing tooth. A crown needs to be attached to its own dental implant.
- Partial Prosthesis (fixed bridge) for two or more teeth. The partial prosthesis does not need to be attached to its own dental implant and normally requires only two or three dental implants.
- Complete Prosthesis for all teeth in your upper or lower jaw. There are different options for the number of dental implants recommended based on whether the prosthesis is removable or fixed. An overdenture (removable prosthesis) attaches to a bar or ball in socket, and you can remove it yourself, while a fixed prosthesis can only be removed by a dentist.
Why Choose Dental Implants Instead of Dentures?
It is quite possible that you’re thinking to yourself, “Why should I spend the time and money on dental implants instead of dentures?” Perhaps your parents and grandparents wore dentures, and you saw the lengths they had to go to just to be able to eat. If you do some research about the downsides of dentures, we are pretty sure that you will quickly conclude that they are both painful and embarrassing – just to name a few of the problems they pose. First of all, they need to be removed and soaked in a cleansing solution, unlike dental implants which are brushed and flossed just like natural teeth. Another very unpleasant part of wearing dentures involves the sticky paste needed just to keep them from slipping or falling out of place. Imagine having lunch with co-workers or being in an intimate situation when suddenly you find your dentures floating around in your mouth. The fear that this very real possibility will occur may interfere with your lifestyle on many levels. In addition to the not so reliable adhesive paste is that dentures have no roots. So, what will maintain the health of your jaw bone and prevent jawbone resorption?