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Dental Implants — San Marcos, CA

Discover the New Gold Standard of Tooth Replacement

At first you might think you can work around a missing tooth, but the impact it has on your ability to eat, speak, and smile will only become more and more obvious over time. There are a few different options for restoring your missing tooth/teeth, but there’s only one that will replace the entire structure of a missing tooth roots and all: dental implants. Whether you’ve only lost one tooth or are missing an entire arch, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with Dr. Howard today to learn why dental implants in San Marcos, CA might be your best option.

Woman with beautiful smile after dental implants

Why Choose Dr. Nelson Y. Howard, DDS For Dental Implants?

What Are Dental Implants?

Animated dental implant supported dental crown

A dental implant is not actually a prosthetic tooth; rather, it is something that we can use to anchor a restoration to your jawbone. Most implants are made out of titanium, and they take the form of a screw-like post. When placed in your jaw, they can fuse with the bone through a process called osseointegration. This is how they replace the roots of your missing teeth, and what will give the replacement prosthetics their lifelike stability and comfort.  Osseointegration takes several months, but the end result is a strong foundation for your new teeth that will provide greater chewing power and prevent slipping. The dental implant is topped with a custom-made crown, bridge, or denture depending on how many teeth you’re missing. Rebuilding your missing teeth from the roots up gives you a smile that looks, feels, and functions just like natural once again!

The 4-Step Dental Implant Process

A dentist showing a dental implant model to his patient

To get dental implants, a patient must go through a complex and multi-step process. This fact means an implant treatment will take several months. Even so, note that the prosthetic teeth are worth much time and effort. We at Dr. Howard’s office ensure quality work by placing implants in-house. Our entire dental team uses their training and skills to produce great results. In particular, you can expect four main steps from the treatment: consultation, surgery, osseointegration, and delivery of final restoration.

Initial Dental Implant Consultation

A male dentist showing his female patient a dental implant

An implant treatment always starts with a consultation. This talk with Dr. Howard will cover what you want from dental implants. In addition, it’ll give us a chance to learn your oral health history, medical background, and more. Our office can then confirm whether implants truly suit your needs. If they do, we’ll quickly draft a custom treatment plan.

If you don’t qualify for dental implants at first, don’t worry. We’ll gladly help you get preliminary services – gum disease therapy, tooth extraction, etc. Once you’ve had these procedures, your mouth should be strong enough to handle implants.

Should we approve your surgery, the consultation will also review the details of your treatment. Such facts will include your treatment timeline, costs, and similar matters.

Dental Implant Surgery

Dentists conducting a dental implant surgery

Our office places implants in-house, so we won’t refer you to other specialists. Your surgery should thus proceed quickly without the extra travel. Plus, Dr. Howard will have instant access to your dental records if you’re a returning patient.

The implant surgery itself will involve the following:

  • Anesthesia – Before placing anything, Dr. Howard will numb the treatment site(s). Doing so keeps you from feeling pain due to the implant work. At most, you’ll sense a slight pressure as our staff operate.
  • A Minor Incision – We’ll make a small gum incision once the treatment site is numb. From there, we’ll create a space for your future implant(s).
  • Implant Placement – Our dental team will place your implant using advanced dental methods and tools.
  • Gum Closure – Following the placement, we’ll close the incision in your gums. We’ll then put a cap over your new implant post.

Dental Implant Osseointegration & Abutment

A 3D illustration of a dental implant abutment

After the surgery, your new implant(s) will slowly fuse with your jaw. This process – also known as osseointegration – takes about 4-6 months. The implant post(s) should be permanent and secure once it’s done.

You’ll have another surgery after implant fusion. For this second one, we’ll set an abutment (i.e., a metal connector) over your implant. The new part will secure your final restoration. (The latter will be crafted from earlier dental impressions.)

Delivery of Dental Implant Restoration(s)

An older smiling woman happy with her new dental implant

You’ll get your final restoration at the end of the implant process. The specifics of this prosthetic will depend on how many teeth you’ve lost. Based on the final number, it could be a dental crown, a dental bridge, or a denture.

We won’t need long to fit your restoration. To be honest, adding it to your implant only requires some dental cement. We’ll then make a few last-minute changes. Should all go well, the visit will end with a gorgeous and fully restored grin!

Benefits of Dental Implants

Woman with dental implants San Marcos, CA sitting and smiling

So why choose dental implants over more traditional forms of tooth replacement? The short answer is that since they’re the only option for replacing the roots of the teeth, they carry all sorts of benefits that you would miss out on if you simply got a regular bridge or denture. We can go over some of these advantages during your implant consultation so that you have the full context to decide whether or not implants truly are your best option.

Day-to-Day Benefits

Man with dental implants San Marcos, CA eating a fruit salad

The most obvious benefits of dental implants are the ones you’ll notice every day when you’re eating you’re favorite meals, talking with your friends, and giving people you meet for the first time a brilliant smile.

  • The Ability to Eat Most Foods: Because dental implants act as artificial roots, they come the closest out of any tooth replacement option to fully matching the strength of missing teeth. This gives them the ability to chew virtually any kind of food, allowing you to enjoy your favorite meals and maintain good nutrition.
  • A Stable, Confident Smile: Your new teeth will be carefully designed to match the rest of your face, to the point that most people won’t be able to tell that you’ve had dental work done. Since implants are permanently anchored in place, there is no slipping to worry about.
  • Speak Easily: When dentures slip, they can cause you to slur or mumble your words. This is not a problem with properly fit, stable dental implants.
  • Easy Oral Hygiene: Implant crowns, bridges, and dentures can all be brushed and flossed as if they were real teeth.

Health Benefits

Close-up of bearded man’s smile with dental implants San Marcos, CA

In addition to the everyday benefits of dental implants, you’ll also find that having new teeth supported by artificial tooth roots offer a number of dental benefits as well.

  • Jawbone Preservation: Dental implants interface directly with the jaw, meaning they can provide the same kind of stimulation that is usually received from natural teeth. This helps keep the jaw healthy by preventing bone loss. As a result, you’ll continue to have a strong jaw and a youthful appearance for years.
  • Protection for Your Remaining Teeth: Teeth have a tendency to drift into empty space. When this is allowed to happen, it can eventually throw off the alignment of your bite, and that puts you at risk for dental damage and painful TMJ disorders. Dental implants and the restorations they support fill the empty space to completely prevent such drift.
  • Overall Healthy Benefits: People who lose their teeth are at a greater risk for multiple systemic diseases, but getting new teeth that are similar to your natural ones can go a long way towards keeping said risks to a minimum.

Long-Term Benefits

Senior woman with dental implants San Marcos, CA sitting outside and smiling

As the years go by, the long-term advantages of dental implants will become more and more apparent.

  • High Success Rate: Even after 10 years, the success rate of dental implants is as high as 95%, making it a highly reliable solution that is unlikely to need to be removed.
  • Longevity: Proper maintenance can give dental implants a lifespan of 30 decades or even longer, to the point where many patients keep them for the rest of their lives.
  • Cost-Effective: Dental implants help you save money by minimizing the number of times that you need to have them replaced.

Who Can Dental Implants Help?

a person with glasses on smiling

Most people who have lost one or more teeth are candidates for dental implant placement. If you’re interested in the procedure, we’ll first need to make sure that you have stable oral health, decent overall health, and a jawbone with enough strength and density to support the new posts. There are some additional procedures that might be performed to prepare your mouth for surgery. Once everything is ready, we can use the following restorations to rebuild your smile from the roots up.

Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

a dentist consulting with a patient and showing them their X-ray

Not every patient is a good candidate for dental implants right off-the-bat, but Dr. Howard and our team can help get you there. During your initial consultation, we’ll take X-rays of your mouth and conduct a thorough examination of your teeth and gums to make sure that we have a healthy foundation to secure your dental implants to. We typically look for the following traits in good dental implant candidates:

  • Dedicated to maintaining good oral health.
  • Have realistic expectations of the procedure.
  • Are missing one or more teeth.
  • Have a dense enough jawbone to support the implants.
  • Are having any underlying medical conditions or autoimmune disorders treated.

Once you determine that you’d like to move forward with the treatment, we’ll create a customized treatment timeline that will explain how we plan to restore your smile with dental implants in San Marcos and walk you through it so you know exactly what to expect.

Missing One Tooth

a computer illustration of an implant crown

Whether a tooth has been knocked out or extracted, it’s important to replace it as soon as possible before neighboring teeth move into the gap. We can place a single dental implant into the empty space and attach a dental crown to it. This is a more conservative approach compared to a dental bridge that rests on nearby teeth.

Missing Multiple Teeth

a computer illustration of an implant bridge

When multiple teeth are lost, you don’t necessarily need an individual implant for each one. A couple of implants can be used as the base for a dental bridge or a partial denture. When these restorations are attached to implants, not only will they look more natural, but they’ll be more secure as well.

Missing All Teeth

a denture made to be secured to dental implants

Normally, full dentures rest directly on your gums. As a result, they might not fit anymore once the shape of the gums changes due to bone loss. We can place four to eight dental implants in your upper or lower arch to hold your dentures in place. This greatly improves your bite strength, letting you enjoy a healthier, more varied diet than you would with traditional dentures.

Missing Teeth with Low Jawbone Density

an acrylic model of a mouth with mini dental implants in it

Depending on the state of your oral health, you might want to think about getting mini dental implants. Since they’re smaller than regular implants, they require less jawbone density to be placed and supported. They can even usually be loaded with prosthetic teeth within a few hours, and your mouth will heal much faster after the procedure.

Understanding the Cost of Dental Implants

Three animated dental implant supported dental crowns

Your dental implant treatment will be completely personalized based on your health, the number of teeth you’ve lost, and your various other dental needs. That means the price of the dental implant procedure will be different for everyone. But don’t worry; we can give you an accurate idea of how much it will cost after a consultation, when we can take into account all the variables. You’re sure to find that having a full, strong smile is well worth the investment.

Preliminary Treatments & Dental Implant Surgery

patient talking about preliminary procedures for dental implants in San Marcos

In many cases, preparatory procedures need to be done prior to the implant placement surgery. For instance, you may need to have a tooth removed, gum disease therapy performed, or a bone graft in order to qualify for dental implants. These procedures will add to the total cost of treatment. Then, the pricing also depends on how many posts you are receiving in the placement procedure itself. The good news is that Dr. Howard can perform most, if not all, of the work right here in our office, so you won’t receive bills from multiple practices.

The Parts of Your Dental Implant

diagram showing the parts of dental implants in San Marcos

Just like any other products in the market, such as cars or toasters, dental implants come in various brands and are made from different materials, each with their own advantages and pricing. When Dr. Howard meets with you to discuss your implant needs, he’ll select the brand that best meets those needs. In addition, the type of restoration, which is attached to the implants, will affect the cost. Obviously, the more teeth you need to replace, the more expensive the restoration will be.

How Dental Implants Can Save You Money

money and dental instruments

When considering costs, remember that implants tend to last much longer than other forms of tooth replacement. As a result, you won’t have to pay to replace the restorations, helping you save money in the long run. You also need to consider all the priceless benefits that come with dental implants, such as a stronger bite, improved oral health, and more confidence to eat or talk in front of others. Needless to say, the upfront cost of dental implants typically turns out to be the smarter long-term investment.

Does My Dental Insurance Cover Dental Implants?

dental insurance form with a pen

It likely doesn’t. Most dental insurance plans do not include coverage for dental implants. However, most will partially cover the cost of preliminary procedures, like gum disease therapy, as well as the cost of the restoration. At your consultation, our team will see if we can find ways to use your benefits to your advantage and try to keep your out-of-pocket costs to a minimum.

Making Dental Implants Affordable

piggy bank with teeth

If you find paying for dental implant treatment all at once overwhelming for your budget, we understand completely. Instead of having to come up with a one-lump sum, you can break the cost into easier monthly payments by financing the cost through CareCredit with a low-interest rate or even with no interest at all! We can guide you through the application process and answer any questions you may have.

Advanced Dental Implant Procedures

Animated dental implant supported dental crown

Bone loss can complicate the dental implant process, but luckily, we have ways to replenish bone density with the help of advanced dental implant procedures. A ridge augmentation procedure consists of placing bone graft material into the socket of a missing tooth. Once the socket has healed and the grafting material has integrated with the jaw, implants can be placed. In other cases, we can perform a sinus lift to make room in the upper jaw for implants to replace the molars near the back of the mouth.

Dental Implant FAQs

Man smiling outside while wearing a suit

Are you still curious about dental implants? You’re in the right place! Dr. Howard is a skilled implant dentist in San Marcos who wants his patients to have all the information they need before beginning treatment. If you have any specific concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact our office to speak with one of our friendly team members. Until then, we’ve included the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about dental implants below.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

Unlike other replacement options, dental implants are designed to last for decades with proper care. In fact, they can even last for the rest of your life! All you have to do is ensure that you’re practicing regular oral healthcare like brushing, flossing, and visiting our office. Your routine checkups and cleanings are incredibly important because they allow us to catch any problems while they’re still small, helping you enjoy your implants for years to come.

Are Dental Implants Safe?

Many patients hear that implants require surgery and automatically question the safety of the procedure. However, this procedure is incredibly safe, comfortable, and predictable. Depending on your needs, we offer sedation and anesthesia to make your procedure comfortable and relaxing. In fact, you could look at dental implants as the safest replacement option because they come with a variety of health benefits. Primarily, they keep your jawbone strong, which prevents additional tooth loss and a sunken facial appearance. Plus, dental implants reduce risks of common dental issues like gum disease.

How Successful Are Dental Implants?

You can enjoy total peace of mind knowing that dental implants in San Marcos have a success rate of 95% even after 10 years! This reliability and predictability will give you the confidence you need to choose the best tooth replacement option available. Dr. Howard will always make sure that the placement and restoration of your implants go as smoothly and safely as possible. There is a slim chance of failure, but this is usually due to poor lifestyle choices like smoking or insufficient jawbone density for the placement of implants.

Am I Too Old to Get Dental Implants?

It’s never too late to regain your full, healthy, and beautiful smile! Once you’ve reached the age of an adult, your jawbone stops growing, which makes getting dental implants a possibility. That said, older patients will often have oral and overall health complications, which is why an initial consultation is vital. We will examine your mouth and discuss your needs before recommending any necessary preliminary treatments. This treatment plan may include services like bone grafting, tooth extractions, gum disease therapy, and more.