New patients receive FREE CT Scan ($345 value) with paid dental implant consult.
What Are Dental Implants?
It seems like lately, more and more of our patients are choosing to restore their missing teeth with dental implants. However, there are still many people out there with missing teeth who are unaware of what dental implants are.
If you live in Los Altos, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Saratoga, San Jose, Santa Clara or San Francisco and are curious about implants and what they are, then you’ve come to the right place here at Bay Area Implants. We encourage you to read on to find out what dental implants are and how our specialists are able to use them to leave you with many amazing benefits.
Benefits of Treatment
Our patients love their dental implants because they come with many unique benefits that simply cannot be matched by other restoration methods. Some of these include:
Dental implants are well-loved because of how long they last. While most tooth restoration treatments need to be replaced about every seven years, your dental implants can actually end up lasting the rest of your life if they are well taken care of.
Some restoration methods require constant maintenance or can require you to go to extra steps to keep them clean. Some of these other methods can also require that you purchase additional cleaning tools, which will end up costing you a lot of money in the long run. Luckily, dental implants require no more maintenance than your natural teeth do. You will simply need to brush and floss regularly like you normally would, as well as attend your regularly scheduled check-ups and cleanings.
Strength and Durability
Other restoration treatments can have difficulty handling all types of food. Foods that are too hard or too chewy can actually end up damaging the patient’s restoration. Dental implants, on the other hand, are very durable and are just as strong as your natural teeth are. Thanks to osseointegration, your implants will be strong enough to handle any food you throw at them.
The Anatomy of a Dental Implant
Implants can replace single teeth, bridges and dentures. It’s like having your natural teeth back! The process is simple and painless and can be completed in as little as 3 months. Yes, there are dental implants that are made up of only two parts. However, the most common form of implant is made up of three, which is the type of implant we utilize here at our practice. These three parts are:
The Implant Fixture
The most important part of a dental implant is the implant fixture. The reason for this is the fact that the implant fixture takes the place of your missing tooth root, and will support your replacement tooth. During the implant procedure, a fixture will be placed in your jawbone.
As it heals, a process called osseointegration works to integrate your fixture into your oral anatomy, convincing your body that your implant fixture is no different from any real tooth root. This process is possible because the implant fixture is made from titanium, a biocompatible alloy that your body doesn’t recognize as a foreign material.
The next part of the dental implant is the abutment, which works to connect your replacement tooth to the implant fixture. Much like the implant fixture, the abutment is also typically made from titanium. While it can be possible for this piece to be placed directly after the implant procedure, it is not uncommon to wait until after the fixture recovers before having it attached
The last part of the dental implant is the restoration that will top it. When you are restoring only a single missing tooth, this restoration typically takes the form of a porcelain crown. However, we can also top implants with dental bridges and overdentures, though you may need multiple implant fixtures to support these restorations.
Regardless of which restoration you use, we will model your new replacement teeth after your remaining natural teeth, allowing them to fit your smile perfectly. By taking this extra step, we can make sure that no one can even tell the difference between your natural and artificial teeth.
Our Dental Implant Process
Step 1: The Consultation
Your dental implant procedure begins with a consultation. During your consultation, our specialists will perform a thorough examination of your oral health in order to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for treatment with dental implants and, if so, which implant treatment might be best for your needs.
At this point, your doctor will also determine whether or not you need a supplemental procedure before you can have an implant placed in your jawbone.
Give us a call at (650) 941-7300 today to schedule.
Step 2: Optional Supplemental Procedures
Some patients require a supplemental procedure before they are able to move forward with the dental implant process. These patients may not be able to support implants because their jawbone has deteriorated or their gums have receded to the point where they cannot provide the foundation required for implants to succeed.
Fortunately, we can perform a procedure such as bone grafting or soft tissue augmentation in order to restore your oral health back to the point where it can support your dental implants.
Step 3: The Implant Procedure
Once your oral health checks out, you will be ready for the dental implant procedure. During your procedure, an implant fixture is placed in the empty spot left behind by your missing tooth root. Once in place, the area will then be stitched up so that it can heal properly.
At this point, your doctor may choose to attach an abutment and temporary replacement crown to your implant fixture. However, it is not uncommon to wait until after the recovery period before having any other pieces attached to the fixture.
Step 4: The Recovery Period
Once your implant fixture is in place, it will require four to six months of recovery time before you can move on to the next stage of the dental implant process. The reason why so much time is required for your implant to heal is because of the process of osseointegration, which occurs as your implant fixture recovers.
Osseointegration works to see that your implant fixture fuses to your jawbone, which allows your body to manipulate your fixture just like it would one of your natural tooth roots. This process is possible because the titanium alloy that implants are made from is not recognized by your body as unnatural.
Step 5: The Restoration
Once your implant fixture is properly healed, you will return to our practice in order to have your replacement tooth attached. At this point, the abutment will also be placed if it wasn’t already attached during a prior appointment. Depending on how many teeth you are missing, your restoration can take the form of a porcelain crown, a dental bridge, or an overdenture.
Your chosen restoration will be custom-made for you based on scans we will take of your remaining natural teeth. This allows us to provide our patients with beautiful replacement teeth that fit in perfectly with their natural teeth, ensuring that no one will be able to notice that some of your teeth are artificial.
Platelet Rich Fibrin (PRF) Enhanced Healing
What is PRF Enhanced Healing?
PRF enhanced healing speeds up the healing time for patients whose ability to heal naturally may be inhibited, such as senior citizen patients who have been told they’re not candidates for dental implants, patients in need of full-mouth dental implants or bone grating, or patients with other medical factors that impact healing.
Although PRF enhanced healing is a minor procedure—there’s little to no discomfort for the patient, and the process itself isn’t too lengthy—it’s one of the most technologically and medically advanced dental procedures today, and the benefit to patients is enormous.
How Does PRF Enhanced Healing Work?
Platelet Rich Fibrin Enhanced Healing involves drawing a small amount of a patient’s blood, using a special machine to separate the components, and then extracting the healing elements from the blood. Those elements are then injected into the implant site to speed up the healing process.
The procedure itself begins by drawing a small amount of blood from the patient and placing it in a centrifuge that separates the red blood cells, plasma, white blood cells, and platelets. The white blood cells and the platelets—the most important components for healing—are then extracted and injected back into the implant site, promoting healing in the surgical area.
Almost immediately upon injection, healing and cell generation—both of the soft gum tissue and hard bone tissue—start to occur.
Not only does the use of PRF speed up healing time, but it can also reduce the risk of common dental complications such as failed dental implants, failed bone grafts, and general infections.
Am I a Candidate for Implant Dentistry?
Dental implants are the best treatment for one or more missing teeth — but before you move forward with dental implant treatment, it’s important to understand if you’re a good implant dentistry candidate. To find out if dental implants are right for you, you’ll first need to schedule a consultation with our specialists.
Not every patient looking to treat their missing teeth is a good candidate for dental implants from the start. Through this consultation, we can determine what could be preventing you from moving forward with the treatment you need. We recommend you look at the factors that determine your candidacy for dental implants to learn if dental implants are right for you.
What makes an ideal implant candidate?
To be an ideal candidate for dental implants, your overall health and oral health should be in good condition. That’s because implants are relying on healthy tissue to complete the osseointegration process.
What does good oral health mean? Among other factors, good oral health includes being free of gum disease and tooth decay, as well as having a healthy jawbone and gum tissue.
An ideal implant candidate also understands the process before deciding to begin. While an excellent solution for missing teeth, the process can take several months to complete.
Less ideal candidates for dental implants
It’s our goal to give every patient access to the best tooth restoration procedures possible.
However, some patients may not be a good fit for dental implant procedures because of health conditions or certain lifestyle elements. Examples include:
- Smoking: Because smoking can have detrimental effects on your oral health it can also create conditions that make it difficult for dental implants to heal successfully.
- Heavy alcohol use: Consuming large amounts of alcohol can impact your ability to heal, which can mean that your dental implant recovery may fail.
- Children: Successful dental implants require a mature jawbone which means we can’t provide implants to patients before their jawbone has finished growing.
- Pregnancy: Pregnant patients are generally advised to avoid surgery, therefore it’s safest to wait until after your child is born before beginning the dental implant process.
Remember, just because you’re not an ideal candidate for dental implant treatments when you first come to see us, doesn’t mean treatment is out of the question. Sometimes, as with pregnancy or children, it is just a matter of time before you are able to receive dental implants.
Often patients need other treatments first, to help prepare them for an implant procedure.
With the specialists in our office, we are able to help people become candidates for implant dentistry. For example, we can overcome issues such as the following:
Insufficient bone in the upper or lower jaw: We can perform bone grafts and sinus lifts to build up the bone structure to sufficiently support teeth implants.
Lost or damaged gum tissue: Sometimes when a tooth is lost, there is also damage to the surrounding tissues. In these cases we can perform a soft tissue augmentation in addition to the dental implant to help restore appearance.
Issues with nerve position: When the back molars require implants, we must assess the jawbone and the position of the inferior alveolar nerve. This is to determine whether nerve repositioning will be necessary to make room for the dental implants.
Whether or not you will need a supplemental procedure will be determined during your consultation at our Los Altos, CA office.
Dental Implant FAQ
Our specialists receive hundreds of questions about the dental implant process every day. In order to make things easier for our current and prospective Bay Area dental implant patients, we’ve answered some of the most frequently answered questions below.
Dental implants are one of the best treatment options for restoring missing or broken teeth and are becoming a popular choice among patients looking to restore their smile. Dental implants look natural and feel and function just like your normal teeth. And because they’re fused with your jaw bone, your dental implants are permanent, giving you a beautiful, perfect smile that lasts a lifetime.
Most patients report that neither the dental implant process nor the healing period is as bad as they expected. Our specialists go above and beyond to ensure the comfort of all their patients. You’ll be provided with dark glasses to offset the overhead lights, headphones to drown out sound (especially important for patients who feel unease at the sound of the drill), and you can also opt for additional services like aromatherapy, chair massages, and paraffin wax hand treatment.
During the implant procedure, we will administer local anesthetic or IV sedation so that you won’t feel pain while your implant is being placed.
As you recover from your implant surgery, you may feel some pain and swelling, but the discomfort is usually mild enough to be managed with over-the-counter medications. Pain-sensitive patients are always encouraged to ask us about prescription medications and other pain-reducing techniques to help ease the recovery process.
Getting dental implants to replace missing or broken teeth doesn’t mean you have to put your life on hold, but you may experience 24-48 hours of discomfort immediately following your surgery. If you follow the aftercare instructions we provide, you should experience a quick and relatively painless recovery, with most post-op symptoms subsiding in a matter of days, or up to a few weeks.
Yes! Many people have metal sensitivities and allergies, while others simply prefer not to use metal implants. Our specialists work with both titanium and zirconia implants, so if you have metal allergies or would prefer metal-free implants, feel free to ask us about the best options for you during your consultation. And remember that no matter which type of implant you choose your dental implants will be just as strong as your original teeth (if not stronger), and provide you with a permanent, natural-looking smile.
The cost of treatment depends on whether you need a single dental implant or multi-unit implants. For more complex procedures such as full mouth restorations and dental implants, and Invisalign combination treatments, costs also tend to vary.
While patients tend to worry that dental implants will break the bank, most are pleasantly surprised to discover that implants are actually quite affordable.
Whatever you do, don’t forgo the treatment you need simply because of financial concerns. Dental implants do more than fix missing teeth and restore your smile: they’re a permanent investment in your oral health and your overall health. We help our patients from all over the Bay Area pay for their dental implants, and we work with a variety of budgets. We’ll help you maximize your dental benefits and show you the many options available to finance your treatment.
If you have concerns about paying for dental implants, see our Costs and Financing page for more information. Our goal is to make dental implants affordable for all of our Bay Area patients, and we’ll work with you to make sure that you get the treatment you need.
Our patients are not limited to Los Altos. We see people from all over California’s greater Bay Area, so it’s entirely feasible for you to travel to our office for an implant procedure.
Yes! Don’t let anxiety or worry about your dental implant procedure prevent you from taking care of your oral health and achieving your perfect smile for good. Many patients have fears or worries about oral surgery, and more still have phobias about the dentist in general. These fears diminish completely with IV sedation, which we’re happy to offer to all of our dental implant patients. With IV sedation during your dental implant surgery, you’ll remain awake and completely relaxed – without any anxiety or worries during the procedure.
If you have additional questions or concerns, feel free to contact our office. We’re happy to take your questions and schedule you for a consultation so you can find out more.
Our Happy Patients
Dr Phan and Dental Assistant Jane were really Pros from start to finish. Jane was absolutely hilarious and very attentive, while also totally professional. Her and Dr. Phan made a great team and were able to solve my complicated wisdom tooth situation and always kept me informed of every risk before proceeding. Thank you!Michael B.
Dr Beckstead is amazing. I had partial bone loss around one of my teeth and three dentists think that I won't be able to keep it, but Dr Beckstead performed one surgery and saved my tooth. It has been over two years since the surgery and I have not had any more issues with that tooth.Lucy X.
I'm actually looking forward to my next prophylaxis. That's a teeth cleaning, and I never would have believed I'd say such a thing. I want to give a special shout out to Cindy, who did a fantastic job on my teeth AND gave me the tools and knowledge to nip gum disease in the bud. Have you ever heard of a Sulcabrush? I have one now, and it's awesome. Look it up.David R.
Dr. Beckstead and his entire team are exceptional. They provided kind, informative and top-notch care every step of the way. My nerves were immediately calmed when I entered the office and I realized that I was in the caring and experienced care of true professionals. The procedure was flawless, the outcome was terrific and the entire process was pain-free (in every way!).Tina R.