Dental implants have become a popular option for patients that are looking for a tooth replacement solution. Many have questions about dental implants and may have some fear and confusion around how they work. This article will present all the information that you will need to know before choosing to get a dental implant

What are dental implants?

To put it simply, dental implants are an artificial tooth that is shaped similarly to a screw. They are placed directly into the jawbone where they bond with the bone. On top of the implant is the base, called an abutment, that supports the artificial base called a crown. By being anchored directly into the jawbone, they are a stable and sturdy base to support the crown.  They are durable and lasting tooth replacement solutions. When a tooth is missing, the bone that the root of the tooth will slowly decay over time, changing the shape of your face. Dentures or tooth replacement solutions that simply sit on top of the gums can do nothing to prevent this. Dental implants are the only solution that preserves the natural bone of the jaw. And they can actually help stimulate bone growth.  Not only can dental implants provide a great smile, but they can also improve your oral health by essentially replacing your tooth almost as if you had your natural tooth back. They have an advantage over traditional dentures as they preserve the natural jaw bone and thus prevent bone decay and change to your facial shape.  The titanium of the implant will fuse to the bone, so the implant won’t slip, make noise, or cause bone damage like how fixed bridgework or dentures can. The materials also don’t decay, unlike your own teeth which support the bridgework.  The implant is mounted with an abutment which holds the crown. The crown is made from a variety of materials, from porcelain to zirconium, and is made to look like your natural teeth. Modern implants have a long history of success, with a 30-year track record as the most effective way to replace lost teeth. What makes them so successful is the fact that they look, feel, and function just like a natural tooth. The surgery itself is one of the safest and predictable procedures when performed by a trained and experienced dental implant dentist

Why do people get dental implants?

People may get dental implants for a variety of reasons. Generally, your dentist might recommend dental implants if you:
  • Have one or more missing teeth
  • Do not smoke tobacco
  • Want to improve your ability to speak after tooth loss
  • Are unable to unwilling to wear dentures
  • Have healthy tissues in your mouth
  • Have enough bone structure to support the implant
  • Have a fully-grown jawbone
  • Don’t have any health conditions that could impact bone healing
  • Can commit several months to the process

How are dental implants put in?

The implant is surgically placed into the jaw and how the surgery is performed depends on the type of implant used and the condition of your jawbone. There may be a few different procedures involved. Because the process requires the jaw bone to heal around the implant, the process can be quite long before it is complete.   Let’s take a look at what a dental implant procedure could look like.

Preparation for the Surgery

In the planning phase, expect to go to a consultation with dentists and other specialists who will assess the health and condition of your mouth, your jaw, your face and possibly see dentists who specialize in the gums and bones, one who designs and fits artificial teeth, and occasionally an ear, nose, and throat specialist. The complexity of this part of the planning depends on a patient’s particular situation. The evaluation before the surgery will include at least these three things:
  • A comprehensive dental exam. This will include dental x-rays, 3D images, and models made of your teeth and jaw.
  • A review of your medical history. Be sure to tell your dentist of any preexisting conditions and any medications that you take. Including any prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs and supplements. If you have a heart condition or orthopedic implants you may be recommended to do a course of antibiotics before surgery to prevent infection.
  • Creation of a treatment plan. This plan will be custom built to outline the exact steps that you will be taking to prepare for, and recover from the surgery. It will include details like which teeth and how many are being replaced, the condition of your jawbone and remaining teeth, and other details.
You should also discuss with your dentist any anesthesia options, such as local anesthesia, sedation, and general anesthesia. Depending on what is chosen, your dental team will instruct you about what you will need to do before the surgery, like not drinking liquids or eating food. You will also need someone to take you home after the surgery and to rest for the rest of the day.

The Dental Implant Surgery

The surgery is often done in stages and is an outpatient surgery. Between each stage is a period for recovery and healing. The steps involved in dental implant surgery may include:
  • Removal of the damaged tooth
  • Preparation of the jawbone, with potential bone grafting, if needed
  • Placement of the dental implant
  • Bone growth and healing
  • Placement of the abutment
  • Placement of the crown (artificial tooth)
This process can take many months from start to finish. The majority of this time is devoted to healing and waiting for the growth of new bone. Sometimes the steps can be combined, depending on the types of materials used, and the condition of your jaw bone.

Recovery from Dental Implant Surgery

When recovering from the surgery, you may experience many of the typical discomforts that come with dental surgery. Some of the discomforts to expect include:
  • Swelling in the gums and face
  • Bruising of the skin and gums
  • Pain or discomfort at the implant site
  • Minor bleeding
Talk to your dentist if you feel like you would need pain medication. If the swelling or the discomfort or any other problem gets worse in the days following the surgery, contact your oral surgeon. After each stage, stick to soft foods while the site heals. The stitches will often dissolve on their own, but they may require removal by the surgeon as well.

Is it painful to get dental implants?

The surgery itself will likely not hurt as you will be under some form of anesthesia, whether that is local anesthesia or general anesthesia. That detail will be discussed with your doctor during the initial consultation and planning.  During the surgery, the gums are cut open and a hole is drilled. However, there are no nerves in the jaw to feel pain so if you are only under local anesthesia for the gum pain you won’t feel any pain from the drilling.  The period that may cause the most discomfort and pain will be the recovery and healing period. It is likely that your dentist will prescribe pain medications or recommend over the counter pain relievers. Follow exactly the recovery plan outlined by your dentist for the best possible recovery.  Most people do not experience extreme pain during the procedure or recovery. Expect soreness and swelling for the first days after the surgery. Most patients compare the pain as being less than having a tooth being pulled. 

How much does it cost to get a dental implant?

A mouth of dental implants generally requires only four implants to be placed per arch, one for the top arch and one for the bottom. These serve as anchor points for the denture arch that is placed securely on top of them.  Because of the many factors involved with determining the cost, including the location of the service, the kinds of materials used, the implant model type, how extensive the surgery is, and many other factors, it can be difficult to readily estimate what dental implants will cost. The average cost for one tooth is replaced with a dental implant is anywhere between $1500 to $6,000 including office visits, x-rays, anesthesia, and more. A full set of teeth replaced can be between $3000 to $30,000 depending on the factors mentioned above.  Insurance can sometimes help, depending on if it is being implanted to meet a medical need. If the insurance company considers it to be a cosmetic company, then they will often not cover the expenses.  They may cover portions of the procedure, but it is important to contact your insurance company to see what they will cover. Your dentist can often help with this part of the research.


How much does one implant cost?

One implant can cost between $1500 to $6000 on average, depending on many factors. A full mouth can cost between $3000 to $30,000 on average.

How long is recovery?

Recovery can last several months depending on the timeline set up by your dentist. It is not a short recovery, but can sometimes take months.

Does it hurt to get an implant?

The surgery itself is often painless, but the recovery can be painful or uncomfortable for a few days after the procedure.

Why should I get an implant?

If you are missing one or more teeth and you don’t want to deal with dentures sliding around and you want to be able to get your natural tooth back, dental implants are as close as you can get.

Quality Dental Implants in Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Golden Smiles Dental in Rancho Cucamonga, CA can do all the necessary dental work to determine the option that’s right for you. Golden Smiles Dental proudly serves the Rancho Cucamonga area with a full range of Dental & Implant services. Give us a call at (909) 481-8990 to schedule an appointment.