Dental Implant Procedure FAQ

 Dr. Thomas Gonzales is a dental implant specialist at Town Center Dentistry in Rancho Bernardo. We answer your dental implants and tooth replacement frequently asked questions.

Dental implants are steadily growing in popularity as a tooth replacement option. At Town Center Dentistry in San Diego, we perform a lot of dental implant procedures, from the very simple to the complex.  And not to toot our own horn or anything, but we’re really good at it (toot toot!).

If you want to fill those gaps in your mouth from your missing teeth, and if you’re thinking about alternatives to bridges or dentures, take a look at the following frequently asked questions about dental implants.

How do I know if I’m a good candidate for dental implants?

If you have healthy gums and are committed to proper oral hygiene, you could be a great candidate for dental implants. The main qualifiers are having enough bone and gums to support the implants. If you don’t, we can build up the bone or add the gums you need. At Town Center Dentistry, we’d have to perform a thorough examination to be sure you’re a good candidate for dental implants. But that’s no problem at all. It’s what we do.

How long does implant surgery take?

A single uncomplicated dental implant placement will take less than an hour. An increased number of implants or special complexities such as bone grafting would, of course, make the procedure take longer to complete.  

Does dental implant surgery hurt?

At Town Center Dentistry, we do everything we can to make sure you’re comfortable. A single uncomplicated implant placement can be done with just local anesthesia, and you won’t feel anything. But if the idea of the surgery causes you anxiety, or if the complexities of your case require additional simultaneous procedures, we can provide you with sedation dentistry.  Post-operative discomfort can be eased with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen. In more complicated cases, we may need to prescribe additional medication.

Is it true that some people’s bodies reject the implants?

It is true that on extremely rare occasions, a titanium allergy may cause a person’s body to reject the implant. Occasionally, an implant will not fuse to the bone the first time. In such cases, we will remove the implant, give the site time to heal if there was an infection, and place another implant.

Will I be able to eat and drink normally after getting dental implants?

Immediately after your procedure, you may want to follow a modified soft diet (nothing too chewy or tough) for a couple of weeks, but once your bone has had a chance to graft to those implants, you should be able to eat pretty much whatever you want. For the first couple of months you’ll be wearing a temporary replacement tooth (or teeth, depending on how many implants you’ve received). After the grafting process has completed and locked your implants in place, you’ll receive your permanent replacement teeth. And from there, it’s life as usual – only better.

How long will my dental implants last?

If you take good care of your implants the same you would natural teeth, they can last for decades! As long as you maintain proper nutrition and proper hygiene, attend routine dental check-ups, and are able to keep your gums and mouth free of disease, your dental implants should last and last and last. We’ve seen some implants last as long as 40 years now – and still going! That’s great news, right?

Do dental implants require special care?

Dental implants require the same special care as natural teeth.  Brush twice a day, floss daily, and visit the dentist every six months for check-ups.  One thing that people do forget is that your gums are as important as your teeth when it comes to oral health. More teeth are lost to due to gum disease than to any other disease. Regular visits to the dentist (plus the daily oral care) can help prevent gum disease or reverse it in the early stages.  

Does insurance pay for dental implants?

Some insurance carriers do pay for dental implants. Others don’t. Some will pay a portion of the costs. For some patients who are missing all or most of their teeth, the implant procedure is considered jaw reconstruction with restoration of normal chewing function, and sometimes it’s covered as such. We can’t guarantee that, but if you stop by Town Center Dentistry, we’ll do everything we can to get the best possible benefit from your insurance.

Can any dentist perform implant placement?

Any dentist could perform the implant placement procedure, but the best bet for implants that last (because they’re done with precision and the utmost care) would be to have them done by an experienced implant specialist.  At Town Center Dentistry, that’s exactly what you get in Dr. Eric Driver.  He is highly trained and extremely talented. He also goes above and beyond to help his patients feel informed, comfortable, and prepared. Sure, any dentist could, but with Dr. Driver, you get the security of knowing your implant procedure was done by a skilled, experienced expert.

Have more questions?

Give us a call at Town Center Dentistry in Rancho Bernardo. We’re happy to answer your questions or to schedule a consultation so we can become familiar with your particular needs.