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Dental Implants FAQ | Santa Ana CA

How long does the dental implants treatment take?

From the time of surgical implant placement to the time of placing the replacement tooth (crown, denture, or bridgework), treatment time can vary between four months and nine months, depending on the availability of good quality bone tissue. Patients with low bone density may require additional procedures like bone augmentation that increase the treatment time to six months or even more. Similarly, patients who require more implants to support dentures may need to have 3-4 implants placed at a time, which will increase treatment time to about nine months. 

How do you fill the gap while undergoing implant treatment?

If the teeth you want to replace are in a visible part of your smile, then it’s important that you have a temporary tooth to fill the gap during treatment. The common options are simple plastic dentures and removable bridges. These temporary restorations should not be put under heavy pressure (biting or chewing) as this could interfere with the healing of the underlying implants. Temporary restorations are not as comfortable or aesthetically pleasing as your final restoration, but they should allow you to function better until your treatment is completed. 

How long do implants last?

Once the dental implants have been successfully placed and the surrounding soft tissues show signs of good health and the new replacement teeth are comfortable and well adjusted, then the diligence of your personal attention to oral hygiene and willingness to visit your dentist in Santa Ana, CA for regular checkups and professional cleaning will have the greatest effect on their durability. Plaque and calculus can also form on replacement teeth, increasing the risk of gum infection, soreness, discomfort, and even tooth loosening. Otherwise, with good care and maintenance and quality underlying bone tissue, implants will last as long as natural teeth. 

How many new teeth can be supported by an implant?

Dental implants are typically used to replace one tooth, or multiple teeth when combined with dentures or bridgework. If you’re missing one natural tooth, then a single implant will be sufficient. For larger spaces with two or more missing teeth, you don’t need one implant per tooth. Instead, the implants will be appropriately spaced depending on the volume and quality of bone tissue at each potential implant support, to support the replacement teeth. 

How do you determine if you have enough bone tissue for implants?

Dental X-rays allow the oral surgeon to determine the height of the bone available to assess whether it’s sufficient to support an implant. In addition, dental CBCT scans (cone beam computed tomography scans) can be used to provide a 3D view of the jawbone to assess both its height and width, which are important to establish the quality and quantity of bone. CBCT scans also help to identify the position of anatomical structures (maxillary sinuses in the upper jaw and the inferior dental nerve in the lower jaw) that must be avoided.