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Dental Implants
Dr. Leyli Valera, DDS - San Jose, CA

Dr. Leyli Valera specializes in the restoration of dental implants, which are the strongest, most predictable alternative to natural teeth. Implants integrate with your jaw bone or maxilla, making them more reliable, more secure, and easier to clean than dentures or bridges. Caring for an implant requires little more than the same level of care you bring to your natural teeth, and they can last a lifetime if treated properly. If you have a missing or damaged tooth, implants could be the best option for you. Dr. Valera will educate you on the procedure and the benefits of implants, and help you determine the best course of treatment based on your goals.

Common Questions about Dental Implants

What are implants?

Simply put, implants are artificial teeth that look and function like real teeth. They are the strongest and most predictable replacement for natural teeth.

There are also implants that support removable or fixed prostheses. These usually take longer to place, and planning the treatment is more involved, but they serve as a wonderful substitute for a removable denture that is ill-fitting and uncomfortable to wear.

What’s the process from start to finish?

First, Dr. Valera will determine if you are a good candidate for an implant. She’ll start with your medical history—for example, patients with uncontrolled diabetes and/or patients who smoke are poor candidates for implants. Also, patients who have experienced bone loss in the impacted area might have to undergo a procedure called bone grafting or ridge augmentation to build up that bone before an implant can be placed.

If a patient is a good candidate for dental implants, they will have a titanium post surgically placed in the bone. This will serve as the “root of the tooth,” or the supporting structure for the implant. Once the post is placed, the patient will go home. Over a four to six-month period, the surrounding bone will integrate to the post by means of a natural process called osseointegration. During this healing time, the patient can continue daily oral routines and usually eat normally. Once the post is fully integrated into the jaw, the patient will return for the next stage of implant installation.

At this appointment, an abutment is placed, connecting the “root” of the implant to the top coronal portion. A fabricated crown or cap is then placed. These are designed to match the color and shape of surrounding teeth.

How long does it take to install an implant?

From start to finish, the process can take 6 to 12 months. The length of time depends on the oral health of the patient, healing time, and on how the procedure is done. Dr. Valera work with you to develop a treatment plan suited to your preferences, needs, and goals.

When is it time to get implants?

Implants are a wonderful alternative when patients are missing teeth. A missing tooth can cause trauma to surrounding teeth and bone loss over time. Missing teeth can affect the bite and occlusion of the patient as well. When a tooth is missing, the other teeth can start shifting around over time. If you have a missing or severely damaged teeth, talk to Dr. Valera about implants today.

Are implants superior to dentures or a bridge?

Absolutely. Implants are the strongest and most predictable alternative to natural teeth. Also, cleaning implants is easier. They don’t have to be removed to be cleaned. They look, feel, and function just like regular teeth.

Do implants hurt?

Patients are surprised, and delighted, to find that implants don’t hurt very much at all. Some patients experience slight discomfort for a few days after the procedure, but it’s nothing that can’t be managed with over-the-counter pain medications.

Are implants visible?

Implants look and feel like natural teeth. They’re visible in the same way that your other teeth are visible, and are virtually indistinguishable from surrounding teeth.

Do I need to change my diet?

This depends on your medical history, but in general, patients don’t have to change their diet after having implants placed.

What is the upkeep for an implant?

Taking care of your implant is the same as taking care of your natural teeth. Brushing, flossing, and practicing good oral hygiene is all that’s required.

Can implants be removed?

If your implant needs to be removed, this should only be done by a trained dental professional. The only reason for removal would be if the implant is failing for some reason. Implants are grafted to the jaw or maxilla bone and would have to be removed surgically.

Can implants fall out?

It is very rare for implants to fall out. If they do, it would be the result of a major trauma, severe health problem, or very bad oral hygiene. If there is something wrong with an implant, it is typically detected early at your regular check-ups, which should prevent the implant from actually falling out.

Are they covered by insurance?

Insurances are beginning to show more coverage for implants, but they are not always covered. If you have any questions about coverage, the team at Crown Family Dentistry is happy to help with insurance concerns.

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