Dental Implants — Carmichael, CA
A Permanent Solution
for Missing Teeth
A single missing tooth can cause all kinds of problems, and those only become worse as more teeth go missing. For people with an incomplete smile, even simple tasks like eating, speaking, and smiling can become awkward and painful. Does this sound familiar? If so, then Dr. Ji is ready to offer you the most complete tooth replacement available today: dental implants. With them, he can rebuild your smile no matter how many teeth you are missing, and you can look forward to the beautiful results lasting for decades to come. To learn more and schedule a consultation, give us a call today.
Why Choose Sheng Ji, DDS, MD Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery For Dental Implants?
- Dual-Trained Surgeon in Both Dentistry & Medicine
- Sedation Options to Make Every Procedure Comfortable
- Advanced Dental Implant Procedures Available
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant consists of three parts. First, a small titanium implant post is placed into the jawbone to replace the roots of the missing tooth. This provides a solid and reliable foundation for the custom-made final restoration on top of it, which can be a dental crown, bridge, or denture. A small connector piece called an abutment fastens the final restoration to the implant post. The end result is a solution that replaces the entire structure of a missing tooth, allowing it to look, feel, and function just like a natural tooth.
The 4 Step Dental Implant Process
Understanding the dental implants process in our Carmichael oral surgery office can help you better prepare for the start of your oral healthcare journey. Yes, it takes many months to achieve your desired results; however, once you begin to enjoy life with your dental implants, you will discover the wait is well worth it. The initial consultation, dental implant surgery, osseointegration and abutment placement, and final restoration placement will require much patience, but you will be grateful for the experience once your prosthetic is firmly in place. Dr. Ji will work closely with your general dentist to ensure a seamless flow from dental implant surgery to the final restoration. If you are eager to learn more about the dental implants process, we invite you to review the following information and contact us with any questions.
Initial Dental Implant Consultation
When meeting with Dr. Ji for your initial consultation, he will discuss your goals with you and examine your smile to determine how many teeth are missing as well as the type of dental restoration you will need to ensure a complete, fully functional smile. If he discovers you have severe decay, gum disease, or jawbone deterioration, you will need to undergo preliminary treatments before receiving your dental implants. Whether it is bone grafting, periodontal therapy, or tooth extraction, these additional treatments will ensure the longevity of your new prosthetics once they are firmly in place.
Dental Implant Surgery
On the day of your dental implant surgery, your implant dentist in Carmichael, Dr. Ji, will administer local anesthesia before making small incisions in your gums. This will expose the bone and allow him to carefully align and position each dental implant so that it provides maximum support. Once they are properly in place, he will close up the gum tissue and place a protective cap over the implant to allow it to heal.
Dental Implant Osseointegration/Abutment
You can expect the implant healing process to take several months; while the gums should heal within a few days, we need to allow time for the implant post to fuse with the bone. You will be expected to follow specific instructions provided to you so that your recovery is swift and successful. Once your dental implants are fully fused with your bone and surrounding tissues, you will receive an abutment, which are small metal appliances that connect the implant to the restoration.
Delivery of Dental Implant Restorations
During the final step, your general dentist will create your dental prosthetic, which might be a crown, a bridge, or dentures, and attach it to the abutment. The materials used to create these restorations will ensure that they blend in with any natural healthy teeth, making it virtually impossible for anyone to tell the difference between your real and artificial teeth. Not to mention, you will be able to enjoy greater functionality when eating, speaking, and smiling.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants have quickly become the gold standard when it comes to tooth replacement. They are the first recommendation Dr. Ji makes to his patients who are looking to recover their lost teeth, and he has already used them to restore countless smiles over the years. Because implants are able to replace both the root and crown of a tooth, they’re able to offer a number of advantages other treatments simply can’t. Are you ready to join over 3 million Americans who are already enjoying stronger, healthier smiles thanks to implants? Here are some of the benefits that you’ll enjoy as a result of the procedure.
There are many little ways that dental implants will make your life better each and every day:
- Complete Security: Dental implants form a foundation directly in the jawbone, which gives them the kind of stability only a real tooth can match. When a patient has implants, they do not have to worry about their new teeth slipping out of place or breaking. Dental implants function like your real teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.
- Unmatched Appearance: Dental implants are usually topped with custom-made porcelain restorations, and because they don’t require any metal or acrylic attachments to stay in place, they’re able to recreate the appearance of a natural tooth down to the finest detail, helping a patient recover their oral health and confidence at the same time.
- Easy Maintenance: Getting traditional dentures usually means making significant changes to your oral care routine. Taking care of dental implants is simple—you basically look after them just like your real teeth! Consistent brushing and flossing along with regular checkups at the dentist are all that’s needed to ensure implants look and function like new for decades to come.
- No Diet Restrictions: After your mouth has fully healed, your dental implants will have chewing power that’s almost on par with your real teeth. You can thus eat all of your favorite meals again without worrying about discomfort.
In addition to improving your appearance and your day-to-day life, dental benefits can actively benefit your health:
- Healthy Jawbone: After a tooth goes missing, it’s normal for the jawbone in the area to start shrinking. This can weaken the foundation of the surrounding teeth and cause a person’s face to develop an aged, “sunken” appearance. Other tooth replacements can’t do anything about this, but dental implants can! Once in place, the new roots will stimulate new bone growth in the jaw and encourage renewed blood flow, helping a patient maintain a more youthful face shape as the years go by.
- Improved Nutrition: Not having any real restrictions in your diet makes it easy to get the various foods you need to keep your body healthy. Make sure you’re taking advantage of your implants and enjoying a wide variety of nutritious meals.
- Protection for Natural Teeth: With dental implants, we can completely fill in the gaps in your smile so that your remaining teeth stay right where they belong. Also, since dental implants are self-supporting, we typically do not have to make alterations to your natural teeth in order to make room for them.
The following benefits make dental implants an excellent investment as the years go by:
- High Rate of Success: When placed by a skilled oral surgeon like Dr. Ji, dental implants have an impressive 98% success rate, meaning they are virtually guaranteed to give a patient the results they want.
- Lifelong Solution: With the proper care, nothing is as reliable as dental implants. While most other tooth replacement solutions only last about five to ten years on average, dental implants can easily last for 30 years or more.
Who Dental Implants Can Help
One of the best things about dental implants is that they can be used to help patients with any number of missing teeth. As long as someone has good dental health, stable overall health, and enough jawbone to support the new tooth roots, they are suitable candidates for implants. If a patient is lacking any of these requirements, Dr. Ji can help them get ready for the procedure. Once a patient is set to begin treatment, he can use the following restorations to renew the smile:
Missing 1 Tooth
Dr. Ji can place a single dental implant topped with an all-porcelain crown between two healthy teeth without altering them at all. This is a much less invasive approach compared to a traditional bridge in which the remaining teeth have to be filed down in order to support the prosthetic.
Missing Multiple Teeth
For patients missing multiple teeth in a row or all throughout their mouth, a small number of implants can be used to support a prosthetic such as a bridge or denture. Compared to their traditional counterparts, implant-retained prosthetics not only have a more secure hold, but they’ve been shown to last much longer as well.
Missing All Teeth
If a patient is missing all of their teeth along a single arch, Dr. Ji won’t have to replace each tooth with an individual implant. Instead, he can use just four to six implants to anchor a full denture to the jaw. Implant dentures are more stable than regular ones, plus they help a patient recover much more of their original bite strength, enabling them to enjoy a more varied diet with ease.
Some patients may be a candidate for All-On-4 implants, which utilize four strategically placed dental implants to support a full denture. During your consultation, Dr. Ji will review both options with you and help you choose the one that’s right for you.Learn More About Implant Supported Dentures Learn More About All-On-4
Understanding the Cost of Dental Implants
Every dental implant procedure performed by Dr. Ji is completely personalized based on the needs of the patient, and because of this, there is no fixed price for implants. The number of implants needed, the type of restoration used, and even the location of the new teeth can all influence the overall cost. While implants can be a sizeable investment in your oral health, they are one that you can trust to last for multiple decades with minimal maintenance. This is much, much longer compared to the five to seven-year lifespan of more traditional replacements, meaning overall, most implant patients actually end up saving money on their new smile.
Types of Dental Implants
Unlike other restorations, dental implants can be used to replace any number of teeth. Naturally, the extent of your tooth loss affects how many implants you need, and thus influences the overall cost. Patients who have only lost one tooth will likely need a single implant post and a crown, but multiple teeth in a row will need to be replaced by an implant bridge, and in some cases you might even need full prosthesis supported by four to six implants (implant denture or All-On-4). Dr. Ji will aim to use to most conservative number of implants necessary to restore the appearance and functionality of your smile.
The Stages of Dental Implant Treatment
When you are considering dental implant as an alternative treatment to restore your smile and function, on average it is reasonable to expect multiple appointments/stages until a final crown is placed. Usually this process starts with preparing the underlying bone for implant by either removing broken tooth along with simultaneous bone graft procedure, or in scenarios where tooth has been lost, the remaining jaw bone may or may not need augmentation prior to implant surgery. Once implant is surgically placed, you can expect an average of 3-5 months of healing period prior to placement of the implant post/abutment followed by routine crown fabrication by your general dentist.
Are Dental Implants Worth the Investment?
Some patients might be discouraged to find that dental implants are generally more costly than traditional dentures and bridges, but over the long term, you’ll find that the procedure is most certainly worth it. The implants will let you enjoy a wider variety of foods, keep your jawbone healthy, and avoid various inconveniences (such as the slipping that often occurs with ill-fitting dentures). There’s even a good chance that implants will prove to be the most cost-effective option over time because they can often last for the rest of your life without needing to be replaced; by comparison, you’ll usually need new dentures and bridges every 5 to 15 years.
Does My Dental Insurance Cover Dental Implants?
Many plans don’t cover implant placement while others do, so you’ll need to check with your insurance carrier to see what benefits are offered. Even if the procedure itself doesn’t receive coverage, your plan could still pay for related procedures. For example, if one of the stages of your treatment is to receive bone graft augmentation/socket preservation, you can normally expect insurance to kick in. We’re happy to help you file a claim to maximize your benefits. We are in-network with many common dental PPOs, but we also accept plans that are out-of-network. Financing through CareCredit is also available.
Dental Implant Technology
Dr. Ji’s extensive training and experience are a pivotal part of making sure your dental implant procedure is successful. However, he wouldn’t be able to do what he does without the help of state-of-the-art dental technology. The advanced instruments in our office contribute to more precise implant placement, more comfortable appointments, and a lower risk of unpleasant surprises during your treatment. Below, you can read about some of the specific pieces of dental implant technology that we use to enhance your experience in our Carmichael office.
3D Cone Beam Imaging
A cone beam computed tomography scanner, also called a CBCT scanner, is a very advanced type of X-Ray. Instead of producing the two-dimensional images that a regular X-Ray offers, a CBCT uses a cone-shaped beam of radiation to create a three-dimensional representation of the oral structures. It captures detailed images of the teeth, the jawbone, nerves, and connective tissues. Armed with the information from the CBCT scan, Dr. Ji is able to place your dental implants as precisely as possible, thereby minimizing your risk of post-surgical complications.
Guided Dental Implant Surgery
Dr. Ji is able to provide cost effective placement of dental implants using his surgical experience and CBCT information to free hand the implant placement. However, there are scenarios where Dr. Ji will utilize 3D printed surgical guides to provide that extra accuracy. Scenarios such as close proximity to a nerve or lack of good healthy jawbone can make implant placement in an ideal angulation challenging and may require the added cost of the surgical guides. That being said, the majority of implant cases in Dr. Ji’s hands will not require surgical guides and its added cost. When applicable, Dr. Ji will be able to fabricate these surgical guides through digital scanning technology to improve your surgical outcome.
Platelet Rich Plasma
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a by-product of blood that is rich in platelets. Platelets perform many functions, and release a lot of various growth factors, such as PDGF (platelet derived growth factor) and TGF (transforming growth factor). Not only is PRP able to stimulate stem cell regeneration, subsets of TGF growth factors – BMP (Bone Morphogenic Protein), are essential in bone formation/maturation. In more complex implant cases such as sinus augmentation with simultaneous implant placements, All-on-4, or immediate implant cases, Dr. Ji routinely utilize PRP from patient’s own blood to facilitate your tissue healing/bone formation to achieve the best surgical outcome.
Advanced Sedation Training
It’s understandable if you are a little nervous about dental implant surgery. But thanks to Dr. Ji’s advanced anesthesia training, you can expect to feel little to nothing during your procedure. He is qualified to safely administer all forms of sedation, including nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, IV sedation, and general anesthesia. Each type of sedation is suited for different circumstances. For example, oral conscious sedation is often a good choice for patients who dislike needles, while general anesthesia is usually reserved for patients who require particularly complex or extensive treatment. Dr. Ji will decide on the appropriate form of sedation for you based on your circumstances.
Advanced Dental Implant Procedures
Some patients are better candidates for dental implants than others, but with the help of the advanced dental procedures that Dr. Ji can offer, more people than ever before are able to undergo the surgery. Do you have a jawbone that has degenerated due to years of missing teeth? Or do your sinuses not leave any room for an implant? With bone grafting and sinus lifting, we can help you overcome these complications so that your smile can be restored.
Dental implants are meant to help prevent bone loss in your jaw, but if you’ve waited too long before having your teeth replaced, odds are you’ve already lost some bone density in that area. We’ll need to rebuild the bone before moving forward with the implant surgery, and to do that we need to use a procedure called bone grafting. Bone tissue will be taken from another part of your body such as the hip or a denser part of the jaw; in certain cases, commercially available bone graft material will come from another person or animal instead. In any case, the new tissue will be transplanted to the degraded area, where it can stimulate the growth of new bone. The surgery normally takes anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes, and afterwards it can take three months to a year for your mouth to fully recover. Implant placement will take place after we’ve determined that your jaw will be able to join with and support the posts.
A sinus lift can be used to add density to a degenerated much like a bone graft. However, this procedure is exclusively used for the upper jaw, and it has the additional benefit of moving the sinus cavity further away from the mouth. We may recommend a sinus lift if we find out that the cavity does not currently leave enough room for dental implants. During the surgery, we’ll open the gums where your tooth was and create a window in the bone. We can then gently lift the membrane that separates the sinuses from the jaw so that we can place the grafting material underneath it. Afterwards, you can usually expect about 4 to 9 months of healing before we move on with the actual dental implant process.
Dental Implant Post-Op Instructions
After Dr. Ji inserts your implants into your jawbone, you will have to go through a recovery period. For most patients, this process is relatively easy. You can greatly increase your chances of enjoying a smooth and complication-free healing period if you carefully follow the dental implant post-op instructions provided by our practice. Below, you will find some useful tips to help you out during stage of your tooth replacement journey.
What to Do Directly After Dental Implant Surgery
Blood clots should form at your surgical sites. These are an important part of your body’s healing process, so you should do all you can to protect them. Here are some guidelines to that end:
- Do not spit. Instead, swallow excess saliva or use tissues to absorb it.
- Do not use drinking straws or smoke cigarettes. The suction action could dislodge the blood clots.
- Do not touch your surgical sites. You might be tempted to feel your incision sites with your tongue or fingers, but it is best to refrain from doing so.
Common Side Effects
Here are some things you can expect to experience after your surgery:
- Intermittent bleeding. This may continue for several days. Manage it with gauze and light pressure. This usually occurs throughout the first 72 hours after surgery, and it can last for a week or longer. Cold compresses can minimize it.
- Rest and pain medications can ease pain and soreness.
If you experience any severe or unusual side effects, call your implant dentist in Carmichael right away to request an appointment.
At first, you should stick to a no-chew diet, which can include things like smoothies, brothy soups, yogurt, mashed potatoes, and meal replacement shakes. Eventually, you can transition to a fork-tender diet, meaning that you will be able to eat things like scrambled eggs, pasta, meatloaf, and anything else that is easy to cut with the side of a fork. When you resume a normal diet, you should continue to be wary of hard and crunchy foods, especially if you do not have any remaining natural teeth.
Health & Oral Hygiene
You can resume your normal brushing habits the day after surgery, but be extremely careful around your surgical sites. Rinsing your mouth a few times each day with saltwater can help to keep inflammation to a minimum. If you have a prescription mouth rinse, use it as directed. If you choose to use a nonprescription mouthwash, avoid any products with a high alcohol content.
What to Do After Your New Teeth Are Attached
After your appointment to get prosthetic teeth attached to your dental implants in Carmichael, you might notice that you produce some extra saliva or that your gums are tender. Such issues tend to subside within days. There should be no swelling, no bleeding, and no lengthy recovery.
Maintaining & Caring for Your Dental Implants
Dental implants in Carmichael have the potential to last for decades. In fact, they commonly endure for a lifetime. Whether or not your implants live up to their potential depends to a large extent on you. By diligently caring for your restored smile, you can reduce the risk that infection or trauma will seriously damage it. Fortunately, maintaining dental implants isn’t complicated or time-consuming. In fact, in many ways, it is similar to caring for natural teeth.
Make Oral Hygiene a Priority
One of the most common causes of dental implant failure is an infection known as peri-implantitis, which occurs when bacteria attack the tissue around an implant. Oral hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent such an infection. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day, being sure to clean both the backs of your teeth and the area along the gumline. Once-daily flossing is also key. Dr. Ji might also recommend that you use an antibacterial mouthwash.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Dental implants can enable you to eat virtually any food. However, just like some foods are better than others for natural teeth, dental implant care in Carmichael also requires that you make smart choices about what you consume. For example, you should enjoy sticky and sugary food in moderation. Extremely hard foods (like jawbreaker candies) should be avoided altogether. Instead, try to focus your diet on foods that promote oral health. Items that are rich in calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin D may all be beneficial.
Break Bad Habits
Smoking can slow down your body’s ability to heal after dental implant surgery. It also increases the risk of dry mouth and gum disease, both of which can pose a danger to dental implants. Every effort you make to kick the habit will be worth it!
Another bad habit that might harm implants is biting on hard items. Chewing on pen caps, crunching on ice, or using your teeth as a tool may all damage dental implant restorations and your oral tissues.
Protect Your Dental Implants
If you play sports, you should always wear a mouthguard to prevent the need for an emergency appointment with your implant dentist in Carmichael. A custom mouthguard from a dentist provides better protection than one that you can purchase over the counter. You might also need to wear a special mouthguard at night if you tend to grind and clench your teeth while you are asleep. The mouthguard can prevent you from putting excess pressure on your dental implants that might damage them or their restorations.
Schedule Regular Dental Checkups
Even though dental implants can’t get cavities, regular checkups with your dentist remain as important as ever. At your appointments, your dental team may remove your restorations, clean the area around your implants, and look for any early indications of infection or other issues. They may be able to catch problems while they are still in their early stages and relatively easy (and relatively inexpensive) to fix.
Dental Implant Failure & Salvage
Dental implants are successful in the vast majority of cases — for most patients, their new teeth are still thriving many years or even decades after placement. However, there is still a small chance that you could face dental implant failure. If you ever suspect that something is amiss with your dental implants, call us right away. Dr. Ji will assess the situation, recommend a treatment, and do everything possible to preserve your restored smile.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dental Implants
Even with all this information available to you, you may still have questions about getting dental implants. Our team in Carmichael want you to be fully informed about this replacement option so that you’re completely confident moving forward. Here are some questions that we are often asked by our patients. We hope our responses below help you see how dedicated we are to your smile’s success. If you have other questions, if you’d like to discuss your concerns in more detail with Dr. Ji, you can request an appointment.
Do I Need a Bone Graft Before Getting Dental Implants?
For patients in need, a bone graft enables them to qualify for dental implants. This preliminary procedure may be necessary if the patient has lost too much jawbone due to long-term tooth loss, previous advanced periodontal disease, osteoporosis, uncontrolled diabetes, and chemotherapy and radiation treatment for certain kinds of cancers. Before we perform the placement procedure, we will collect detailed images of your jaw and ascertain whether a bone graft would help ensure success.
Does Getting Dental Implants Hurt?
Before the implant placement procedure begins, we will administer a local anesthetic, so you will be numb. As the jawbone has very few nerve endings, the surgery itself should not feel painful at all; however, you should be aware that you may feel some minor discomfort in your mouth for a few days following the procedure. If needed, you may take pain medication, whether prescribed or over-the-counter, as we instruct. You may also use a cold compress. Should your discomfort increase past three days afterward, contact our office immediately.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from Dental Implant Surgery?
Compared to many other dental procedures, implant placement is one of the most complex. That being said, you should be capable of returning to your normal routine about 24 hours after the surgery. The bleeding should subside after a couple of days, and swelling should go down after about four days. Keep in mind, however, that you should not participate in strenuous activity, which can slow down the healing process, for about a week after implant placement. To give your implants a chance to integrate fully with the jawbone, we may need to wait up to six months.
Will I Have to Take Off Work for Dental Implant Surgery?
Each patient is different in terms of their healing needs or their situation; however, in general, many patients take one or two days of time off for implant placement. Do you have a physically demanding job? We may recommend taking three or four days off in order to give your body more time to heal before returning to work. Or you may want to consider scheduling your procedure for a Thursday or Friday to give yourself more quality healing time.
How Long Does Dental Implant Surgery Take?
The duration of implant placement depends on how many implants you’re getting during a single appointment. Typically, placing one implant can require an hour or two when you factor in the anesthesia and surgical preparation. During your consultation, we can determine how many implants we’ll place and give you a clearer timeline you can expect.
Do Dental Implants Decay?
No, dental implants are made of titanium alloy, which makes them long lasting and biocompatible. However just like your natural teeth, you may lose your teeth either due to decay or periodontal bone loss. The similar process can occur to implants if gingival health is not maintained, which is termed peri-implantitis, and this will eventually lead to implant failure due to increased bone loss around the implant. This is why it is imperative that you take at-home oral hygiene seriously just like how you would take care of your natural dentition. If you want to avoid additional tooth and bone loss and keep your dental implants firmly in place for a lifetime, you must be diligent in keeping your teeth and gums healthy all the time.
How Can I Tell If My Implant is Failing?
It is extremely rare for dental implants to fail, especially since they have a 95-98% success rate when placed by a qualified oral surgeon. However, in the rare case that one does fail, you will likely experience additional pain and swelling around your dental implant site. It is possible to also feel your prosthetic becoming loose. If this happens, make sure to call our office as soon as possible. Dr. Ji can review your problematic area and examine it with CT scans. He will then recommend whether it can be salvaged via debridement/bone graft or possible explantation/removal of the failed implant to ensure the health of your smile.
Am I Too Young to Get Dental Implants?
Dental implants are not recommended for individuals under the age of 18 simply because a teenager’s jaw and facial structure have yet to “set.” They are continuing to form, which means dental implants are not a safe and reliable option. However, for adults whose permanent teeth and facial features are firmly set in place, dental implants can be a great way to replace one or more missing teeth. It is necessary to have a strong jawbone to support your implants and customized restoration, so even if you cannot move forward with implant surgery right away, Dr. Ji and his team will recommend preliminary treatments such as bone graft/sinus augmentations/soft tissue grafts that will improve the prognosis and outcome for your future implants.
Will People Be Able to Tell I Have Dental Implants?
No, dental implants are designed to look and feel just like regular teeth. The way they are surgically placed into the jawbone allows them to blend in beautifully with the rest of your smile, so no one will ever be able to tell the difference between your real and artificial teeth. Not to mention, the materials used to create your dental crown, implant bridge, or implant denture will look just like normal tooth enamel, so you can feel more confident about your appearance, especially when gathering with family, friends, and colleagues.
What Should I Do If I Can’t Afford Dental Implants?
Unfortunately, most dental insurance companies will not agree to cover the cost of dental implants; however, this is not always the case. This is why it is recommended that you contact your dental insurance company to learn more about your coverage and benefits. It may be possible for them to cover the cost of your preliminary treatments and customized restoration, which can help to lower your out-of-pocket expenses. If you are looking for alternative ways to keep your dental implant procedure affordable, you can also apply for flexible financing through CareCredit. This third-party financier offers low and no interest payment plans to eligible individuals.