If you have missing teeth, dentures, or dental bridges that slip or break, dental implants may be the solution. Dental implants replace the roots of missing teeth and allow dentists to anchor artificial teeth directly to the jawbone. Dental implants are composed of three parts: a titanium post, a metal abutment on top of the post, and a crown. The titanium used in the implant bonds well with the bone tissue, allowing for a quick healing period. Torrey Pines Dental Arts provides exceptional implant dentistry with dental implants for residents of the La Jolla, Del Mar, and greater San Diego area. If you are suffering from the effects of missing teeth, now is the time to contact Dr. Kelly Terranova, Dr. Michael Saade, or Dr. Alexis Louie to take the first step toward enhancing your smile.

A Solution of Choice for Replacing Missing Teeth

Today there are options for patients who are missing permanent teeth. Rather than resting on the gum line like removable dentures, or using adjacent teeth as anchors like fixed bridges, dental implants are long-term replacements that your oral and maxillofacial surgeon surgically places in the jawbone. Composed of titanium metal that "fuses" with the jawbone through a process called "osseointegration," dental implants never slip or make embarrassing noises that advertise the fact that you have "false teeth," and never decay like teeth anchoring fixed bridges. Because dental implants fuse with the jawbone, bone loss is generally not a problem.

After more than 20 years of service, the vast majority of dental implants first placed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons in the United States continue to still function at peak performance. More importantly, the recipients of those early dental implants are still satisfied they made the right choice. If properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime.

Anatomy of a Dental Implant

A dental implant designed to replace a single tooth is composed of three parts: the titanium implant that fuses with the jawbone; the abutment, which fits over the portion of the implant that protrudes from the gum line; and the crown, which is created by a restorative dentist and fitted onto the abutment for a natural appearance.

Many people who are missing a single tooth opt for a fixed bridge; but a bridge may require the cutting down of healthy, adjacent teeth that may or may not need to be restored in the future. Then there is the additional cost of possibly having to replace the bridge once, twice or more over the course of a lifetime. Similarly, a removable partial denture may contribute to the loss of adjacent teeth.

Further, conventional dentures may contribute to the loss of bone in the area where teeth are missing. The presence of natural teeth preserves the jawbone, whereas when a tooth is missing, the bone may erode and weaken until it may be necessary for your oral and maxillofacial surgeon to graft bone to the area to strengthen it for placement of a dental implant. When a missing tooth is replaced by a dental implant, the fusion, or osseointegration, of the implant and bone provides stability, just as the natural tooth did.

If you are missing several teeth in the same area of your mouth, you may still enjoy the confidence and lifestyle benefits that come with dental implants. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will place two or more dental implants, depending on the number of teeth that are missing. Your replacement teeth will be attached to the implants to allow excellent function and prevent bone loss. The implants will serve as a stable support that tightly locks into your replacement teeth and dentures to prevent slipping and bone loss.

With an overall success rate of about 95% and almost 50 years of clinical research to back them up, dental implants are frequently the best treatment option for replacing missing teeth.

Dental Implants vs. Conventional Dentures

Many patients who have selected dental implants describe a quality of life that is much more comfortable and secure than the lifestyle endured by those with fixed bridges or removable dentures. Dentures often make a person feel and look older than they are, cause embarrassment in social situations when they slip and click, and restrict the everyday pleasure of eating comfortably.

When they count the benefits they enjoy as a result of their dental implants, patients say their implants eliminate the day-to-day frustrations and discomfort of ill-fitting dentures. They allow people to enjoy a healthy and varied diet without the restrictions many denture wearers face. With a sense of renewed self-confidence, many people rediscover the excitement of an active lifestyle shared with family and friends and the chance to speak clearly and comfortably with co-workers. For all these reasons, people with dental implants often say they feel better, they look better, and they live better.

Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?

Whether you are a young, middle-aged or older adult; whether you need to replace one tooth, several teeth, or all your teeth, there is a dental implant solution for you. With the exception of growing children, dental implants are the solution of choice for people of all ages.

Why Choose Implant Dentistry?

Given the numerous benefits of implant dentistry, dental implants are quite popular among our Del Mar and San Diego-area patients. Dental implants are comfortable and durable, and patients at our La Jolla practice who have implants report being able to speak, eat, and laugh with confidence. Implants do not rely on support from the surrounding teeth, so they do not adversely affect the teeth’s alignment. They create an attractive smile that feels completely natural and requires no special care once the implant site has healed. With proper dental hygiene, implants can last a lifetime.

Dental Implants are a Team Effort

Dental implants combine the best of modern science and technology, including a team approach spanning several disciplines. A successful implant requires that all parties involved — the patient; the restorative dentist, who makes the crown for the implant; and the oral and maxillofacial surgeon, who surgically places the implant, follow a careful plan of treatment. All members of the implant team stay in close contact with each other to make sure everyone clearly understands what needs to be done to meet the patient's expectations. The teamwork continues long after the implant and crown have been placed. Follow-up examinations with the oral and maxillofacial surgeon and restorative dentist are critical, and progress is carefully charted. Both the oral and maxillofacial surgeon and the restorative dentist continue to work together to provide the highest level of aftercare.

Placement of Dental Implants

Dr. Mark Breese, Dr. Hector Caballero, and Dr. Anthony Opilka are involved with the consultation, restoration, and maintenance of dental implants. Patients can depend on our doctors to guide them through the implant process and ensure that each step of treatment goes as smoothly as possible. Our experience with restorative dentistry and in-depth understanding of the jaw and oral structures allow us to provide outstanding dental implant services.