Understanding Dental Implants
Ivan Ho, DDS, Smile Transformation Specialist
Award-winning Orange County Dentist Ivan Ho explains everything you should know about dental implants.
Dental Implants 101
Ask an expert about the art and science of implant dentistry.
Dr. Ivan Ho is an award-winning Orange County dentist having over 3 decades of experience in Implant Dentistry. Having personally replaced tens of thousands of missing teeth with implants, Dr. Ivan Ho has the perfect combination of expertise, clinical skill, and artistic eye to perfectly replace your missing teeth.
Why do I Need a Dental Implant?
A Dental Implant is used for replacing missing teeth. Whether you’ve already lost a few teeth or your dentist has just told you that one of your teeth needs to be removed, you will have to consider the options for getting them replaced.
Having even a single missing tooth can have a significant impact on your smile – and, more importantly – impact on your oral and physical health. Each natural tooth plays a role in helping us eat, speak, and smile. A few years ago, dentists could only replace missing teeth with bridges or dentures. Unfortunately, neither of these solutions were long-lasting, nor did they replace the missing teeth in a natural way. More importantly, they had other associated problems such as the risk of additional tooth loss, pain, and discomfort. Another issue related to the use of removable dentures is that they exert significant pressure on the underlying jawbones. As a consequence, dentures tend to accelerate bone resorption which results in shrinking of the face and alteration of the facial profile, adding many years to your face and smile.
Dental implants offer a durable and aesthetically pleasant option for replacing missing teeth. No matter how many teeth you have lost, you can get a beautiful and lastings smile with dental implants that allow you to eat, smile, and speak naturally. When you get implants from Dr. Ivan Ho, they will blend in perfectly – and no one will be able to tell that they aren’t your natural teeth – unless you tell them yourself.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a cylindrical insert that is placed inside the jawbone for permanently replacing one or more missing teeth. An implant is basically an artificial root that gets anchored with the jawbone and provides a solid foundation for the attachment of false teeth. An implant has three parts:
- Post – the post is made from titanium alloys and is inserted into the jawbone to simulate an artificial tooth root.
- Abutment – the abutment, also known as the connector, is also made from titanium. The abutment is placed on top of the post, above the bone level.
- Artificial tooth – depending on the number of missing teeth, Dr. Ivan Ho will place a suitable prosthesis over the implant. In the case of a single missing tooth, Dr. Ivan Ho will attach a crown that looks and feels like a natural tooth. For replacing multiple teeth, Dr. Ivan Ho may use an implant-supported denture or a fixed bridge.
What are the advantages of Dental Implants?
When you lose a tooth, it’s more than just your smile and facial aesthetics that are affected, your ability to chew and speak is also hampered. The remaining teeth also come under a lot of stress – since they have to work more to ensure optimal digestion. Therefore, tooth loss starts a chain of events that result in unwanted tooth movement, crowding, and even further tooth loss. That is why Dr. Ivan Ho recommends that you should get your missing teeth replaced immediately to avoid future complications.
Tooth implants look and feel like your own teeth. Even the best dental bridges and dentures are not as aesthetically pleasant and durable as dental implants. If you are looking for a long-term and aesthetically pleasant option for replacing your missing teeth, then implants are your best solution.
Example: Single Tooth Implant. This patient wanted immediate replacement of her front tooth, which she had lost in an accident.
Dental implants are permanently fixed. The dental implant post is surgically inserted into the jawbone. A unique feature of dental implants is that once they are inserted, they form an intimate contact with the surrounding bone, and become firmly anchored. Once the surgical site has healed, Dr. Ivan HO will attach a suitable prosthesis such as a crown, denture, or a bridge on the implant with an abutment. Your new tooth will feel and function just like your own teeth – allowing you to eat and speak without any difficulty.
Teeth that have been replaced with conventional removable dentures or bridges often require special care. Most removable dentures fail to optimally restore your chewing ability. Many denture wearers have difficulty eating hard and sticky foods, as it can result in the dislodgement of their teeth. Dentures often become loose, or even slip out at the most inconvenient times, and can cause significant pain and discomfort.
Dental implants prevent further bone loss. Whenever you lose a tooth, the jawbone around it starts to recede at an accelerated rate. This unwanted bone loss affects more than your mouth; it changes the entire structure of your face, causing your face to appear shrunken and making you look older. Not only this, but the accelerated bone loss also makes the jawbones weak and brittle – significantly increasing the risk of spontaneous jawbone fracture.
Dental implants prevent this bone loss and may even reverse it. If there is sufficient density and thickness of bone available, Dr. Ivan can insert an implant to permanently and aesthetically replace a missing tooth. Over time, the implant post will bond to the surrounding bone, virtually becoming a part of the mouth. Titanium alloys are used for making implants because they are not only strong and durable, but they also stimulate new bone formation. The result is a firmly anchored implant in the reinforced bone – that provides a strong foundation for attaching the artificial teeth – and allows you to eat and speak without difficulty.
Dental implants preserve your remaining teeth. If you have lost a few teeth, a dental implant can replace the missing teeth without affecting your remaining healthy teeth. A dental bridge depends on the retention support of the adjacent healthy teeth, which requires your dentist to cut down the supporting teeth and place a crown over them. Similarly, a removable denture may also require sacrificing the natural tooth structure for placing the attachments.
Even today, some dentists may recommend bridges or dentures – knowing that they will compromise your otherwise healthy teeth – mainly because they are easier to design and fabricate. Dental implants are a relatively new technology, and not many dentists are familiar with it. Successful tooth replacement with implants requires clinical skills, extensive experience, and any eye for dental aesthetics – a combination that every dentist does not have.
However, not everyone is a candidate for getting implants. Dr. Ivan Ho believes that if a denture or bridge is truly the best solution for a client, he will find the least destructive possible way to install the bridge or denture. Dr. Ivan Ho, however, finds that implants are usually the best tooth-replacement option for his patients.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Complimentary consultation
If you are considering implants, call us today to schedule a complimentary consultation. During your appointment, Dr. Ivan Ho will examine the status of your oral, jawbones, and your facial profile – to ascertain whether you are a candidate for getting your missing teeth replaced with dental implants.
This is a standard bridge. As you can see, dentists have to sacrifice the healthy teeth on either side to accommodate the crowns that support artificial teeth. These three crowns remain permanently connected to the underlying supporting teeth.
Which materials do you use for Dental Implant Treatment?
At Pro Smiles Orange County, Dr. Ivan Ho believes that every patient has unique dental needs – and each patient requires different materials to treat a specific problem. Sometimes, patients inform Dr. Ivan Ho during the consultation appointment that they are allergic to metal. For these patients, Dr. Ivan Ho designs non-metallic, all-ceramic dental implants to avoid any complication.
At Pro Smiles Orange County, we only use the premium quality, world-renowned NobelSelect implant posts, and abutments – from the innovator and leader in the dental implant field – Nobel Biocare. These posts are manufactured from high quality commercially pure titanium alloys, which make them absolutely safe for use in the oral cavity. Dr. Ivan Ho prefers these implants because they promote the process of bone formation around them – which significantly increases the healing process and stability of the implant within the bone. Dr. Ivan Ho will also custom-design the exact size, shape, and configuration of each implant to ensure that the result is a stunningly beautiful and lasting smile.
When designing the crown for a dental implant, Dr. Ivan Ho only uses the highest quality materials that are suitable for each patient’s individual dental and aesthetic needs. Dr. Ivan Ho prepares crowns that do not contain metal so that they are compatible with each patient’s unique smile and facial profile.
We use an exclusive, high-end dental lab, where a master ceramist will custom-craft the crown to Dr. Ivan Ho’s specification. Our lab technician will ensure that every crown has the perfect fit, aesthetics, and color before Dr. Ivan Ho permanently places it over the implant.
What factors could prevent me from getting Dental Implants?
Generally, anyone in good health who has missing teeth is a candidate for dental implants. However, one of the critical requirements for getting implants is having sufficient healthy bone in your jaw to support the implant. However, if you are suffering from some degree of bone loss, then there is no need to worry. Our implant surgeon, Dr. Ivan Ho, who has more than 3 decades of clinical experience under his belt, may be able to help you with a bone graft to restore sufficient bone density. Dr. Ivan Ho also does not recommend dental implants for very young patients, whose jawbones have not fully developed. He also suggests that pregnant women should wait until they have delivered before getting implants.
Some existing medical conditions will also prevent us from restoring your teeth with dental implants. Although chronic medical diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes can affect the outcome of implant surgery, Dr. Ivan Ho believes that such patients can become successful candidates for dental implant treatment, provided adequate precautionary measures are taken.
As with any surgery, certain medications may prevent you from getting implant surgery. If you take medications such as steroids or drugs that suppress the immune system, for example, then implants may not be a suitable option for you. We encourage you to call us today to schedule a Complimentary Consultation for further information.
If you are considering dental implants for getting your missing teeth replaced, then call us today to schedule a complimentary consultation with Pro Smiles Orange County. Let Dr. Ivan Ho examine your mouth and determine if you are a candidate for implant surgery.
Call 949-880-6638 now to schedule a free consultation.
What if I need to have a tooth removed?
At Pro Smiles Orange County, Dr. Ivan Ho believes that there is nothing better than your own teeth. That is why he will go to great lengths to restore even the most severely damaged teeth. There are still a few cases, where a tooth is so severely damaged that it has to be removed But don’t worry, we have an experienced in-office periodontist who will gently remove your tooth painlessly – and replace it with natural-looking dental implants.
Do you know why extractions performed at Pro Smiles Orange County are so gentle and painless? Because we don’t use force; instead, our dentists rely on applying laws of physics to leverage the tooth out of its socket, while using minimal force. We use a special tool called the Physics Forceps that allows us to exert a precise and controlled force that helps in extracting the tooth within thirty to sixty seconds. Since there is no need for yanking, twisting, or wiggling, there is minimal bone damage, and our extractions heal rapidly – allowing us to proceed with implant placement relatively earlier. In most cases, Dr. Ivan Ho continues with implant placement on the same day when a tooth is extracted.
We would like to remind you that some dental implant surgeons advocate removing healthy teeth and putting in a denture that is supported by two or more implants instead. Dr. Ivan Ho does not recommend this practice; he prefers to save as many healthy teeth as possible – only placing implants where necessary. He uses a carefully planned combination of dental implants, porcelain crowns, and bridges to avoid the need for dentures and unnecessary extractions.
Call Us Today to Schedule Your Complimentary Consultation
If you are considering dental implants, call us today to schedule a complimentary consultation with Pro Smiles Orange County. Let Dr. Ivan Ho examine your mouth and determine if you are a candidate for implant dentistry in Orange County.