Dental implants change the way people live. They provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. Dr. Alan Esla of Esla Oral & Facial Surgery in Bakersfield, California, has the expertise to fit you for dental implants to help you regain the ability to eat virtually anything and to preserve your natural facial contours and smile. Make an appointment with Dr. Esla by calling the office or using the online booking tool.
Dental implants are tiny titanium posts that Dr. Esla surgically inserts into your jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as substitutes for missing tooth roots. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Dr. Esla then attaches small posts to extend the implants, so they protrude through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.
Implants also help preserve facial structure and prevent the bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, Dr. Esla places the implants in your jawbone. You then wait three to six months to allow the implants to gradually bond with the jawbone. You wear temporary dentures and stick to a soft foods diet during this healing period. Dr. Esla readies your replacement teeth during this period, too.
After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, Dr. Esla uncovers the implants and attaches small posts, which act as anchors for the artificial teeth. The entire procedure usually takes six to eight months. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily lives.
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Dr. Esla is able to place single-stage implants. These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but do require a minimum of six weeks of healing time before Dr. Esla tops them with the artificial teeth. You wear temporary dentures during this period.
In some select cases, Dr. Esla may place implants at the same time as a tooth extraction — further minimizing the number of surgical procedures. This process, called “immediate loading,” greatly simplifies the surgical process. In one visit, Dr. Esla extracts teeth, inserts implants, and places the crowns.
If you are considering implants, Dr. Esla examines your mouth and reviews your medical history thoroughly. He performs the majority of dental implants and bone grafts in his office while you are under local anesthesia. He might also use general anesthesia, depending on your situation.
Once your implants are in place, they serve you well for many years if you take care of them and keep your mouth healthy. Good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and regular appointments with your dental specialists are essential.