Imagine feeling too embarrassed, ashamed even, to eat at a restaurant because you’re afraid that your dentures will break or fall out. Imagine not even wanting to go out on a date or out with friends, sapped of energy because of how you feel about yourself. This is a real story Dr. Henninger told me recently about a real patient, a woman who hadn’t eaten publicly in over two decades. She decided to have her denture fixed into place by using dental implants. It provided her denture with greater strength and stability, so she didn’t have to worry about the denture falling out or being damaged. We all know that San Diego is way too adventurous of a city for us to be hiding in our homes afraid to go out! Dr. Henninger is a local cosmetic and implant dentist who works on creating beautiful smiles that STAY PUT! I love his honesty, and his stories! Here’s what he has to say about San Diego dentistry!:

Imagine the freedom this woman experienced when that burden, that fear, was lifted. Imagine the liberation that comes with being able to do what you want, when you want to, without being held back by an unnecessary anxiety. That’s the power of a strong, healthy smile that delivers confidence, and I am happy to provide that in San Diego. It goes without saying that tooth loss is not just an aesthetic issue. There are serious health concerns, including dental, physical, and emotional wellbeing problems associated with missing teeth. It can completely change someone’s life.

People lose teeth for a lot of different reasons. Some people simply aren’t born with certain adult teeth, others lose them from physical impact or just age. It happens, it’s okay, and modern dentistry has come a long way in providing a solution that looks natural and lasts for a long time. This solution is the dental implant.

How Dental Implants Work

I knew a patient who was missing a number of teeth on both arches, on the upper and lower jaws. She was an older woman with a recently born grandson. She explained to me how she wanted to bond with her grandson, to spend time with him, and build the same relationship many of us have with our own grandmothers. She couldn’t because he would cry and run away when she smiled. It’s not a joke. Her smile, because of her missing teeth, elicited that response and it affected her considerably, just like it would affect you the same way. That’s when she decided to explore the options of dental implants, specifically an implant-supported dental bridge.

Most people think of implants as the porcelain or ceramic replacement tooth. This is just the surface of the treatment and is, technically, separate. The dental implant itself is a fixture that acts as a tooth root. Made of titanium and, increasingly, ceramic, the implant fixture is designed to stay in place and continue functioning for decades. This feature, the fact that the implant fixture acts as a permanent tooth root, is what makes the treatment so versatile. You can use dental implants to replace a missing tooth, you can use them to replace an entire arch of teeth, and you can even use them to better secure removable dentures. In the case of the above mentioned patient, she used four dental implants along each arch to permanently secure a porcelain dental bridge in place.

Implant marketing often makes the claim that the treatment is “life changing.” It’s easy to assume that this is hyperbole or exaggeration. Consider, though, that before dental implants there was no treatment that could restore functionality to the missing tooth. You simply had to stop enjoying certain foods and activities. If you replaced a missing tooth with a dental bridge or a removable denture, you just had to put up with the fact that they were delicate, ugly, and likely to need frequent replacement.

Dental implants are like tooth roots. They restore the strength that roots give to our teeth. That means you can chew on them just like you did with natural teeth, and they provide many of the same benefits including maintaining the bone density of your jaw — beforehand, patients with missing teeth had to accept bone loss. Dental implants totally change the game.

Why it Matters That Implant-Supported Bridges & Crowns Look Natural

I knew a man who absolutely loved to drive his motorcycle all around town. In his early 20s, he was glued to the thing. One day, he got into an accident and lost almost half of his teeth as a result. He recovered. He was fortunate enough to still be able to walk. Nevertheless, the experience was very traumatic and it left a permanent scar in the shape of a smile he no longer had. Imagine not being able to smile or, at least, not wanting to because you’re embarrassed. Imagine what kind of feeling that gives you, to feel that you’ll be judged if you do something as natural as laugh or grin. Dental implants are marketed as natural-looking and people often wonder what exactly that means, why it matters.

It matters because our smiles matter. Our teeth are very important to us, as individuals and as a society. It’s one of the first things people notice about us, it’s often what they remember the most about you. All the same, our smiles — and our ability to do so — is integral to our emotional health and happiness. That a treatment like dental implants can restore confidence in someone who’s dejected because a mistake, or an unfortunate event, is a very big deal. You can see it in the patient’s eyes when they look at themselves in the mirror after treatment. It’s honestly an incredible experience.

It’s not the dental implant itself that looks natural. The implant is the fixture, the root. What you see when you smile is the crown. The crown, and in many cases the full-arch bridge, is made out of porcelain or ceramic using a machine that fully individualizes them for the patient. Their shape, size, and color are all customized using 3D imaging and modeling technology. I make crowns and bridges on the same day of the treatment using a CEREC machine, which mills the crown or bridge on the spot. This is the behind-the-scenes magic, what allows us to create tooth replacements that look as if they belonged to your smile and had always been there.

Yes, Dental Implants Change Lives

Many of us take our smiles for granted. Most of us have had dental work done, whether routine cleanings or braces when we were young, and some of us may even have dental implants, but when we smile we don’t tend to think about what this means or what it does for us emotionally. It takes losing your teeth to understand how life changes.Consider that, statistically, more women would rather date a man who lives with his parents than one with crooked, yellowed, or decayed teeth. That’s pretty powerful. It goes a long way to show us how our smiles impact our appearance, self-esteem, and our place in society.

To have a treatment that not only replaces teeth but replaces them with something that looks natural and functions like real teeth, is amazing. It’s not a second-best solution, it’s as if the tooth loss never happened. That’s how dramatic the change is and why patients who’ve had dental implants placed tend to walk away from the treatment as happy and ecstatic as they do.

I know that implants can be expensive. That should be the least of your concerns.  Dentists can work with you to make it affordable. My recommendation is to at least get a consultation, give it a try, and see what your options are. What do you have to lose? Our office is located at 1934 Via Centre Suite A, Vista, CA 92081 and we are available to talk on the phone at 760-940-2273 anytime and answer your questions or schedule an appointment! We are happy to help you get your smile back!