What Are Dental Implants?

Why Get Dental Implants In Houston For Missing Teeth?

What’s the first physical trait you notice about a person when you first meet them? If you’re like 92% of Americans surveyed, you notice their smile. In fact, before people even speak when meeting someone—they’ve already made an impression simply with their smile. Now, that impression can be a good one or a bad one. Often, a person’s smile is indicative of their personality and character—that’s why a healthy smile is so important.

In job interviews, meeting prospective clients, going on a date, or making friends—a toothy white smile really sets the tone. To attain and keep that smile you need to make sure you brush and floss daily and use mouthwash consistently. This routine alone will ensure your mouth does not get a bacterial build-up.

When bacteria build up in your mouth, it forms substances called tartar and plaque. These bacteria can not only cause bad breath but can also cause gum disease and eventually tooth decay. Once a tooth has decayed beyond saving—it must be extracted. This often leaves gaps in your smile that are both disheartening and unhealthy.

Sometimes, however, you don’t lose a tooth due to poor dental hygiene. Sometimes it’s external forces such as genetics, a car accident, or some other dental trauma. No matter how you lose a tooth, it can be a very depressing ordeal and can alter your life as well.

People with missing teeth often suffer jawbone deterioration which disfigures their smile and makes certain foods hard to eat. Dentures don’t fix the problem either since they do nothing to fortify the jawbone. This often leads to many patients suffering from malnutrition and low self-confidence.

The good news is, there is a solution that is as good as natural teeth.

Dental Implants By Dr. Vela

Fortunately, with advancements in dentistry and prosthodontics, we have a much better option than “band-aid” solutions. Dental implants in Houston are a natural 1:1 replacement for missing teeth—from one tooth to entire arches. Dental implants in Houston dentistry are not a new concept. However, the advancement in dental implant technology has advanced by leaps and bounds. Historically dental implants as a concept go as far back as ancient civilizations. Those forms of dental implants were quite crude, and honestly—quite barbaric.

As with all technology and human innovation, dental implants have now come so far that they are indistinguishable from natural teeth. They feel like your own teeth, they look like real teeth, and most importantly, they function the same. You can get back to the life you had before losing your teeth—confidence in social settings, eating what you want. You can get your smile back and kiss your loved ones—without feeling self-conscious about your smile.

Although you may have seen advertisements for dental implants, many people don’t know what they are exactly. Also, some people are skeptical that their dental implants can look as real as natural teeth. It all comes down to the materials Dr. Vela uses to create the most lifelike dental implants in Houston. To understand how the materials play such a significant role, you need to understand what dental implants are.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are an oral implant that is inserted into the jaw to replace missing teeth. They are comprised of three components:

  • Crown: Much of your tooth is not typically visible as it sits below the gumline. The crown is the part of the tooth that is exposed and what comprises your smile. Dental implants are made of hardened ceramic material that is as hard or harder than natural teeth. Because the ceramic is hand-painted by an artist using your dental molds, the crown blends in seamlessly with your remaining teeth.
  • Abutment: We often explain this to our patients as a connector, as it is what anchors the crown to the implant base. Abutments are usually octagonal or hexagonal in terms of shape.
  • Base: This is what makes it all possible—a titanium screw that bonds with your jawbone. That bonding is crucial as it truly replaces your tooth in both form and function. Your jawbone will not deteriorate and it will be as secure as the teeth you were born with.

What Is The Process For Getting Dental Implants?

Dental implants do require a surgical procedure inside the mouth, so you will be fully sedated while this is performed. This sedation not only keeps you from feeling pain but allows Dr. Vela to work easier and with precision.

For single or non-neighboring teeth replacement, Dr. Vela will drill a small hole into the gap in the jawbone. This is so he can implant the base into your jaw and allow it to fuse with the bone and heal. After it has healed, the abutment (connector) is attached to the top of the titanium implant in another surgery. Once that is done, the crown is attached on top and secured for a natural fit.

That is the basic process for a singular dental implant. However, there are other options when missing a full arch where new teeth are possible on the same day.

Dental Implant Care

Dental implants are made out of extremely durable materials and unlike natural teeth, they will never decay. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to care for them as you would natural teeth. Your oral hygiene needs to be maintained as you can still get bacteria build-up. While that bacteria won’t decay your implants, you can get gum disease.

So, just like with natural teeth, you need to brush and floss at least twice daily to remove food particles and keep gums healthy. Also, make sure you are visiting the dentist at least twice a year for annual cleanings and checkups. It doesn’t hurt to make using mouthwash a daily habit as well. 30 seconds in your mouth goes a long way toward killing bacteria. Gum disease is quite common among patients that do not care for their dental implants properly. Ultimately, the severe consequences of gum disease can lead to implant failure and bigger problems.

Are You A Good Candidate?

Taking the first step to restoring your smile with dental implants is a brave and empowering move to better your life. However, even though most people are good candidates for dental implants, there are some prerequisites to determine if you are. Good candidates for dental implants usually have:

  • Good General Health: Patients need to be in good health overall before getting dental implant surgery. If you have an uncontrolled condition such as diabetes or take medications that slow healing—that can pose a challenge. It’s not a dealbreaker, but you should be aware that you may have to seek a different solution.
  • Strong Jawbone Density: Implants rely on healthy jawbone density to anchor properly and bond. If a jawbone is too weak or deteriorated to support the implant you might not be able to get implants. However, in some cases, a bone graft can be performed to shore up the jawbone. You should know that this adds considerable cost and recovery time to the procedure.
  • Healthy Gums: Gum disease will prevent your surgical sites from healing and could cause neighboring tooth loss. Both of these factors will all but guarantee a high risk of implant failure as well. If you have advanced gum disease, you might consider periodontal therapy to restore gum health.


The first step in seeing if you’re a good candidate for dental implants is to make an appointment to see Dr. Vela. We’ll get imaging of your teeth and examine the dental issues you’re having. Once Dr. Vela gets a solid assessment of your existing dental health, he will be able to tell you if it’s going to work for you. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!


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