Dental Implants FAQ

Does it hurt to get dental implants?

Thanks to numbing medication (local anesthetic) you shouldn’t feel anything more than a bit of pressure during the entire appointment. Most people say that getting dental implants is easier than having a tooth pulled! But if you feel a little uneasy or nervous about discomfort, we can also offer dental sedation during your procedure. 

I’m allergic to metal. Can I get dental implants? 

Yes. Dental implants are hypoallergenic and made of biocompatible materials. So even if you have a metal sensitivity or can’t wear certain types of jewelry, you should be able to get dental implants without any problem. Just be sure to communicate your allergies with us ahead of time!

How many dental implants do I need?

It depends on how many teeth you’re missing or need to have replaced. For single teeth, you’ll just need an individual implant and crown on top of it. But multiple missing teeth can be replaced with pairs or sets of implants and a fixed restoration that spans the length of the gap.

Can I get all my teeth pulled and replace them with dental implants? 

When possible, we work to preserve your natural teeth. As long as decay or disease can be managed through therapeutic care, that is typically what’s best. But if your teeth are non-restorable or there is advanced gum disease, removing them and replacing them with implants may be an ideal option. 

Is it possible to get implants if I’ve had gum disease in the past?

Yes, but it will depend on the extent of bone loss that you’ve incurred. Since we need healthy bone to support implants, and bone is destroyed by gum disease, this scenario will need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Working with a periodontist (gum expert) in The Woodlands can help!

Is it safe to get same-day dental implants?

Rushing through dental implant treatment can place you at extremely high risk for implant failure and complications. Our implant specialist in The Woodlands will carefully plan out your treatment in advance for an expedited experience in the least time possible without sacrificing the quality of your care. 

What is TeethXpress? 

TeethXpress in The Woodlands is a full-arch tooth replacement treatment where our periodontist restores all your upper or lower teeth at one time. As few as 4-6 dental implants are used per arch, safely supporting a hybrid appliance that stays permanently fixed in place. There are no removable dentures. 

Which dentists are experts at dental implant treatment?

Periodontists are dental experts who specialize in dental implant therapy as well as gum disease and other related treatments. Your dentist may recommend seeing an implant expert in Conroe if you have extensive tooth loss, gum disease, or require sedation during your implant placement. 

How many implants are required to replace all of my teeth at once? 

Since dental implants are so strong, they’re durable enough to support the weight of multiple teeth. In some cases, only 4-6 dental implants are necessary to restore all of your upper or lower teeth at one time. Treatments such as TeethXpress replace all of your upper/lower teeth at once but you don’t need an individual implant for each tooth that’s missing. 

How do I choose the best implant dentist in Houston? 

Looking for the best implant dentist or implant specialist in The Woodlands? Dr. Saunders is one of the greater Conroe area’s most experienced dental implant experts, with over three decades of experience in dental implantology. He has worked with industry leaders and educators to stay abreast of all new implant techniques. 

How old do I have to be to get dental implants?

Children and teens must wait to get dental implants until their oral anatomy is fully developed. Depending on the individual and which tooth is missing, it might be possible to install an implant on a teen as young as 16 to 17 years old, while others may be 18 or 19 before it’s the right time. 

Am I too old to get dental implants?

Dental implants are great for adults of all ages. As long as you’re in relatively good health and we’ve reviewed any medications or surgeries on your health history, it could be possible to get dental implants well into your retirement! Many of our Conroe and The Woodlands implant patients are 50-60 years old or older!

Do certain types of medication interfere with implant treatment? 

Yes. There are certain types of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications that may impact your dental implant treatment. Such as blood thinners or medication for osteoporosis. Always be sure to review your medication regimen and supplements with us during your initial dental implant consultation.

I have dental anxiety. Is it possible to get sedation during my implant procedure? 

Absolutely. Dr. Kip Saunders offers dental sedation during implant treatment in The Woodlands and Conroe. When you feel like you’re dozing away during your treatment, you’ll be more relaxed. It helps your procedure go by much more quickly. Depending on which sedative is used, you might not remember a thing!

How long is the recovery process after getting dental implants? 

Most of our patients feel fine within a couple of days of their dental implant installation. Some are “back to normal” the next day. Much of your comfort level will depend on the extent of the treatment and if you required any adjunctive procedures, such as extractions or grafts. We can give you a more accurate timeframe as we review your customized care plan. 

What are mini dental implants?

Mini dental implants in Houston are a fraction of the size of traditional dental implants. Mini implants fit in spaces where the teeth are too close together, the bone is too narrow, or there isn’t room for a full dental implant to fit. A mini dental implant is about half the size of a conventional implant, if not smaller. 

What are ceramic dental implants?

Houston ceramic dental implants are solid tooth-colored dental implants with built-in abutments. They’re made of aesthetically pleasing porcelain materials, allowing them to mimic the color of anatomical teeth. This characteristic is important for some people depending on their oral anatomy and where the missing tooth is located in their mouth. 

What are zygomatic dental implants? 

Zygomatic dental implants in Houston are long dental implant designs that are placed at an angle into the cheekbone (zygomatic arch bone) instead of the alveolar bone in your jaw. They’re used when someone has extensive bone loss and lacks the support for conventional implant designs. Zygomatic implants are only used to replace upper teeth. 

Which type of dental restorations work with dental implants? 

Since dental implants only make up the “root” portion of your missing teeth, they will also need abutments on top of them to support a fixed restoration. The restoration will be the visible “tooth” portion in your smile. Common implant restorations include crowns, dental bridges, hybrid devices, and treatments like TeethXpress. 

How much do dental implants cost? 

Dental implant costs in The Woodlands and Conroe depend on factors such as a) how many teeth are missing, b) the type of dental implant restoration you need, c) if you require any supportive therapies such as grafts, extractions, etc., d) if you’re having treatment completed under sedation, among others. We’ll provide you with a quote at the time of your exam so that you know what to expect. 

What do dental implants look like?

The majority of dental implants look like a matte, grey cylinder with ribbed surfaces toward the bottom half, almost similar to a screw. The top of the implant has a small opening to screw an abutment into, which is what then supports the visible “tooth” on top, such as a dental crown. 

How big are dental implants?

Dental implants are about the same size as a natural tooth root, only a little longer and in some cases a little wider. They’re still narrow enough to sit alongside your other teeth and in the bone without taking up too much space. 

Will I need a bone graft if I want to get dental implants?

If you have significant bone loss, need to undergo a sinus lift, recovered from periodontal disease, or have gone without teeth for an extended period of time, there may not be enough bone at the planned dental implant location. A bone graft can help create a stable enough foundation so that you don’t have to rule out implant therapy. 

Do some people need to have sinus surgery before they get dental implants?

Some people do, yes. Especially if you lose an upper back tooth and go quite some time without replacing it. When that happens, the sinus lining can drop into the space that used to be taken up by the roots of your teeth. Installing an implant would rupture the sinus, so it’s necessary to lift the lining before the implant is installed. 

Can you see the dental implant through my gums?

Since dental implants are set into your bone, they’re not visible through your gums. The only exception would be if an implant is installed in extremely thin tissues where the bone level is low. In most cases Dr. Saunders recommends placing a gingival graft over this area so as to avoid unwanted aesthetic concerns. 

What are the qualifications for getting a dental implant?

If you’re considering dental implants, you’ll need to have healthy gums without any active periodontal disease. We’ll also need to evaluate your bone levels to ensure there is enough bone structure to support them. Please let us know of any recent surgeries, hospitalizations, or medications that you’re taking. 

How long have you been an implant dentist? 

Dr. Kip Saunders has been a gum health expert for over 30 years and is one of the greater Houston area’s most experienced dental implant specialists. We serve patients throughout The Woodlands, Conroe, and surrounding communities. 

Can I be awake when I’m getting dental implants? 

If you prefer to, absolutely. Since dental implant treatment is a relatively minimally invasive treatment in some cases, all you technically need is to have the installation site numbed with local anesthetic. However, if you’re getting multiple implants placed or are undergoing full mouth rehabilitation, we highly suggest dental sedation. 

How long do dental implants last?

A properly maintained dental implant should be able to last for several decades, if not your entire life. The key to implant longevity is proper home care, preventative checkups, and keeping your gum tissues healthy. 

Will I ever need to have my dental implants removed?

It’s extremely rare to need to remove a dental implant. However, there are always exceptions. For instance, if you have a severe infection, punctured sinus, or failing dental implant, the implant itself will need to be taken out and potentially replaced after the area heals. 

How often do dental implants need to be replaced? 

Our goal for dental implant patients in The Woodlands is to never have to replace their implants. We want your implant investment to last forever, or at least most of your life. With the right care and oral hygiene techniques, they can. 

How long does it take to get dental implants?

Dental implant treatment isn’t a fast, same-day, rushed process. Speeding through implant therapy could result in unwanted side effects. Typically we will stage the process over the course of several months. Dr. Saunders will be happy to discuss your estimated timeframe (potentially 6-12 months, give or take) during your personal consultation. 

How long do I need to take off from work?

Your recovery time after dental implant placement may be quite shorter than what you expected. Most of our patients do not need any extra time off whatsoever. If you’re having a relatively large case completed, you may only need a couple of days. Complex treatments may from person to person, so Dr. Saunders will make you aware of special circumstances during the treatment planning process. 

Is it cheaper to get more dental implants at one time? 

One of the most surprising things about the cost of dental implants is that you don’t need to price out the fee for each tooth that’s missing. It might be more cost-effective to replace multiple teeth with a full-arch hybrid prosthesis than it is to install an individual implant and crown at each tooth location. 

Are dental implants covered by my insurance?

Some dental insurance policies do cover dental implant treatment in Houston. Our Conroe and The Woodlands treatment coordinators will get a breakdown from your insurance carrier to determine what your coverage is so that we can provide you with a detailed estimate. 

Is financing available for dental implant treatment in Houston? 

Yes. Payment plans for dental implants in The Woodlands and Conroe make financing your smile makeover easier than ever. Start on your dental implant treatment as soon as you’re ready with affordable monthly payment options that fit your budget. Enjoy low and 0% financing in some cases! Ask about your options during your meeting with our treatment coordinators. 

Who will be completing my dental implant procedure?

All of our dental implants in The Woodlands are performed by a licensed periodontal expert – Dr. Kip Saunders. Dr. Saunders specializes in implant therapy and gum health, allowing us to provide exceptionally high-quality treatments regardless of how many teeth you need to restore. We accept new patients as well as referrals from nearby dentists!

Do I need a referral to see a dental implant specialist? 

Not necessarily. If you already have a dentist but they do not offer implant treatment, we can work with them to facilitate your care. Otherwise, you can contact our office directly to begin the consultation, exam, and treatment planning process. Once care is completed, we can send a copy of your records to your current dental provider, if applicable. 

Can I eat normal foods once I get dental implants?

Yes. Dental implants are stronger than healthy teeth, so you can eat practically anything from apples and carrots to steak and French bread. Since there’s no bulky “plate” across the roof of your mouth or removable partial to mess with, eating your favorite foods will be easier than it has in years. 

Do dental implants come out? 

No. Dental implants are permanently supported by your bone, just like natural teeth. Once they’re installed and fully integrated, they’re not going anywhere. That’s what makes dental implants such an excellent alternative to conventional dentures and partials. You can talk, smile, and laugh without having to worry about them slipping out of your mouth. 

Will people be able to tell that my teeth look different? 

Dr. Saunders’ exceptionally skilled eye allows for optimal aesthetics during every smile makeover. Your new dental implants are designed to look and feel as close to natural teeth as possible. We select the exact size, shape, and shade of every restoration to give your smile the natural glow you need to look great. 

Can I get dental implants in gold? 

Our dental implants are made of biocompatible titanium, which is a silver-colored metal. The restoration on top of the implant is crafted from durable ceramics and porcelains that are matched to the color of your adjacent teeth. Dental implants are sometimes made from ceramic. 

Do I have to take dental implants out at night?

All fixed dental implant restorations are permanently attached. You do not remove them when you go to sleep at night. The only exception would be if you’re having an overdenture (implant-stabilized denture) created to snap onto dental implants. Overdentures should be removed nightly for hygiene purposes. 

What are dental implants made from?

Most dental implants are made of a hypoallergenic, biocompatible metal that is called titanium. Titanium is also used elsewhere in the body, as it is naturally attractive to bone tissues. Surgeons use it frequently because of high success and compatibility rates. Once fully integrated with your bone, dental implants become a permanent part of your smile. 

Can dental implants rust?

You may be wondering since dental implants are made out of metal, do they rust in your mouth? The answer is no. The type of metal (titanium) that’s used to create dental implants can easily withstand the moisture of saliva inside of your mouth. You do not have to worry about them rusting. 

How do I take care of dental implants every day?

Your daily home care routine is one of the most important parts of ensuring a successful treatment outcome. Plan to treat your dental implants like natural teeth. Brush them twice a day for two minutes at a time and floss around each of your implants at least once a day. Dr. Saunders strongly recommends using a water flosser each day as well. 

Do I still need to see the dentist for checkups if I have dental implants? 

Yes. Just like natural teeth, dental implants require ongoing checkups, preventative dental cleanings, and sometimes gum therapy around them. By ensuring your mouth is healthy overall, you can help your implants last as long as feasibly possible. 

Can dental implants get cavities?

No. Dental implants do not contain any natural tooth structure, so there is not a risk of them decaying. However, plaque and tartar buildup can still develop on the surface of the implant so it’s important to brush and floss around them each day. Without good oral hygiene, you can still develop peri-implantitis. 

What is the leading cause of dental implant failure?

The top cause of dental implant loss or “failure” is peri-implantitis, which is the implant form of gum disease. Only in this case, the infection is around the implant instead of a tooth root. Peri-implantitis destroys the attached gum and bone tissues around the implant, which can compromise its overall integrity. 

Can dental implants get gum disease/periodontitis?

Although dental implants aren’t anatomical structures, they’re held in place by them (bone and gum tissues.) If those tissues become infected because of unmanaged gum disease, it can cause your dental implants to become loose and fall out. Fortunately, this infection — known as peri-implantitis — is preventable through good oral hygiene and regular checkups.

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3 Grogans Park Drive, Ste 103

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2040 N Loop 336 W, Ste 230

Conroe, TX 77304