Frequently Asked Questions
Dental Implant FAQ
The top implant dentist in Los Gatos, Dr. Aaron Santos, changes lives every day as he replaces missing teeth with premium dental implants. Tooth implants are firmly anchored to your jaw, which provides the freedom to eat all your favorite food without worrying about slippage and other embarrassing situations.
Your dentist places a screw in your jaw that serves the same purpose as the roots of your natural teeth. During several months of osseointegration, the implant integrates with the bone, creating stability and permanence. Once all healing has occurred, we place the final restoration.
The duration of this process depends on the patient and the complexity of your case. Typically, implant placement can take up to 3-4 months. If your jaw requires bone grafting to bulk it up before implant placement, your treatment time will extend.
At your consultation, your dentist/oral surgeon will evaluate the surgical site, discuss with you your unique needs, and advise accordingly. Bone grafting is a safe and straightforward procedure that over half of implant patients require.
It’s not uncommon to take a day or two off for an implant.
No! The surgical site is kept numb throughout implant surgery. If you experience any mild discomfort as you recover, it can be easily managed with over-the-counter medications.
Our implants can last a lifetime if well cared for. Proper oral hygiene ensures implant health and longevity.
Caring for your implant teeth is the same as caring for your natural teeth: brush twice and floss once daily. Keep up with your regular cleanings and checkups at our office.
There’s a variety of factors that affect the cost of an implant, including the number you’re having placed and your need for bone grafting. When you come in for a consultation, we’ll present you with all the costs upfront. And we make it our job to help you navigate our insurance benefits. We want to do all we can to ensure you get the care you deserve. The cost of dental implants may seem more than alternatives such as bridges and dentures. Still, when you consider that those alternatives require regular maintenance and replacement, dental implants are an innovative and affordable choice for most people.
Dental Crowns FAQ
A dental crown, also called a dental cap, is a tooth-shaped restoration that is designed to cover a damaged tooth that is made to look like and extend the life of your natural tooth. Serving to strengthen the tooth, crowns also provide an aesthetic quality, giving the tooth a natural appearance.
Patients need crowns for a variety of reasons. When you have a root canal, a large filling, or a dental implant, we place a crown over the tooth to keep it strong for biting and chewing. We also use crowns to hold a bridge in place. Sometimes, we place a crown on a tooth that is weak, discolored, or broken for protection.
First, we clean the tooth and reduce what’s left of the natural tooth to prepare for placing the new crown. We use our digital scanner to take an impression and create the final crown, and we put a temporary crown on while the permanent crown is being made. The temporary crown protects your tooth and allows you to bite, chew, and eat until your next appointment.
The life of a dental crown depends on many factors. If yours fails due to cavities and tooth decay or trauma and damage to the natural tooth’s root, you’ll need it replaced. A common reason for crown replacement is that the old crown has fallen off. How is a crown replaced in our office? Crown replacement and removal procedures are standard and straightforward. To gently remove the old crown, we break the adhesive seal, releasing the cement that holds it in place. Depending on the condition of the failed crown, we may be able to keep it intact while removing it. We may need to cut a hole in the crown and use that as leverage to break the seal. Other times, we cut and section the crown to pry it from its abutment.
No. If you’ve had a filling, the experience of getting a crown is quite similar. We numb the area with local anesthesia. And once we’re finished, and the anesthesia begins to wear off, it’s normal to feel a little discomfort. This can be easily managed with Tylenol. Your comfort and safety is our #1 priority, so we make every effort to keep you relaxed during your appointment.
We typically schedule our patients for an hour appointment which gives us ample time to clean and shape your tooth and place the temporary crown. The procedure takes about as long as that of a filling. You will return for another appointment in which we’ll replace your temporary crown with a permanent restoration.
The cost of a dental crown depends on several things, such as its type and size. When you come in for a consultation, we’ll provide you with all the upfront costs and help you navigate your insurance benefits to ensure you get the dental treatment you deserve.
Porcelain Veneers FAQ
As the top veneer dentist in Los Gatos, CA, Dr. Santos places strong porcelain caps on the tops and sides of our patient’s teeth to improve their appearances. Our veneers are wafer-thin and customized to ensure they fit seamlessly with your smile.
Veneers are tooth-colored shells that act as shields and cover the front surface of your teeth. They can transform your teeth’ color, shape, size, and length.
Porcelain Veneers are used to correct a wide variety of dental problems, including but not limited to:
- Closing gaps
- Repairing chips or worn-down spots
- Whitening discoloration
- Correcting alignment
- Resistant to breaking, chipping, staining, and wear
- More resistant to staining than bonding and natural teeth
- More resistant to chipping and fracturing than bonding and natural teeth
- Extremely biocompatible, which means minimal to no risk of gum problems
- Life-changing as they can drastically change the look of your smile
Not at all. Despite the dramatic results that dental veneers offer almost instantly, the procedure is relatively quick and easy. From your first consultation to your final visit, the entire process requires just three appointments.
The cost of veneers depends on a variety of factors. When you come in for a consultation, we will discuss how many veneers you need, the material we’ll use, and any other services included in your treatment to achieve your oral goals.
Invisalign® Treatment FAQ
Treatment time is similar to traditional braces, about 18 months. Still, your treatment plan will be mapped out according to your unique needs and goals. Once it’s been established, you will be provided with a new set of clear aligners every couple of weeks, and you will need to wear them 20-22 hours a day. Each set of aligners will transform your smile as it gently moves your teeth into place.
You may feel a small amount of pressure the first day or two as the clear braces shift your teeth, but Tylenol tends to be sufficient in reducing any minimal pain.
Good question. You cannot. It’s essential to take your aligners out when eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. The important thing is to wear them as much as possible, at least 20-22 hours a day. One of the most significant benefits of clear aligners is the freedom to eat whatever you want—no restrictions!
Invisalign® treatment is unlike conventional braces that have a long list of restricted food. Quite the contrary, Invisalign® aligners straighten your teeth without limiting your diet. Remove the invisible aligners and eat whatever food you choose.
Brushing your teeth and your aligners after every meal is ideal. Regular cleaning will help prevent them from getting stained. To brush your aligners, use a toothbrush, toothpaste, and lukewarm water. Hot water tends to warp the plastic.
Almost everyone is an excellent candidate for Invisalign® treatment, especially if you desire to change the position of your teeth without bonded brackets and wires. Suppose your child is old enough to keep track of their aligners when they remove them to eat. In that case, Invisalign® aligners may be an excellent teeth-straightening solution.
Invisalign® treatment costs about the same amount as that metal braces. However, since every patient is unique, we know that every financial situation is also. We want to make sure you get the smile you deserve. Come in for a consultation with us where we can present all the possible costs upfront and help you understand your insurance benefits.
Full Mouth Reconstruction FAQ
Are you suffering from missing, cracked, worn, or chipped teeth? Full mouth reconstruction combines art and science to improve your smile’s aesthetics, function, and health. This set of procedures includes rebuilding what has been lost due to decay, wear, tooth loss, or bone loss, resulting in a complete restoration of your smile. Full mouth reconstruction, also known as a smile makeover, is when dental professionals make in-depth changes to the majority of the teeth in your upper and lower jaws. We specialize in safe, comfortable, and thorough full mouth restorations.
Full mouth reconstruction combines restorative and cosmetic dentistry treatments that we use to correct complex oral issues. Some of the problems that can be fixed by full mouth reconstruction include:
- Missing teeth
- Injured, fractured, or damaged teeth
- Acid-erosion and extreme wear
- Jaw, muscle, and/or headache pain due to bite problems
There is no correct recipe for essential treatments when it comes to full mouth reconstruction. Your full mouth reconstruction depends on your unique case and what you’d like to have changed. Dr. Santos thoroughly examines your oral health, needs, and goals when you come in for a consultation. Together, we determine the best combination of procedures for you. These treatments may include but are not limited to:
- Bone or soft tissue grafting
- Permanent restorations – crowns, veneers, inlays/onlays, bridges
- Temporary restorations
- Reduction of natural tooth structure to prepare for restorations
- Contouring of gum tissue
- Crown lengthening
- Teeth cleaning
We begin with a comprehensive examination in which Dr. Santos makes an in-depth evaluation of your mouth, including a complete assessment of your oral health with x-rays and impressions of your teeth and a physical examination. We examine the anatomy of your teeth, lips, jaw, and other facial features so we can design your perfect smile. After the evaluation, we create a treatment plan for your full mouth reconstruction. It’s typical for full mouth reconstruction to require multiple visits and sufficient healing time. To ensure you receive the most comprehensive care possible, we partner with other specialists, such as periodontists (specializing in gums), oral surgeons, orthodontists, and endodontists (specializing in root canals).