Everything You Need to Know About Dental Implants

The idea of getting a dental implant can be a bit daunting to most people — even more daunting than going to the dentist usually is! But dental implants are one of the most helpful, important procedures in the dentist’s toolbox, and are one of the building blocks to replace damaged teeth or help you improve the health and cosmetics of your smile.

So on this page, we’ll break down the implant process to help you first understand if you might need implants, then explain the process, and what that means to you. Below, you’ll learn everything you need to know including:

  • When an implant might be the right course of action
  • What an implant is (and the different types of implants)
  • What is involved in the process
  • How long the dental implant process takes
  • How much it costs to have a dental implant
  • And where you can get a dental implant


What to Do If Your Teeth Are Hurting
Signs It Might Be Time for Implants
Why Replacing Teeth Is Important
5 Things to Know About Implants
Getting Dental Implants in Costa Rica and Cancún
Cost of Implants in Costa Rica and Cancún
A Guide to Dental Implant Procedures
The Meza Dental Difference

Here at Meza Dental, we know there are quite a few activities people prefer over visiting the dentist. Especially if you’ve had a bad experience in the past. Still, dental health is important, and more related to other aspects of your health than you might think! 

That’s why we’ve put together this article. First, we’ll review some simple ways to improve your dental health and prevent issues from developing. And then, we’ll talk about what you can do if you’re experiencing acute pain from a specific issue like a cavity or a damaged tooth. 

Let’s start with the basics!

1) Proper Oral Care


You’ve heard this before, but it holds true. A tooth is covered in a protective enamel, and that enamel is its first line of defense. If we care for it properly, we can greatly extend the life of our natural teeth, and we can prevent the expense and stress of making trips to the dentist.

Our teeth should be brushed for a minimum of two minutes each time, paying special attention to the area along the gum line where tartar tends to grow. Some dentists teach that a circular motion is best, and others feel you should start at the top of the tooth (or the bottom if it’s the lower teeth) and brush from the gum line to the tip of your tooth.

Regardless of the method you use, it is important to purposely clean each surface of the tooth, outside, inside, and along the chewing surface where food can get lodged in the grooves. Teeth should be brushed after each meal whenever possible, and when that’s not possible, morning and night.

In terms of relieving mouth pain, a good brushing can be the first step to dislodging particles that might be wedged between your teeth or up against your gums, causing discomfort.


This is another well-known/common sense way of maintaining good dental health, but it’s the one many people choose to skip.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, the act of flossing more often will solve part of that problem. Trying to wedge the floss into a tight area often creates irritation or even bleeding of the gums. For some of us, flossing can seem painful, but this is only if you floss infrequently, as that pain is actually a sign of inflammation in your gums. When you do include flossing as part of your normal routine, you become more adept, your gums become less sensitive and less likely to bleed, and there is less of a buildup in tartar. All good things!

If you still experience pain or excessive bleeding after starting to floss more regularly, it’s a good idea to book a trip to your dentist and ask them to take a look. Plaque buildup along your gums can allow bacteria to grow, and can eventually lead to gingivitis (bad breath) or periodontitis (gum disease). 

Flossing helps with a number of issues, especially receding gums, which can leave roots and nerve endings partially exposed, leading to discomfort and sensitivity to hot and cold foods. 

Also, if you’re experiencing some mouth pain after a meal, flossing is a good way to get rid of seeds, stringy bits, and other food particles that can be annoying and/or painful.

Using the Right Toothbrush and Toothpaste

There are hundreds of toothbrushes on the market. So how do you know which one is best? recommends a small-headed, soft-bristled brush because it can more easily get into those hard-to-reach areas. Choosing a toothpaste can be a little more complex, because there are many different formulas available, and your choice should take into account your individual needs. Here is a link that might help, but personally, we recommend the Sonicare to all of our patients.

2) Proper Diet

You might be thinking “this is when they tell me never to eat my favorite treat again,” and it’s true that sugar from sweet treats can have an effect on your enamel. 

But that’s not the only thing that can. You might be surprised to learn that some of the healthiest foods can have an effect on your teeth, namely, those with high acid content. Here are a few foods to be aware of:

  • pineapple,
  • oranges,
  • sugar (of course),
  • tomatoes, 
  • cottage cheese, 
  • Sweet treats,
  • maple syrup,
  • yogurt, 
  • raisins, 
  • Pickles,
  • and honey


That doesn’t mean you can never eat these foods again, but if you suffer from weak or damaged enamel, it’s a good idea to brush your teeth after you enjoy them.

The good news is that the opposite is true. According to the ADA, there are foods that will help protect your teeth. Mainly foods that contain calcium or phosphorus. These items include:

  • milk and dairy products like cheese
  • almonds,
  • leafy greens,
  • eggs,
  • fish,
  • and healthy meats.


Still a great idea to brush afterward though! The bottom line here is that what goes into your body has an effect on your body’s health. It is the fuel that your body uses to provide not only your body’s energy but the regeneration of cells like hair, nail, and tooth enamel. It’s helpful to be mindful!


3) Good Overall Health

Though it might seem strange, some health problems that at a glance seem completely unrelated to your teeth can also damage your oral health. 

In some cases, it’s the medication that causes damage, while for others your body is unable to process nutrients as well as it should, resulting in the loss of enamel or bone density, or tooth discoloration. 

In many cases, the long-term result is an inability to maintain your natural teeth (especially if these conditions are chronic), and the teeth are extracted in favor of dental implants or full-mouth restoration. It’s always better to keep your own teeth whenever possible, but if these issues are the cause of chronic pain or loose teeth, procedures like the ones above give these patients a long-term, pain-free alternative. 

Here are some of the conditions that can affect oral health, (click here to read the full article):

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Organ transplants
  • Kidney disease
  • head/neck cancer radiation
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Pregnancy
  • Parkinson’s
  • Lupus
  • ALS/ Lou Gehrig’s Disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Opioid use/addiction


If you suffer from one of these conditions, it may be a key factor in any problems you have been experiencing.

4) Reduce Your Stress

As we learn more about the interconnectivity of our bodies, we also learn the many ways that stress can act on our bodies in a negative way both physically and mentally. 

Per the Mayo Clinic, stress has a number of both physical and mental side effects that are worth noting. 

Physical Effects of Stress

  • Headache
  • Muscle pain/tension
  • Chest pain/shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Weakened immune system
  • Stomach upset 
  • and sleep problems


Mental Effects of Stress

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty maintaining focus/motivation
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • sadness/depression
  • irritability/anger
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • And the grinding/clenching of teeth


We recommend a visit to the related Healthline article, there is an amazing graphic to help you understand all of the ways stress can affect us.

Finding ways to reduce your stress levels through a better diet, more sleep, exercise, and other lifestyle factors will reduce these types of symptoms, including the symptoms in bold that directly affect the health of your teeth.

However, in some cases, lifestyle solutions are just the start of treatment and need to be supplemented with more acute medical care.

5) Identify Any Acute Problems

In some cases, you can handle dental challenges entirely through lifestyle changes, like adjusting your diet to prevent painful cavities or flossing more regularly to keep your gums healthy. 

But if you’ve made some of these changes already, or if you have damage to your teeth that need repair, or your dental challenges have become painful, inconvenient, or debilitating, it may be time to start considering the help of your dentist. 

A good first step in dental care is to identify which areas of your teeth, gums, and mouth are damaged, functioning poorly, or are in pain. 

Taking the time to do a little assessment and identify any specific problems before you visit the dentist can go a long way to making your trip to the dentist’s chair easy, informative, and painless!

6) Work With Your Dentist

From there you can work with your local dentist to identify what dental care will get you back smiling again…

If it’s a small problem, like a cavity, you can likely get it done in a simple trip to your local dentist.

However, for more major dental services like the need to extract and replace badly damaged teeth, many people explore other options.

Dental care in the US is expensive, and more and more people are starting to discover they can find the same quality of service in other countries. 

That was the origin of dental tourism, and we created Meza Dental almost two decades ago to help people who were dealing with exactly this issue.

We’ll get to the details about that later, but for now, let’s focus on some of the signs that it might be time for implants.

For many, the idea of getting dental implants seems both scary and expensive. More often than not, teeth that can’t be saved are simply pulled out and that person is left with a noticeable gap.

And with the rising cost of dental care in America, fixing issues that seem more cosmetic than urgent often takes a back seat to more pressing matters. But over time, these missing teeth can contribute to more problems, and even eat away at your self-esteem. Especially if the missing teeth are noticeable.

So, how do you decide when to take the plunge and invest in your smile?

Affordable Implants Aren’t Just a Pipe Dream Anymore

The good news is that the rise in dental tourism has paved the way for professional, high-quality dental care at much more affordable prices. Countries like Costa Rica, Mexico, Colombia, and more, are now able to take advantage of their lower operating costs- and pass those savings onto thousands of international patients who are willing to travel for their dental care.

Not all of these countries offer the same prices of course, but overall, prices can be as much as 50% less than comparable treatments in America, while meeting all the same health and safety standards we have come to expect.

It sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. At least, not when you take the time to find certified professionals, accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. In fact, many of these dentists are trained and certified in the U.S. or Europe!

dental implants

What Is a Dental Implant?

I guess the first step in deciding is to understand what a dental implant is. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, an implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed in your mouth (more specifically, your jawbone). It takes the place of the natural root that has been removed due to extraction.

Why is this important? Because your jawbone needs the stimulation provided by your roots to maintain bone density. In other words, if your body knows there is no longer a tooth in that space, it will decide that it no longer needs bone there to hold the tooth, and it will slowly reabsorb the bone.

Okay, so back to teeth. This implant takes the form of what looks like a big screw that is “implanted” (hence the name) into the space where your natural root was. Over time, your body will grow around it as it heals and it will become a permanent fixture. This process is called osseointegration, and it’s part of the reason why implants are so strong. 

Here is a visual to help you understand how it works.

dental implants explained

Once the implant is in place, the dentist will create an artificial tooth called a crown which attaches to the metal root and fills in the space. At Meza Dental, the implant is made with titanium, the abutment, which is the piece that connects the implant to the crown is made of either titanium or zirconia (which is becoming increasingly popular due to its white color), and the crown is custom-made using zirconia to look like the missing tooth. 

We use zirconia because it is not only extremely strong but also very smooth. This smooth surface makes it hard for bacteria to stick to your new tooth (or teeth), helping you keep it (or them) clean. Another benefit of zirconia is that its translucent nature mimics the natural enamel of your teeth.

When Should I Consider Implants?

So, if the high price of dental care in the states is no longer holding you back, maybe it’s time to think about dental implants and what they can mean for your quality of life. You may not think that missing a few teeth has affected it, but it’s the little things that creep up on us… things that eventually become such a habit that we don’t even think about it anymore.

That’s why we’ve put together 10 signs that it might be time for dental implants, including

1) You think twice about ordering that steak or other chewy foods, even if they’re personal favorites.

Losing molars that are used to grind up tough foods like steak or crusty bread can make eating difficult, especially if you lose more than one, or if the remaining molars do not line up. If you find yourself moving your food around a lot while you’re chewing, this might be why. It’s important to note that moving your jaw in an unnatural way can cause pain in those muscles and tendons. Dental implants will fill those gaps and provide a complete chewing surface.

2) Foods that are even a little too hot or too cold cause you pain

Sensitivity to hot and cold foods can be a sign of tooth decay, but it can also mean that a nerve is exposed due to thinning enamel, or receding gums. This type of issue doesn’t resolve itself and can become painful. 

3) You’re distracted at dinner time with worry that your partial might pop out

As you age, you can experience bone loss and shrinkage. This can cause dentures and partials which you have used for years to become loose, resulting in movement during chewing. This can cause sore areas along the gums, breakage, or the occasional embarrassing moment when your adhesive fails. Dental implants are a permanent solution to this problem.

4) You’re constantly dealing with stuck popcorn kernels, wedged meat and vegetables, and other foods that get stuck in gaps in your teeth

The only real solution to this kind of problem is to fill that hole and prevent painful jabs or impacted foods.

5) You’ve adjusted your smile to hide cracked or broken teeth

Consciously changing the natural shape of your smile can have side effects you may not think about, like unusual wrinkle patterns or jaw pain. The best solution is to fix the underlying problem and let that beautiful smile loose!

6) You avoid smiling entirely because you’re not happy with how it looks

If you consciously avoid smiling because you are embarrassed, then you aren’t really enjoying life to the fullest. Laughing and smiling should be a natural, happy event. 

7) You have multiple fillings that consistently break or chip.

Sometimes fillings are large enough to damage the structural integrity of the remaining tooth and pieces of the tooth will break off when you chew hard foods. In this case, the only permanent solution is to extract the tooth. By replacing that tooth with an implant, you maintain the full functionality of your mouth.

8) You have a partial bridge that no longer fits properly or is causing undue wear on neighboring teeth- putting them at risk.

As with dentures, the fit of your partials can change as you age and your bone structure changes. This can cause breakage and soreness, but excessive movement during chewing can also cause damage to the teeth which hold your partial in place. Eventually, you may need to repair or remove those teeth as well.

9) Chewing is a chore because you’re missing key teeth, or your remaining molars don’t line up properly

While most people will still be able to chew with one or two missing teeth, losing several makes chewing many kinds of food difficult. If you find yourself leaning towards a soft food diet simply because it’s easier, you may not be getting all the vitamins and nutrients you need. 

10) You’re ready to feel great about your teeth again

Last but not least, your smile is important, and not only because it is an integral part of what makes you… you! The freedom, comfort, and confidence that we feel when we’re happy with our smile can make a world of difference in our sense of well-being and pride. 

The Time Might Be Sooner Than You Think, And That’s Okay!

Any time you change your normal behavior because of a dental issue, it chips away at your quality of life, your health, and in many cases, your self-confidence. 

These are things that we do consciously. We make a choice, for whatever reason, to deal with the discomfort, because it can seem harder to fix than to leave it. 

But what people seldom realize is that not dealing with the gaps left by extracted teeth has other consequences too.

Issues like:

  • loss of bone in the jaw,
  • increased potential for gum disease and infections (caused by food/bacteria that can get lodged in the spaces,
  • leaning/spreading teeth… 


The bottom line is that getting dental implants isn’t just about not having a gap in your smile (although that’s a definite plus). 

lack of teeth

The lack of teeth can lead to a further loss of bone structure.

Dental implants return your mouth to its natural state, restore the integrity of your bite, and allow you to chew the way you were meant to. All of these things contribute, not only to your dental health but to your overall physical and mental well-being.

No one should have to live with consistent pain or discomfort.

The Benefit of Dental Implants

It’s important to understand that dental implants aren’t the only option when it comes to fixing the issues mentioned above. However, when it comes right down to it, the dental implants made today are so strong and reliable that they essentially come with a lifetime guarantee (40 years to be exact), and, thanks to modern technology, they look and function just like your natural teeth.

They don’t require you to remove them each night for cleaning, and they don’t move around while you’re chewing! 

So back to our original question then… how do you know if dental implants are the right choice for you?

Is the Time Right For Me?

The person most qualified to answer that is your dentist because every patient has a unique set of circumstances. However, for the purposes of this article, here are some qualities that make you a good candidate for dental implants:

  • you are missing one or more teeth (if you are missing most of your teeth, or your existing teeth can’t be saved, all-on-x may be a better choice for you)
  • you have enough bone structure to be able to attach the implant
  • you are healthy, (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc can impede the healing process)


As you can see, dental implants are a pretty viable option for most people who have a few missing teeth or teeth that need to be replaced. The main benefit of dental implants is their strength and longevity, but they are also popular due to the fact that once they are in, you can basically forget about them. You just brush and floss your teeth the way you normally would.

But there are also some very important reasons to replace your teeth, especially if you’re already missing some.

Teeth are important. You need teeth to chew, to help you speak clearly, and of course, to smile. Every tooth plays a crucial role in supporting the structure of your mouth. Leaving a gap if you lose a tooth can have serious consequences. 

When the natural balance between teeth and bone becomes unstable the jaw bone starts to shrink, gums recede and the bone loss can become even worse! Opposing teeth, if left unsupported, can then move into the missing tooth space causing orthodontic problems and restorative dental problems.

Using the Two-Stage Dental Implant Method to Replace Missing Teeth

Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth. This solution feels and acts like a natural tooth when chewing, brushing, or smiling.  A dental implant replaces the actual root of the missing tooth and provides a base for the crown of your new artificial tooth. 

At Meza Dental Care, we only use the safest and most effective method, which is the two-stage dental implant method. During the first stage, we place the dental implant directly into the bone and wait for it to heal. During this healing period, the body is able to create a strong junction between the titanium dental implants and the bone structure, resulting in a long-lasting dental restoration.  This natural process is called “Osseo Integration”.

During the second stage, after the Osseointegration has occurred, we place the prosthetic tooth.  If you were to place the dental crown immediately after the surgery, chances are that the pressure of your bite on the abutment dental crown or new prosthetic tooth would prevent the Osseointegration of the dental implant and result in a failed procedure.

A major advantage of a single-tooth implant is that there is no need to alter any other teeth.  Dental implants can also be a great solution for multiple missing teeth.  When smiling or talking, there is no way to tell the difference between a dental implant and a natural tooth.

A Successful Full Mouth Restoration for a Brighter Smile!

Although a cosmetic dentist’s skill is very important to achieve a successful mouth restoration, the materials used in the treatment are equally important. Not every clinic has the same level of commitment to using quality materials. At Meza Dental Clinic, we only use high-quality US-made implants, which come with a lifetime guarantee.

Although the initial cost of dental implant treatment is higher, it can be more cost-effective in the long run. A dental implant restoration will not require replacement as often as a dental bridge. Additionally, an implant preserves the jawbone and the gum tissue, and there is no need for your cosmetic dentist to grind down healthy teeth.

The best possible option for your oral health and your general health would be to replace each tooth with a dental implant, as implants are the closest thing to restoring a natural tooth

Still, we know that that can seem intimidating, which is why we’ve included 5 things you might want to know about implants.

1) Dental Implants are nearly as strong as natural teeth.

There is only one replacement tooth option that nearly matches the strength of a natural tooth, when done by a well-trained dentist, and that’s a dental Implant. They not only look good when you get the crown, but they will also help you to recover the strength and stability of your bite. Unlike dentures, which move or slide out of place when you start chewing, implants are integrated into the jawbone, allowing you to chew your food comfortably without having to worry about pain or discomfort.

2) They look and feel natural.

A well-done dental implant will give you a result as close to the real thing as possible by using a crown over the implant. What makes it look really natural is the porcelain of the crown and not the dental implant itself; modern crowns can be a near-perfect clone of the missing tooth. Especially when the dental procedure is performed by a dental specialist like Dr. Meza, using a well-planned, designed, and crafted crown.

Because the implant is fused to your bone, it feels extremely natural in your mouth. Special care must be taken when designing the crown of the tooth, the visible part,  to ensure that it is indistinguishable from your natural teeth.

3) Dental Implants can improve your overall health.

Without teeth, it’s hard to maintain a healthy diet. Dental implants will allow you to eat and digest food just like you would with natural teeth. Dental implants also help ensure that healthy teeth stay healthy, as well as your jawbone. This dental prosthesis, firmly embedded in your jawbone, provides an even distribution across your entire bite.  It prevents overusing your healthy teeth in order to compensate for the unhealthy ones, which can result in deterioration and other complications.

4) Dental implants don’t get cavities.

Unlike natural teeth, dental crowns placed over implants will not get cavities,  no matter what you eat. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t need to watch your oral hygiene to maintain your overall oral health.

Our natural teeth can fail due to various reasons, including wear and tear, gum disease, or cavities. Cavities weaken a tooth and need to be filled to ensure that the decay doesn’t spread. Since the implants are made from titanium, they don’t get cavities. Once the implant has healed, you can brush and floss the same way as usual.

5) General cost of a dental implant in Costa Rica.

While dental clinics in the U.S. and Canada often charge over a thousand dollars per implant, the cost of dental treatment in Costa Rica is much lower. Here it is possible to save up to 70% or more on your dental implant procedure. This is possible due to the difference in the cost of living of the Central American countries in comparison to some first-world countries. But that doesn’t mean that you will sacrifice quality. Quality standards in Costa Rica are generally as high, if not higher, than in your local dental clinic.

Throughout this page, we’ve touched on the fact that getting dental care can be vastly cheaper in places like Cancún and Costa Rica. In the next two sections, we’ll explore what that process (particularly the Meza Dental process) looks like. 

At Meza Dental Care, we have found that dental implants are able to enhance the quality of life and overall health of our patients, helping them gain the self-confidence that comes from having a beautiful, well-functioning smile. 

If you have lost one or more teeth and would like to replace them at a much lower price than in the United States, here is what you need to know about dental implants in Costa Rica or Cancún.

What Are My Options for Replacing Missing Teeth?

Fortunately, there are many options available to replace missing teeth. But which one is right for you? The three most common options are dental implants, fixed bridges, and false teeth, but first, let’s talk about why you should replace your missing teeth.

Options For One or More Missing Teeth

The best option to replace your missing teeth depends on your general health, oral health, treatment plan, and personal choice. Depending on your circumstances, the dentist will likely recommend one of these three options mentioned above: dental implants, fixed bridges, and false teeth. In this case, we will focus on dental implants.

Types of Dental Implants

Currently, two types of dental implants are used that respond to two different materials, both biocompatible, and to two different types of integration depending on these materials: titanium and zirconia.

type of dental implants

In comparison, titanium allows for better integration of the bone into implant structure than zirconium

Zirconia Dental Implants

Zirconium is a ceramic material of extreme hardness and resistance that was already used for the manufacture of brackets, pins, or stumps to place after endodontics and the preparation of dental crowns and bridges.

Its white color is very similar to that of the original dental pieces and has extraordinary durability as long as optimal hygiene conditions are maintained, to the point that many dentists offer a lifetime guarantee with these implants. In addition, zirconium prevents the formation of bacterial plaque around it, resists acid corrosion very well, and does not cause problems due to temperature changes.

These implants are used in patients allergic to titanium.

The technique used to make zirconium implants is bio integration: instead of being a mechanical union, as in the case of osseointegration of titanium implants, we are faced with a chemical union that occurs through a layer formed between the bone surface and the implant surface.

This type of union is faster and more intense than that of osseointegration. It has been observed that the bone level around these implants has remained intact with the passage of time, which offers fewer possibilities of infections due to the accumulation of sub-gingival bacteria.

Titanium Dental Implants

Titanium is the most traditionally used material for dental implants: it is a metal with a color similar to steel, but lighter, easily moldable, and extremely hard. Its high biocompatibility makes it difficult for the body to reject it.

The technique used to place titanium implants is osseointegration: a mechanical union through which bone cells adhere to the surface of the implant, progressively consolidating its attachment to the maxilla.

The Process of Getting Dental Implants

According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), the oral surgeon should explain to you about having a bone graft for dental implants, if the surgeon believes that the jawbone is too thin or soft to hold the implant in place in that current state. If the bone cannot support the implant, then this can cause the implant surgery to fail.

We will go into greater detail a little later on, but here is a basic outline of the process.

Bone Graft Procedure

In a bone grafting procedure, the surgeon will obtain a section of bone from another area of the patient’s body, or – as is often the case – use a bone of special material for the graft and graft it into the maxillary bone. Then the patient has to wait, probably several months while the graft creates new bone and is strong enough to make sure that the implant is stable and secure.

It is possible that only a minor graft is needed, and the procedure can be performed at the same time as implant surgery, but the oral surgeon will make the final decision. A successful bone graft allows your jawbone to be strong enough to support the dental implant.

bone graft procedure

Bone grafting allows for an ideal setting to achieve a higher success rate of implant integration.

Placing the Dental Implant

During surgery to place the dental implant, the oral surgeon makes a cut to open the gums and expose the bone. Holes are made in the bone where the metal pin of the dental implant will be placed. Because the pin will serve as the root of the tooth, it is implanted deep into the bone.

At this point, the patient will still have a gap where the tooth is missing. A temporary and partial type of denture can be placed for a better appearance if the patient needs it. The patient can remove this denture for cleaning, and while he/she sleeps.

Waiting for Bone Growth

Once the metal bolt of the implant is placed in the jaw, osseointegration begins. During this process, the jaw grows and joins the surface of the dental implant. This can take several months and helps to provide a solid foundation for the new artificial tooth, just as the roots of natural teeth do.

Abutment Placement

When the osseointegration is complete, the patient may need additional surgery to place the abutment, the part where the crown is eventually attached. This minor surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia in an outpatient setting.

In some cases, the abutment is attached to the metal stud of the dental implant when the stud is implanted. This means that the patient will not need an extra surgical step. Because the abutment barely passes the gum line, it can be seen when the patient opens his/her mouth, and it will be until the dentist finishes the denture. Some people do not like that look and prefer to have the abutment placed in another procedure.

After the abutment is placed, the gums must heal for two weeks before the artificial tooth can be placed.

After the Dental Implants Procedure

Whether the patient has single-stage or multi-stage dental implant surgery, they may experience some typical discomforts related to any type of dental surgery, for example:

  • Swelling of the gums and face
  • Bruising of the skin and gums
  • Pain at the implant site
  • Light bleeding


The patient may need pain medication or antibiotics after dental implant surgery. If the swelling, discomfort, or any other problem worsens during the days after surgery, the patient needs to contact the oral surgeon.

After each stage of surgery, the patient may need to eat soft foods while the surgery site heals. The surgeon will usually use points that dissolve on their own. If the stitches do not dissolve on their own, the doctor will remove them.

Results After Dental Implants Surgery

Most dental implants are successful. However, in some cases, the bones fail to fuse enough with the metal implant. For example, smoking can contribute to unsatisfactory implantation and complications. Here are some other reasons why a dental implant could fail.

dental implant procedure

As opposed to a successful implant, a failed integration will form a fibrous layer around the implant.

If the bone does not fuse enough, the implant should be removed, the bone should be cleaned, and in about three months the procedure can be tried again.

Alternative Dental Implants Techniques

Immediate Load Dental Implants

Immediate load dental implants are a novel implant treatment that involves placing a fixed provisional prosthesis in less than 48 hours. Suggested for all those people who suffer the loss of one, several, or all of their dental pieces or have them very deteriorated.

As its name suggests, the placement of the provisional prosthesis is immediate. Once the osseointegration process is finished (from 3 to 6 months) we can load the final prosthesis. The prosthesis is provisional to guarantee correct functionality. Most cases that request this treatment are done for aesthetics.

Mini Dental Implants

Mini dental implants, as the name suggests, are presented as a smaller version compared to conventional dental implants.

Besides being also made of titanium, these dental implants, which are considered a temporary solution, are intended to stabilize the lower prosthesis, so that the patient does not experience any discomfort with the implant. This concept of mini dental implants presents numerous benefits, also due to its comfort and resistance, as an alternative in minor surgery.

All-on-4 Dental Implants

All-on-four dental implants are an excellent option for people who have to replace several or all teeth. If this is your case, this technique offers very good value for money. The reason? The patient needs fewer dental implants than traditional methods.

The All-on-four technique,( or All-on-X as we prefer to call it) is a revolutionary dental implant placement system that allows placing 4-8 dental implants and then attaching a complete dental arch on top of them, in a fixed way, without the need for bone grafts.

Getting Dental Implants in Costa Rica and Cancún

A few years ago, there was a boom in dental clinics in both Cancún, Mexico and San José, Costa Rica, where thousands of Americans travel each year to get quality dental treatments done at a much lower price.

Dentistry in the United States has become prohibitively expensive for some patients, with bills that can reach tens of thousands of dollars. Even among Americans with health insurance, many are not covered for certain treatments, only basic treatments. And paying on credit can mean high-interest payments.

Instead, thousands of Americans travel each year to get quality dental treatments done at a much lower price through dental tourism. Dental tourism occurs when people choose to travel beyond their borders, in order to find dentists who offer high-quality dentistry at a more affordable cost. This is what is happening in both Costa Rica and Cancún because dentists in these countries offer dental procedures for 50% to 80% less than American dentists can.

In fact, the cost of a single dental implant with abutment and standard crown in the United States costs an average of $4,500, and in Cancún or Costa Rica, it starts from an average of $1,600. That’s a major difference, especially when you factor in quality, as the services available in Cancún are some of the best in Latin America.

Now, for everyone who says “well don’t you get what you pay for?”, we’ve got an answer! And we’ll explain in the next section.

We often get clients who are wary of the cost savings presented by using Dental Tourism. And we’re actually okay with that! Because at times, the idea of saving so much — and getting to spend your recovery on a tropical vacation — can seem too good to be true. 

The main reason Costa Rica and Cancún have an advantage in cost is that the countries have a universal healthcare system, which is used by the majority of the population, thereby lowering the costs of medical services in many fields.

Also, cost and quality are not always directly proportional. In Costa Rica and Cancún, dentists are up-to-date with the most current medical procedures and use only the best technology available. It’s one of the reasons why these are two of the top countries for dental tourism. 

And here at Meza Dental, we take great efforts to provide world-class service to compete with the best clinics worldwide.

So How Much Do Dental Implants Cost in Costa Rica or Cancún?

Well, let’s break down the process.

If you are looking for dental implants, the best first step is to contact us and request a treatment estimate. Every person is different and the most accurate quote requires not only medical records and a diagnosis but also a one-on-one consultation to discuss your preferences and options. 

The cost of the treatment varies, depending on the number of dental implants and the complexity of the procedure. Generally, the cost for a single implant in our practice is estimated to be $1,300. 

The only other costs involved are the CBCT,  the prophylactic cleaning of the gums and mouth, and medications. While the cost of CBCT is around $120, the cleansing costs around $150. As and when you go for different kinds of implants, the expense varies, which we will discuss in the next few sections.

Fortunately, there are many options available to replace missing teeth. But which one is right for you? The three most common options are dental implants, fixed bridges, and false teeth, but first, let’s talk about why you should replace your missing teeth.

The Cost of All-on-X Dental Implants

As we mentioned earlier, all-on-X dental implants are suitable for people who have a lot of missing teeth, with most teeth in bad shape, or no teeth at all. If you are facing a similar situation and currently wear dentures, such an implant could give you a better quality of life and a great new look.

All-on-4 dental implants are suitable for people who have a lot of missing teeth, most of their teeth in bad shape, or no teeth at all.

If you are facing a similar situation and currently wear dentures, or are considering a large number of dental implants, the all-on-4 may be the best path to a better quality of life and a great new look.

The all-on-X dental implant is a revolutionary —  but well-tested — new technique that replaces a full arch or both arches of teeth, depending on your requirements.

In this case, between 4 and 8 implants are put in, rather than a full mouth’s worth, and a fixed or permanent prosthetic is then attached. This procedure may include bone augmentation, depending on the current state of your bone structure.

The result is a fully functional, beautiful mouth restoration that is far less invasive than individually replacing 20+ teeth, and it costs quite a bit less as well. We will get into the cost breakdown in more detail in a little while.

This is another case where the care and expertise of our dentists are so important. Each case is very different, which is why our dentists are trained to prescribe the right treatment plan according to your bone structure, gum display, smile display, strength of chewing muscles, and facial features.

Variables to Consider in the Dental Implants Procedure

As you require more teeth replaced or more complicated procedures, the price of your overall treatment will increase as well. On average, a single dental implant in San Jose or Cancún could cost up to $1,500 all told (including process and medications).

But the key consideration with dental implants is that they can last decades or even a lifetime, which can drastically reduce the true cost of this procedure. Our dentists will give you a more accurate picture of the costs in your initial consultation based on the following variables:

  • Number of implants needed
  • Additional surgeries that are potentially required like bone grafting or teeth removal
  • Type of prosthetics to be used – our prostheses are digitally made and hand-touched, at the end to create a natural personalized look
  • And how much money you may save in the long term


And there are other alternatives to traditional dental implants as well.

Key Considerations of the Dental Implant Process

The dentists on our team are experts at their work, but dental surgery is still surgery, so there are some important considerations we always like to share.

  • Dental implant surgery has a very high success rate. We see a success rate of over 98% in our patients. However, you do have to be very careful during the months of the procedure. The food and dietary restrictions prescribed by your doctor must be followed to the letter because any undue stress on the sensitive area during the healing stage can reduce the effectiveness of dental implants.
  • In most cases, the implant surgery is done under local anesthesia. However, the dentist might opt to put the patient under IV sedation, if necessary. You can discuss this with your doctor.
  • If the dentist chooses to perform a bone grafting procedure before the implant surgery, the timeline of the whole treatment can increase by 4-6 months. This isn’t done lightly and only happens if the bone structure is not strong enough to support an implant.
  • At Meza Dental Care we exclusively use Titanium dental implants and Zirconia prosthetics. This technology has been perfected for over 20 years to provide the most comfortable, stable, and long-lasting dental solutions for our patients.
  • Most important of all, you will be able to stay in touch with our implant experts throughout the procedure. Our team is here to help you every step of the way and make sure that your smile lasts!

We Take Your Smile Seriously!

The chance to transform a smile, and truly change another person’s life, is not something we take lightly here. Our team is highly trained, attuned to your unique needs, and always ready to lend a helping hand, which includes making sure you’re aware and comfortable with the challenges we’re undertaking with you. 

Now that you know the basics, this next section will go into more detail about the materials and techniques used during these procedures. If the technical side of things isn’t as interesting to you, you can click here to jump to the next section.

Procedure 1- Titanium or Zirconium Implant

When A Titanium or Zirconium Implant Is Used

In simple terms, an implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed in the jaw to replace a tooth root that has been extracted. This fools your body into maintaining the bone density in that area of your jaw. Without an implant, your body will slowly reabsorb the bone, which can weaken your jaw and allow neighboring teeth to loosen or move.

What is Involved in Getting a Titanium or Zirconium Implant

In the case of a damaged tooth, an extraction must first be performed. The natural tooth is removed, the oral surgeon makes a cut to open the gums and expose the bone, and does a bone graft if necessary (in the case of molars). Holes are then made in the bone where the dental implant will be placed. Because the titanium or zirconium pin will serve as the root of the tooth, it must be implanted deep into the bone.

At this point, you will still have a gap where the tooth used to be. A temporary and partial type of denture can be created and placed for a better appearance if you wish while the implant heals. The patient can remove this denture for cleaning and while you sleep.

dental implants explained

If the implant is to replace a tooth that has been missing for a while, a bone graft will likely be necessary to ensure that the jaw can support the implant. 

Before the implant procedure can take place, you will need a CT scan, as well as a recent X-ray, so we can determine the health and density of the underlying bone, determine if a graft is required, and create a treatment plan.

How Long It Takes For a Titanium or Zirconium Implant

The implant procedure relies on osseointegration to provide a solid foundation for your new tooth. This is a process whereby your body’s natural healing process grows new bone that covers the metal pin, incorporating it into your jaw. This can take several months, so this is a two-part procedure. International patients should schedule a week for the first (surgical) visit, and 1-2 weeks for the final visit, depending on how many crowns need to be created. 

If you require less than four crowns, they can be made in 3-4 days, and the second visit can be completed in a week. If you require more than four, a full two weeks will be required.

If only a minor bone graft is required, then the graft may be performed at the same time as the implant surgery, allowing both to heal simultaneously. However, if a more extensive graft is required, you will need to allow the bone graft to fully heal before the implant surgery can be performed, effectively doubling the time frame.

How Much a Titanium or Zirconium Implant Costs

In the United States, the cost of a single dental implant with abutment and standard crown averages $4,500, and in Costa Rica or Mexico, it starts at around $1,300.

Procedure 2- All-on-4/6/8 (also known as All-on-X)

When All-on-X is Used

This is a procedure that allows you to have a full arch (of 10-12 teeth per arch) replaced without necessitating a separate implant for each tooth. Depending on the available bone structure and density, 4, 6, or 8 implants are placed in the upper and/or lower jaw, then a prosthesis is created for each arch that mimics your natural smile. The prosthesis attaches to the implants via tiny screws and does not need to be removed daily as you would traditional dentures.

All-on-X is a cost-effective solution for people who need to replace all of their teeth but may not have sufficient bone structure, or the budget, for multiple implants.

What is Involved in Having the All-on-X Procedure

Before an All-on-X procedure is performed, you will need to have a CT scan, and a recent X-ray, and then molds must be made of your remaining teeth to be used as a reference. Since the procedure allows us to utilize the strongest areas of the jawbone for the implants, bone grafts are not always required. 

As with individual implants, this is a two-part procedure. The surgery is done, and the implants are allowed to heal before the final prosthesis is created and attached. Patients are given temporary prostheses to use during the healing process.

Once the implants have healed sufficiently, a secondary set of scans and measurements are taken and a prosthesis is designed and created using a 3d scanner. This allows our team to try it out, see how it looks, and make any necessary adjustments before the final prosthesis is made because it is an extremely hard material and cannot be adjusted once finished. Then our artists create the perfect smile for you over the course of a few days. 

implants denture

A final fitting is done and then the prosthesis is attached to the implants.

How Long It Takes For an All-on-X Procedure

After the initial surgery, the implants must be allowed to heal into the jawbone.  This can take 6-8 months. Once we are sure that the implant is fully healed and there is no longer any swelling or movement, we can take the precise measurements used to create your new smile.

International patients should schedule a week for the initial visit and a week (6-8 months later) for the final visit.

How Much it Costs for All-on-X

The cost for All-on-X depends on how many implants you need but averages out to around $25,000  per arch. In Costa Rica or Mexico, that cost drops to around $10,700.

So What’s The Final Word?

Well, let’s review. If you’re experiencing tooth pain, a first response can be to tackle lifestyle issues like adding regular oral care to your daily routine and including enamel-boosting foods in your diet.

Then, if you’re still having tooth pain, or if your pain is more acute, you can identify challenges and work with your dentist to restore your teeth to their best health.

Once that’s taken care of, if you need larger processes like dental implants or All-on-X, or if you’re interested in improving the look of your smile, it might be time to consider searching for a dental provider who suits your needs. 

Our Dental Implant Service

In our case, our facilities are comfortable, modern and equipped with the latest technology. In addition, we have received international accreditations that certify that we offer dental services of the highest quality.

Besides the AACD we also have the AAAHC accreditation which means that we participate in ongoing self-evaluation, peer review, and education to continuously improve our care and services.

All of our dentists have had many years of postgraduate training from UCLA (one of the top dental schools in the world), and Dr. Meza is one of the only two dentists in Latin America accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).

Meza Dental Care Staff

We at Meza Dental can give you back your smile, and we can do it at a fraction of the price that you would pay in America, all from the comfort of beautiful tropical destinations like Cancún and Costa Rica.

With 50 years of combined dental experience, and a dedicated laboratory capable of producing the highest quality natural-looking implants, you can rest assured knowing you are in good hands.

Still, we understand that dental implants are a big, often uncertain process, and our friendly, English-speaking staff are happy to answer all of your questions, and can even provide a free consultation so you can make an informed decision. 

Dentist Alberto Meza

Let us restore your smile to its former glory, and enjoy a little sunshine and warmth while you’re at it. You’ll be glad you did!

We are proud to have an amazing crew of knowledgeable, skilled, and friendly dentists, dental assistants, and lab technicians, to provide a variety of procedures, and two beautiful destinations to choose from.

If you want to learn more, just click the link. Check out our website where you will find lots of helpful information, or call us directly toll-free from Canada or the US at 1-877-337-6392. Our staff is always happy to answer any questions you may have. 

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