Dental Implants Cary NC
Once a tooth is gone, it cannot be regrown. Because of this, different replacement options need to be looked at for a missing tooth or teeth. Leaving a gap where a tooth once was isn’t a good option for a variety of different reasons - both practical and cosmetic. If you have a missing tooth, life-like dental implants may be an option for you.
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What are Dental Implants
An excellent tooth replacement option when a tooth has been completely lost is a dental implant. Dental implants are dental appliances that are installed into the jawbone of the patient with a titanium rod. This rod is then attached to a false tooth with an abutment. The finished product is a durable, realistic looking tooth to fill the hole that was left when a tooth was removed, knocked out or fell out. The crown of the implant is generally made with porcelain, and can match the surrounding teeth well.
Are They Cosmetic?
While dental implants often fall under the umbrella of cosmetic dentistry, they are not purely a cosmetic procedure. Still, dental implants are a great way to improve a smile that has a tooth missing. Having a missing tooth can lead to lower self-esteem, and wanting to avoid smiling like you used to. With a dental implant, you are able to smile wide —without having to worry about hiding your missing tooth behind your lips.
Am I a Candidate?
While dental implants are an incredible solution for tooth replacement, sadly they aren’t an option for everyone. In order to have a dental implant placed, the jawbone needs to have the integrity and bone mass necessary to install the titanium rod. If the jawbone isn’t strong enough, other options may need to be considered—such as dental bridges.
Why Do I need Implants?
Outside of the cosmetic reasons, there are plenty of practical reasons for having a dental implant placed. When a tooth is missing, the surrounding teeth often migrate and fill in the gap. This causes issues with the aesthetic look of your smile, as well as the integrity of your bite. The migration of the teeth can also make it more difficult to brush and floss—leaving the door open for bacteria that causes infection and tooth decay.
Not only can a gap in your smile lead to infection and decay, but it can also affect the integrity of your jawbone. Without a tooth in place, the jaw bone may begin to deteriorate. This can actually change the look of your face!
Issues that lead to Implants
While having a gap in your teeth is ultimately why you need a tooth replacement, the gap didn’t simply appear out of nowhere. There is a reason that the gap exists. For some patients, it is due to an accident, like a sports collision or falling down. For others, it is because a tooth needs to be pulled due to severe tooth decay.
While accidents cannot necessarily be avoided, tooth decay can. Because of this—in order to avoid having a tooth pulled altogether—it is important to take good care of your oral health. If you are playing sports that may involve contact of any kind, make sure to wear a mouth guard. This will help to ensure the integrity of your smile.
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Dental Implant Process
While the dental implant placement process is well worth the time and effort, it is a multi-step process. The first step is going to see the dentist once a tooth is knocked out, falls out or needs to be pulled. While its obvious that you’ll need a tooth replacement if the tooth is knocked out or falls out, you may not know that your tooth needs to be pulled without first setting an appointment with your dentist about any sort of pain, discomfort or swelling that you may be experiencing. Once your dentist looks over the tooth, they will decide if the tooth can be repaired, or if it needs to be pulled.
If your tooth is missing or needs to be pulled, your dentist will consider which replacement options are right for you. They will x-ray your teeth and jaw to see if a dental implant is a possibility (again, this is based on the integrity of the jawbone). If they decide that your jaw can handle the dental implant, they will start the implant placement process.
Initially, the titanium rod must be placed in the jaw. This will require minor surgery. The rod then needs time to graft to the bone. This typically takes a few months. During this time, a temporary crown may be placed. Once the bone and titanium rod have properly integrated, your dentist will place an abutment, which is used to hold the false tooth in place. The crown is then placed either with a screw or dental cement.
While there isn’t too much to consider after the placement procedure, it is important to consider what led to the need for a dental implant in the first place. If the dental implant was placed due to an extraction, then it’s necessary to understand the importance of dental care. Brushing, flossing and washing the mouth should be done at least twice a day. If you have any questions about how to properly brush and floss, speak with your dentist. It is also extremely important to visit your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning. It is during this checkup that your dentist can look for any signs of gum disease or tooth decay. If your dentist is able to catch decay early enough, they may be able to prevent the need for an extraction. Often times only a filling will need to be placed to resolve cavities.
If you are experiencing any pain, pressure or swelling around a tooth, visit your dentist as soon as possible to go over your treatment options.
Dentists You Can Trust
We take the time to explain treatment and use the latest in dental technology to ensure a conservative approach to your dental care. We have specialized eyepieces and special decay-detecting dye to be sure we can see the smallest amount of decay and remove only the diseased portions of the tooth. Our iTero scanner allows us to scan your teeth and create restorations with world-class accuracy.
Dr. Jim Bohn
Dr. Bohn is a native of Pennsylvania. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology at Penn State University and a Doctorate of Medical Dentistry from Temple University School of Dentistry.
Dr. Jerry Allen
Dr. Jerry Allen was born and raised in Eastern North Carolina. He received his Doctorate of Dental Surgery (D.D.S) with Honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.