If you are self conscious because of missing teeth or have difficulty eating and talking with uncomfortable dentures, then dental implants could be a great option for you. Dental implants are the closest you can get to re-creating healthy, natural teeth. They allow you to live the way you want to – confidently, eating, smiling, talking, laughing, and enjoying everyday activities without worrying about your teeth.
At Birmingham Smiles Dentistry, we are trained and experienced in the process of diagnosing, treatment planning, surgically placing, and restoring dental implants. Our doctors and staff will handle every step, from start to finish, right here in our office.
What are Dental Implants?
Think of dental implants as artificial tooth roots, similar to the shape of a screw. When implants are placed in the jaw they heal with the natural bone and become a sturdy base for one or more artificial teeth called crowns. They are an excellent long-term option for restoring your smile. In fact, the development and use of implants is one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past 40 years. Dental implants are made up of titanium and other materials that are compatible with the human body.
There are generally three phases to getting a dental implant:
After an initial consultation and comprehensive examination, our doctors will determine if you are a good candidate for implant therapy. Additionally, your quality and quantity of bone will be evaluated to determination if any bone grafting procedures are necessary. Then you are ready for one of our doctors to perform the surgical placement of the implant. At Birmingham Smiles Dentistry, we offer IV conscious sedation for all of our procedures but many patients tolerate getting an implant very well with only local anesthesia or “numbing” of the jaw. The recovery time is usually mild and lasts a day or two.
The next phase is your healing phase. During this time, the bone around the implant is healing and bonding to the implant in a process called osseointegration. This can take varying amounts of time from four to eight months depending on a patient’s medical condition, bone quality, and the location of the implant. However, this process is very important to ensure that the implant is completely healed and stable before attaching a new tooth for chewing.
The last step is the restoration of the implant. For a single tooth implant, we will make a new tooth for you, called a dental crown, that has customized size, shape, color and fit, all designed to blend in with your teeth. If you are replacing more than a single tooth, custom-made implant bridges or implant-supported dentures can be made to fit your mouth and your implants.
Signs That Dental Implants Might Be an Option for You
Many Americans are missing at least one tooth. If you’re among them, we understand that it can be a struggle to chew effectively or feel confident when you smile. You may hide your mouth behind your hands or have difficulty looking people in the eye. In some cases, the missing tooth may even cause you to “whistle” when you speak. Dental implants can help by filling in the gaps caused by missing teeth.
2. Difficulty Chewing
You may also decide to have a dental implant because you are having difficulty chewing due to damaged or missing teeth. In this scenario, your healthy teeth are forced to “pick up the slack” for your damaged teeth, causing them to wear down quickly or shift. You may even experience extreme pain from uneven biting or exposed nerve-endings when you chew. By replacing missing teeth, you take pressure off of your other teeth which helps avoid other bite issues, crooked teeth, and pain.
3. Cracked or Broken Teeth
It is always our goal to save broken or damaged teeth when possible but sometimes teeth are so badly damaged that the best solution is to remove the tooth completely and replace it with a dental implant. On severely broken down teeth, this is usually the most straight forward and cost effective way to restore a patient back to stable chewing, talking, and smiling.
4. Your Dentures Aren’t Working
While dentures have long been a solution for missing teeth they always have lots of complications and adjustments. Dentures require constant maintenance and often slip, causing embarrassment and discomfort. Sometimes, dentures that don’t fit properly can even irritate your gums. For many years there was nothing to be done about this other than endless adjustments and accepting a certain level of frustration. But thanks to dental implants, that is no longer the case! Implants can act as anchors for dentures to attach to improving retention and stability.
Implant dentures offer a permanent solution that won’t move around and slip. This means you can avoid sores, pain, and potential infection.
Are You Ready for Dental Implants?
Whether you’re tired of your dentures slipping down, or if you’re in constant pain due to sensitive or damaged teeth, dental implants are an effective solution for missing teeth. You deserve the best possible care and attention — and we want to make sure that’s exactly what you receive. We offer a wide variety of dental treatments and solutions. We encourage you to contact our Birmingham Smiles Dentistry office with questions or to schedule an appointment and we can make sure you maintain a healthy, happy mouth!