Posts for tag: dental implants
Have you thought your smile is beyond repair and that you're stuck with gaps and ill-fitting partials forever? Think again. At Southern Oaks Family Dentistry in Easley, SC, your dental implant dentist is Dr. David Phelps. He restores smiles with these predictable and long-lasting artificial teeth. Read on to learn how dental implants can give you a beautiful new smile.
The basic dental implant
It's a titanium metal screw, abutment post, and porcelain crown. Inserted into the jaw, the implant and bone adhere to each other through a gradual process dentists call osseointegration. No other tooth replacement offers this secure bonding process nor the realistic chewing, biting, and smile appearance that it creates.
Osseointegration takes time, but once finished, your Easley dentist can bond the post and crown in place. Then, each time you use your new tooth, it exercises the jaw bone, countering the extensive bone loss common to dental extraction.
Other benefits of dental implants
Besides osseointegration and improving jaw bone structure, your dental implant:
- Feels real, acts real, and looks real
- Keeps adjoining teeth securely in place
- Allows you to eat whatever you like
- Retains your natural facial contours (no loss of volume, no skin sagging or wrinkling)
- Improves your speech clarity
- Never decays
- Should last for the rest of your life if you brush, floss and see your dentist semi-annually for a cleaning and check-up
The dental implant surgery is uncomplicated, needing only locally-injected anesthetic and sufficient healing time.
Qualifying is easy
Dr. Phelps examines his possible dental implant patient and X-rays the jaw to determine oral health and bone structure. For an implant to take hold, there must be enough bone to anchor it.
Also, you should have good oral hygiene habits and if possible, be a non-smoker. Cigarettes degrade implant sites—both soft and hard tissues. In fact, Dear Doctor reports implant failure rates double in smokers. So, if you're considering dental implants, also consider a tobacco cessation program with your primary care physician.
Care is easy, too
Besides your daily hygiene routine at home and your semi-annual visits to Southern Oaks Family Dentistry, be sure to:
- Wear a mouth guard if you grind your teeth because bruxism wears implant sites
- Avoid hard foods and biting your fingernails
- Drink water to stay hydrated
- Consume a healthy, tooth-loving diet
Contact our office
We'll be happy to arrange a personalized dental implant consultation with your dentist, Dr. David Phelps. Phone Southern Oaks Family Dentistry at (864) 850-9100.
If you're missing teeth, you can replace them – and you can get permanent, perfect teeth to complete your smile. Dental implants are a popular option for many individuals to restore confidence to speak, eat and enjoy life with a healthy smile. Dental implants act as a replacement for the roots of missing teeth. Led by Dr. David Phelps, Southern Oaks Family Dentistry in Easley, SC offers full-service, state-of-the-art dental care to their patients. Keep reading to learn more about dental implants.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth or multiple missing teeth. Dental implants are posts that are surgically placed in the jawbone, where they function as sturdy anchors for artificial teeth. They are made of titanium and other materials that are easily accepted by the human body. After the jawbone has bonded to the dental implants, artificial teeth are secured to the top of the implants.
Why choose dental implants?
Dental implant restoration is one of the best ways to achieve a natural-looking, beautiful smile once again. The replacement teeth are indistinguishable from your original teeth. Implants can be a better alternative to dentures. Dental implants also help to stabilize your jawbone and prevent bone loss. Moreover, implants behave like real teeth, allowing you to speak, eat, and live life as normally as possible.
How do I care for dental implants?
You must practice good oral hygiene before, during, and after placement of implants to keep them in tip-top shape. Dental implants are like your original teeth and will require great at-home oral care and visits to the dentist for checkups and cleanings. In order to keep your dental implants plaque-free, brushing and flossing your teeth still apply. Well-placed and cared for implants have the potential to last for decades.
Start living your best life today. Call Southern Oaks Family Dentistry at 864-850-9100 today to schedule an implant consultation in Easley, SC and get the smile you deserve. Dental implants can have a huge impact on the quality of your life.
You’ve invested quite a bit in your new dental implants. And it truly is an investment: because of implants’ potential longevity, their long-term costs could actually be lower than other restorations whose upfront costs might be less.
But to better ensure their longevity, you’ll need to keep your implants and the natural tissues supporting them clean of bacterial plaque, a sticky biofilm that can cause periodontal (gum) disease. Although the implant itself is unaffected by disease, the natural tissues around it can be. An infection could ultimately weaken the bone supporting the implant and lead to its failure.
Such an infection involving implants could advance rapidly because they don’t have the natural defenses of the original teeth. Our natural teeth are connected to the jaw through the periodontal ligament, a collagen network that attaches to both the teeth and the bone through tiny tissue fibers. This connection also provides access to antibodies produced by the body to fight infection.
By contrast, we place implants directly into the jawbone. While this creates a very secure attachment, the implant won’t have the same connection as teeth with the body’s immune system. That means any infection that develops in surrounding tissues can spread much more rapidly—and so must be dealt with promptly.
Treating this particular form of gum disease (known as peri-implantitis) is similar to infections with natural teeth and gums, with one important difference involving the tools we use to remove plaque from them. While natural teeth can handle metal scalers and curettes, these can create microscopic scratches in the porcelain and metal surfaces of an implant and create havens for further bacterial growth. Instead, we use instruments made of plastic or resin that won’t scratch, as well as ultrasonic equipment to vibrate plaque loose.
To avoid an infection, it’s important that you brush your implants and surrounding tissues just like you would your natural teeth (be sure you use a soft-bristled brush). And keep up regular dental visits for thorough cleanings and checkups to stay ahead of any developing gum infection. Maintaining your dentures will help ensure they continue to brighten your smile for a long time.
If you would like more information on dental implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implant Maintenance: Implant Teeth Must be Cleaned Differently.”
For whatever reason, you’ve put off replacing a missing tooth for awhile. Now you want to fill that empty gap in your smile with a dental implant restoration.
But if your tooth’s been missing for a long time, there could be a problem with space. This is because the teeth on either side of the space may have gradually drifted into it, leaving no room for the implant. You could need orthodontic work first to return these teeth to their proper position.
We could use braces, metal orthodontic devices with wires threaded through brackets bonded to the teeth that are then anchored, usually to back teeth. The orthodontist uses elastics or springs as well as possibly incrementally tightening of the wire against the anchors. These techniques create pressure or tension on the teeth for the desired direction of movement. The teeth’s natural mechanism for movement does the rest.
But while effective, braces can be quite noticeable, an embarrassing thought for many adults having to wear them over several months of treatment. But there may be an alternative: clear aligners, a succession of slightly different plastic trays usually worn in two-week intervals. Sequentially wearing each tray gradually moves the teeth to their desired positions.
Though not appropriate for all bite situations, clear aligners have a number of benefits when they can be used. They’re nearly invisible to others and can be removed for hygiene tasks or rare special occasions. What’s more, the orthodontist may attach a temporary prosthetic (false) tooth to the trays to camouflage the missing space during treatment.
There’s one other issue you may have to deal with: if your tooth loss was related to periodontal (gum) disease, the gums and underlying bone may be in poor condition. In fact, substantial bone loss could rule out an implant altogether. But we may be able to remedy both gum and bone deficiencies through grafting or plastic surgery. It may be possible to regenerate enough bone to support the implant; and surgically repairing your gums will help ensure the implant appears natural.
If you have problems like these, don’t give up on your restoration goal just yet. With some orthodontic and dental work ahead of time, we may still be able to make implants a reality for you.
There’s a lot to like about replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant. This state-of-the-art restoration is by far the most durable and life-like option available. And unlike other replacement options implants stimulate bone growth, a major concern after tooth loss.
For that reason we encourage getting an implant as soon as possible — for adults, that is. We don’t recommend implants for younger patients because even a teenager’s jaws haven’t yet reached full maturity. Because it attaches to the jaw differently, an implant can’t move with the growing jaw as real teeth do. It would eventually look as if it were sinking into the jaw below the gum line or being left behind as the rest of the jaw grows.
It’s best, then, to postpone placing an implant until the jaw fully matures, usually in a patient’s early twenties. In the meantime, there are some things we can do to prepare for a future implant while also restoring the tooth with a temporary replacement.
As previously mentioned, our biggest concern is bone health. Like other living tissue, bone has a growth cycle of older cells dissolving and newer ones forming in their place. The teeth transmit the pressure produced when we chew to the bone to stimulate this growth. With the absence of a tooth, the adjacent bone no longer receives this stimulation — the growth cycle slows and may eventually lead to bone loss.
We can help this situation by placing a bone graft in the missing tooth socket at the time of extraction. The graft serves as a scaffold that’s eventually taken over and replaced by new bone growth. We can also try to control how fast the graft is replaced by using grafting material that’s slowly removed and lasts longer — often a preferable situation if an implant is years away.
As for appearance, we can create a custom partial denture or even a type of bridge that bonds a prosthetic tooth to neighboring teeth without significantly altering them. If the patient undergoes orthodontic treatment it’s also possible to add prosthetic teeth to an orthodontic appliance.
Eventually, we’ll be able to provide the permanent solution of a dental implant. With careful planning and measures to preserve bone health, there’s a good chance the outcome will be worth the wait.
If you would like more information on treatments for lost teeth in children and teenagers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implants for Teenagers.”