What Are Dental Implants?
The Healthiest Long-Term Tooth Replacement Option
Dental implants are a popular solution for patients with one or more missing teeth because they are permanent, natural-looking, and offer the same benefits as healthy, natural teeth. Carolinas Center for Oral & Facial Surgery helps patients achieve a complete set of teeth while improving oral health. A dental implant is made of three parts: an implant post, an abutment, and a crown. These parts replicate the function and appearance of a natural tooth.
Our surgical experts make the dental implant surgery process a breeze. Simply follow your pre- and post-operative instructions closely, and we take care of the rest. When cared for properly, dental implants have a high success rate and can last a lifetime.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Your adult teeth have roots that are embedded into the jaw bone. During chewing, these roots stimulate the bone, keeping it strong. When a tooth or teeth are missing, the jaw bone doesn’t receive the stimulation it needs and deteriorates over time. This can lead to many issues, such as dental shifting, facial sagging, bite problems, and severe bone loss. Dental implants are the only restorative option that combats bone loss because the implant posts are embedded into the jaw bone, similar to natural roots. With the stimulation it needs, your jaw bone remains healthy and your other teeth stay in position.
Some patients opt for cheaper options upfront, like removable bridges or dentures. These replacements restore the appearance of your smile, but do not protect the jaw. They must be replaced every few years due to wear and tear, and ill-fitted oral appliances often cause sores. Removable dentures must be taken out when you eat and brush your teeth, unlike dental implants, which remain in your mouth at all times. Even if you’re missing all of your teeth, full-arch restoration with dental implants can help you achieve a permanent and complete smile.
By keeping your jaw bone healthy, dental implants help prevent periodontal disease or the breakdown of the gum tissue often associated with tooth loss. Taking care of your teeth and gums is key to good overall health, and dental implants make it easier for you to improve the health and look of your smile. In addition to these advantages of dental implants, they're also easy to care for. To maintain good oral hygiene, simply brush and floss your teeth and implants regularly. No special care is needed to keep your dental implant healthy and strong.
What Are Dental Implants Made Out of?
Your replacement teeth are designed to match your individual needs. The implant post is made of medical-grade titanium. Titanium is highly biocompatible and is used in many medical procedures performed on various parts of the body. Although metal allergies are rare, patients with sensitivities to titanium can receive ceramic or zirconia implants for a metal-free option. The dental implant crown may be made of ceramic, porcelain, gold, silver, or metal alloy.
During the healing period, as your implant post fuses to the jaw bone, your restorative dentist will fabricate your permanent crown. It is custom-made to match the size and color of your other teeth to make it indistinguishable from your natural teeth.
Some adult teeth simply do not last forever. When this happens, our oral surgeons have you covered. We use state-of-the-art 3D scanning at all of our offices in and around Charlotte to help with treatment planning and implant placement. Oral surgeons are trained to safely administer anesthesia, and our practice offers many options to choose from so that you remain comfortable throughout any surgical procedure.
Types of Dental Implants We Offer
Our oral surgeons, Dr. Rick Kapitan and Dr. Jim Howell, and our skilled prosthodontists, Dr. Hunter Dawson and Dr. Craig Horton, will closely evaluate your needs and determine the right type of implant to restore your smile. By offering different types of restorative options to choose from, we make it possible for more patients to achieve their dream smile. If you've experienced bone loss due to missing teeth, we can also discuss your bone grafting options to create a solid foundation for your replacement teeth.
- Single Tooth Replacement. If you’re missing just one tooth, a dental implant can be placed in the empty socket. This can be repeated as needed throughout the mouth for any missing or failing teeth.
- Immediate Implants. Same-day dental implants are inserted at the same appointment as a tooth extraction, providing instant restorative results and reducing the number of appointments needed.
- Implant-Supported Bridges. Traditional bridges rely on adjacent teeth for support and can cause them damage. Dental implants can support a bridge instead, restoring the look and function of multiple teeth that are missing beside each other.
- Full-Arch Restoration. As few as four dental implant posts can support a fixed prosthesis in one or both dental arches. You can walk out of our office with a complete smile that remains in your mouth permanently and functions naturally.
When you visit us for a consultation appointment, you will meet with one of our skilled surgeons and prosthodontists, who will examine your mouth and discuss your treatment options. Patients who choose to replace missing teeth with dental implants enjoy health benefits, confidence, and an overall improved quality of life with long-term tooth replacement. Our specialists look forward to meeting with you and creating your custom treatment plan.