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Downtown Dental Excellence offers Dental Implants in Cleveland, TX

Some forms of damage to your teeth may only require simple, cosmetic solutions. If you have a small chip or crack, for instance, you may only need dental bonding. If you have more severe damage or decay, though, you may need to have your tooth removed. You may also have an accident that knocks a tooth out—requiring you to replace the tooth. Whatever the reason may be, if you have a gap where a tooth is missing, you’ll need to have it replaced. One of the best replacement options is a dental implant.

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A macro shot of dental implant

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are false teeth that are held in place with titanium rods that are installed in the jawbone. The false tooth is then attached to the rod with an abutment.

What are the Reasons for Choosing a Dental Implant?

Dental implants allow patients to complete their smile with an appliance that allows them to chew and bite much like they used to. Dental implants help to maintain the integrity of the jawbone, and save the jaw from bone loss. This helps to preserve the structure of a patient’s face.

Dental implants also:

  • Make oral health easier.
  • Prevent tooth migration.
  • Improve the aesthetic look of a patient’s smile.

There are many important reasons for having a dental implant placed for both the look of your smile, as well as your oral health.

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What if I Don't Choose a Dental Implant?

Dental implants help to protect overall oral health, by allowing the patient to better brush and floss. When a tooth is missing, the healthy teeth around the gap may begin to migrate. Not only does this make it more difficult to bite down, but it also makes it more difficult for a patient to brush and floss. Because of this, bacteria can form. This can lead to cavities, gum disease and more.

Neglecting to have a dental implant placed can lead to a variety of oral health issues that can in turn lead to other teeth suffering from decay and infection. If this continues, you may have more teeth fall out, or need to be pulled!

What's the Process?

The process of having a dental implant installed is multi-faceted, and will take more than one visit and a few months to complete. It is well worth it, though. Still, prepare for the process to take upwards of a few months.

The first step for some patients is having a tooth pulled. This may be due to decay, or a level of damage to the tooth that is irreparable. From there, the dentist will take a look at the jawbone, and see if a tooth implant is an option. This process will likely require x-rays, or special imaging to check the bone condition in three dimensions.

Once the dentist decides that you are a good candidate for the procedure, they will install a titanium rod into your jawbone. The bone will be allowed to heal and graft to the rod. This will likely take a few months.

Once the rod is ready, an abutment will be placed to hold the crown. The crown will then be placed, either using an internal screw or dental cement.

At this point, your new tooth is placed and the procedure is complete.

What are Dental Bridges?

Another tooth replacement option is a dental bridge. This generally involves one or two abutments placed over healthy teeth to hold a pontic in place. A pontic is a false tooth or row of teeth that bridge the gap where a tooth or teeth are missing.

Should I Choose an Implant or a Bridge?

Whether you get an implant or bridge is based on a few different factors. One of the most important factors is whether or not your jawbone can support a dental implant. The process of placing the titanium rod involves drilling a screw into the jawbone, and if the jawbone has suffered too much bone loss or is otherwise not able to support the rod, then a dental implant is not an option. If this is the case, bridges may be the best alternative.

Another consideration is cost. While dental implants generally last longer, they are more expensive upfront. How long the an implant will last when compared with a dental bridge should be taken into consideration when considering the costs of the procedures.

Speak with your dentist about which option would be best for you, and for your budget.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

Implants can last a long time, especially if well cared for. They can actually last decades! It’s important to have the implant placed by a quality dentist, though, to ensure they are installed correctly.

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How Do I Ensure the Health of My Implant?

One of the main factors when it comes to the longevity of an implant is how a patient cares for the implant. A dental implant should be treated like a natural tooth, and should be properly brushed and flossed. This will help to ensure the health of the gums, and the surrounding teeth.

Make sure to brush, floss and rinse out your mouth at least twice a day to ensure proper overall oral health.

It’s also important to understand that—while implants are strong—a healing process is required after implants are installed. For the first couple of weeks, a diet consisting of softer food is recommended, with a slow introduction of harder foods. Keep in mind that your jawbone needs to acclimate to the new force that is being applied to it.

If an implant was placed due to a sports injury, make sure to use proper protection moving forward—such as a mouth guard. This will help to protect the implant, as well as your healthy teeth.

A dental implant is an excellent, long-term option for tooth replacement. If you are missing a tooth or need a tooth pulled, speak with your dentist about whether or not a tooth implant is an option.