Do you have one or more missing teeth? Are your lost teeth impacting the look and health of your smile? There are many ways to replace a tooth, but there’s only one kind of restoration that addresses the missing tooth roots: dental implants.
Thanks to dental implants, Dr. Courter can place any number of strong, stable replacement teeth in your mouth while also making sure your jaw continues to get the stimulation it needs to stay healthy.
Dental implants are a restorative dentistry treatment for tooth replacement that restores the tooth at the root. Patients will be able to comfortably speak, eat, and enjoy full smiles again.
Your dentist can use dental implants to attach a bridge or denture that matches the color, shape, and form of your natural teeth. Because of this, dental implants and implant-supported bridges and dentures are secure, long-lasting, and look natural.
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
Dr. Michael Courter will need to make sure you’re in good oral health before you can get dental implants. We will need to address gum disease and other infections first. Also, if your jaw has already suffered from bone loss, we may require bone grafting to add the density it needs to support the implant posts. If you are a candidate for implants, we can use them to correct any amount of tooth loss.
What is a Dental Implant?
The actual dental implant isn’t a replacement tooth by itself. It’s actually a small titanium post that our dentist or oral surgeon surgically inserts into your jaw.
Once it has fused with the bone during a natural process called osseointegration, it can support the crown, bridge, or denture that our dentist will use to fill the empty space in your mouth. In other words, tooth implants serve as roots for prosthetic teeth, securing them in place. Some of the benefits of dental implants include the following:
- Comfort: Implants essentially become part of your jaw, meaning they’ll feel much like your real teeth.
- Stronger Jaw: With the implants providing the stimulation that natural teeth normally provide, you’re less likely to suffer bone loss in your jaw.
- Improved Speech: Implant-retained teeth don’t slip like traditional dentures, making it easier to speak without mumbling or slurring your words.
- Improved Diet: Your dental implants will give your prosthetic teeth chewing power that’s almost on par with your natural teeth.
- Long Lifespan: Dental implants are very durable and can last many years – even the rest of your life.
Dental implants are the most-recommended choice to replace missing teeth. They’re the gold standard because they’re the only option that replaces the tooth root and crown.
The implant post-fuses with the jawbone, giving you back 100% of your bite function. It stops the bone degeneration that occurs when you lose your tooth root. The fit of your restoration doesn’t change either because the jawbone doesn’t deteriorate.
Because you have back 100% of your bite function, you don’t have to remove anything from your diet. You’re able to eat whatever you like. You also don’t have to worry about your restoration slipping or falling out while eating or speaking. Because they feel like your natural teeth, you can feel confident eating and speaking as well.
Implants don’t require any extra maintenance like removable restorations. You never have to take them out to clean them. Simply brush and floss them like you would your normal teeth and visit the dentist regularly for checkups. There are no messy adhesives to worry about either.
Types of Dental Implants
Dental implants can replace one tooth, multiple teeth, or a whole arch of teeth. They can support many different dental prosthetics to achieve this, depending on how many teeth you are missing.
Missing a Single Tooth
If you’re missing just one tooth, a single dental implant can replace it. We use a custom dental crown to complete the dental restoration. The crown matches the size, shape, and color of the rest of your teeth, so it looks natural in your smile. Sometimes, our dentist can place the implant right after we extract the tooth.
Missing Many Teeth
If you’re missing multiple teeth that aren’t consecutive, we’ll still need to use single dental implants to replace them. If you’re missing multiple teeth in succession, an implant-supported dental bridge can replace them. Instead of using your natural teeth to anchor the bridge, we use dental implants.
Missing a Full Arch of Teeth
Implant-supported dentures replace a full arch of missing teeth. They don’t require suction and adhesive for them to stay in your mouth. We use 4-6 dental implants to support the denture. Instead of removing them to clean them, you simply brush and floss like you would your normal teeth. They stay in your mouth permanently.
The Dental Implant Process
Instead of referring you to a specialist for the surgery, Dr. Courter can usually handle the entire dental implant process from beginning to end. This is thanks to his attention to detail and his extensive knowledge and experience.
No need to drive across town for treatment from someone you barely know – you can leave your smile in the hands of a dentist you already trust!
Before any procedure, we have a consultation. We want to ensure dental implants are the correct choice for your unique needs. We discuss your medical history, dental goals, and your budget. Dr. Courter will conduct a thorough oral evaluation as well.
To get dental implants, you must be in good enough medical condition to get the surgery that implants require. You also can’t have oral health conditions when you go for surgery. If you have any broken tooth fragments, we need to remove them. Gum disease treatment must also occur and fully heal before moving forward. Having enough bone density to support the implants is necessary too.
Before the procedure, we’ll also discuss your sedation options. Traditionally patients choose sedation for their implant procedure. Our office offers nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oral conscious sedation. Nitrous oxide takes effect and dissipates quickly. You breathe it in throughout the procedure through your nose.
If you elect to use oral conscious sedation, we will prescribe it (a pill), and have you take it about an hour before the procedure. It’s a deeper form of sedation, and you’ll need a ride to and from the procedure.
The Surgical Process
To start the procedure, we use a local anesthetic to numb the area around the implant site completely. We want to ensure your comfort during the procedure.
When comfortable, we’ll surgically place the implant post into your jawbone. It requires around 3-6 to heal and fuse with the bone fully. We’ll put a temporary restoration in place until the healing process is complete.
Once everything completely heals, we will place an abutment on top of the implant post. This piece connects the post to the final restoration. Your final restoration is custom-made to blend in with the rest of your smile. It’ll be either a dental crown, bridge, or denture.
Dental Implant FAQs
Learn more about dental implants below.
How can I clean my dental implants?
You can take care of dental implants like your natural teeth. You can brush and floss them gently to remove food debris and bacteria. We recommend an interdental brush for patients who want a deeper clean between their implants. This brush can get between the teeth and is gentle on restorations like implants.
Do dental implants look like regular teeth?
Yes, we ensure that dental implants look just like natural teeth. We can color-match the dental crowns that cap off the implants for a seamless look. Dental crowns are porcelain ceramic caps that cover implants and are the only part that shows above the gum line. Crowns both look and feel natural.
What can I eat after implant surgery?
Prepare for implant surgery by making some meals ahead of time. You should only eat softer foods for about a week after the procedure. You’ll have stitches in the implant sites and don’t want to disturb the healing process. Avoid drinking out of a straw during this time as well. It can interrupt the clot on your gums and cause problems.
When can I brush my teeth after implant surgery?
Wait 24 hours before you attempt to brush your teeth again. We also recommend doing warm salt water rinses to help aid the healing process. Avoid any mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide rinses for at least two weeks after your surgery.
Do gums grow around my implant?
Yes, with time, the gums grow around the implant and provide support just like with your natural teeth. We continue to monitor your progress and healing and ensure that you’re on track for your gums to heal properly. We may recommend certain products or techniques that can help your gums heal better.
How can I become a candidate for dental implants?
Most patients are good candidates for implants. We can recommend bone grafting if patients do not have enough bone in their jaw to support dental implants. We can provide treatment before implant treatment for tooth decay or gum disease patients.
The best candidates for the dental implant treatment have healthy gums and sufficient bone tissue to support implants. We can help patients make sure that they are healthy enough to receive implants and implant-supported restorations.
Understanding the Cost of Dental Implants
How many dental implants do you need? What kind of restoration are you getting? What other requirements and procedures will you need? We will evaluate all of these factors and others during your initial consultation before we can give you a price estimate that you can be confident in.
Don’t forget that dental implants last much longer than other restorations. You can consider them an investment in a dazzling smile and an improved quality of life.
Whether you’ve just lost a tooth or have been thinking about upgrading your dentures, schedule a dental appointment today to see if dental implants in our Midland, TX dental practice are right for you. Call Dr. Courter today for a dental implant consult at 432-287-9531.
We will be happy to help you create a plan for your dental implants or implant-supported restoration. Our dental practice serves all of Midland County, the Permian Basin, and surrounding communities.