A healthy smile is supposed to last a lifetime, but sometimes it needs a little help. When someone loses a tooth due to gum disease or trauma, it can lead to long-term health issues. Fortunately, procedures such as dental implants can bring back that gorgeous smile and make a big difference in your quality of life. There are many benefits of implants, including increased confidence and improved chewing ability. Dental implants are the closest you can get to having healthy and natural-looking teeth once again.
Once you’ve invested time and money in dental implants, it’s up to you to make sure they last for years to come. At 32nd Street Dental, Dr. Brett Cotham and Dr. James Lewis provide education and resources on proper home maintenance and hygiene practices for implants. To learn more or schedule a consultation to determine if dental implants are the right solution for you, contact our cosmetic dental clinic in Joplin, MO. Our talented team offers a range of options such as general checkups, preventive services, and popular aesthetic treatments.
Preparing for dental implant surgery
Implant dentistry uses surgically placed titanium posts in the jawbone that act as the new tooth root. The post is then connected to restorations such as a bridge or crown to fill a gap in the smile. Some patients may be interested in implant dentistry if they have a removable dental restoration but don't like the appearance or fit. During your initial consultation, Dr. Cotham or Dr. Lewis will assess the health of your gums and jawbone to determine if you are an ideal candidate for dental implants. Some individuals may need bone or gum graft surgery to strengthen their mouth prior to dental implant surgery.
It’s important to be aware of the benefits and risks before undergoing surgery, which is why we may review your medical and dental history during the preliminary exam. Implants may not be appropriate if you are pregnant, use tobacco products, or are being treated for another serious condition such as periodontal disease. Any current infections will need to be treated before moving forward with dental implant surgery. By taking these precautions, we will make sure your teeth and smile stay healthy.
Tips for keeping implants healthy
Our state-of-the-art cosmetic dental practice uses guided surgery techniques and advanced cone-beam computed tomography to ensure that implant placement is safe and effective. Dr. Cotham will begin the process by placing a guide stint over the area to place the post in the jawbone. Over the next several months, the implant will integrate into the jawbone, providing a strong foundation for the dental restoration. Once the implant is healed, a bridge, denture, or crown is placed and adjusted for a comfortable fit.
Taking good care of the new dental implant is key to prolonging its appearance and functionality. After receiving dental implants, Dr. Cotham, Dr. Lewis, or a member of our team at 32nd Street Dental will offer helpful instructions to make this process easier. Since the area around the implanted tooth traps food and bacteria like natural teeth, the best way to clean it is with regular brushing and flossing at least twice a day. Remember to pay special attention to removing food particles from between the teeth as well. Here are our top tips for keeping your dental implants in the best shape possible:
- Select the right toothbrush. It is important to ensure that the surrounding teeth and gums are healthy, as this can have an effect on the health of implants. An interdental toothbrush is specifically designed to clean around crowns and other restorations. If you have questions about which toothbrush to choose, Dr. Cotham or Dr. Lewis will be happy to make a recommendation.
- Use fluoride. Although implants are naturally resistant to cavities and decay, your gums and remaining teeth aren’t. Continue to brush with fluoride toothpaste or use a fluoride solution for the best results.
- Floss regularly. This is especially important to keep your gums free from food particles and unwanted bacteria. Issues such as periodontal disease could lead to dental implant failure, which means losing your new, beautiful smile.
- Watch your sugar intake. Excess sugar can be detrimental to the health of implants, specifically because it is responsible for plaque buildup on the teeth, which could result in gum disease. Gum disease is a major cause of implant failure, so limit sugary foods and beverages as much as possible.
Contact 32nd Street Dental today
Missing teeth can be frustrating for anyone. Replacing them with a dental implant can help you feel better about yourself and your smile. Schedule regular examinations and cleanings at 32nd Street Dental so we can assess the health of your mouth and decide whether implants are right for you. Dr. Brett Cotham or Dr. James Lewis can also help if your current implants or restorations need to be repaired or replaced. Patients often seek out our dental facility due to the high quality of our services as well as our attention to detail. Schedule your next appointment by giving our Joplin, MO, team a call today.