Dental Implants in Durham, NC
Serving the Durham, NC community
Dental Implants can be a great alternative to replace missing teeth. Implants can restore your smile and eating function without having to grind down adjacent teeth and without the need for removable partial dentures.
At The Smile Shop, we partner with specialists including periodontists and oral surgeons who expertly place your implant to complete the dental implant process. Dr. Kate Dolin and Dr. Adam Spriggs will coordinate with the specialist and oversee your treatment so you can be assured of continuity of care.
If you have any questions about dental implants in Durham, NC and would like to discuss your options concerning a single missing tooth or an entire arch, please schedule a dental implant consultation with us today! We will be happy to evaluate your needs, explain your options, and formulate a treatment plan that is customized for you.
- What is a dental implant?
- Why do so many dentists recommend dental implants?
- How does the dental implants process work?
- Who is a good candidate for a dental implant?
- What does restoring a dental implant involve?
- What’s the difference between a bridge and a dental implant?
- How can implant-supported dentures benefit me?
- What’s the best way to care for my dental implant?
- How long will my dental implant last?
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a tooth replacement that looks, feels, and functions the most like a natural tooth. It consists of three parts, and each plays an important role.
- The implant post – A dental implant is a tiny cylindrical post that acts as a replacement root. It is placed surgically in your jaw by a skilled oral surgeon and left to heal for several months.
- The abutment – After the implant post heals, we attach an abutment, which is a small piece that connects the implant post to the dental restoration.
- The restoration – A dental restoration restores form and function to your implant. Our Durham dentists will help you decide if a crown, bridge, or full or partial denture is the right restoration for you.
Why do so many dentists recommend dental implants?
There are numerous benefits to choosing dental implants instead of tooth replacements like bridges or dentures.
- Dental implants are a standalone tooth replacement that doesn’t require the alteration of healthy teeth as dental bridges do.
- Unlike other tooth replacements, dental implants act as an artificial tooth root that stimulates the regeneration of bone in your jaw and helps prevent bone loss.
- After the implant heals in your jaw, it becomes a permanent part of your dental structure and should remain in place for a lifetime.
- A dental implant can be paired with high-quality crown or bridge and can be used to anchor full or partial dentures in place.
How does the dental implants process work?
Dr. Dolin and Dr. Spriggs begin with a personalized, comprehensive dental exam to determine your best treatment options. If we decide together that a dental implant is right for you, we will refer you to a specialist who places the implant in your jaw.
Our dentists work with the implant specialist to oversee the process and monitor the healing process. The specialists take great care to ensure that the implant has healed and is healthy and stable before our dentists restore it with a permanent crown. The implant placement is performed under localized anesthetic to minimize any discomfort during the procedure.
Who is a good candidate for a dental implant?
To be a good candidate for a dental implant, you should be healthy enough to undergo oral surgery, and you also need enough dense bone in your jaw where they will be placed. This might be an issue for you if you have suffered bone loss as a result of waiting too long to replace the tooth. Advanced gum disease or periodontitis can also attack and weaken the bone and structures that support your teeth.
However, even if you have been told that you are not a good candidate for implants, call our Durham, NC dental office. Our dentists work with leading specialists in the area who may be able to use a procedure called bone grafting that will add enough strength to support a dental implant.
What does restoring a dental implant involve?
Restoring the implant with a crown is very similar to the process used to place a crown on a natural tooth. We take an impression of the implant so our dental lab can fabricate a custom crown that is designed specifically for your smile. It takes a few weeks for the crown fabrication to be completed. Once it is finished, we place the crown onto the implant, and review how to brush, floss, and care for your new dental implant and crown.
What’s the difference between a bridge and a dental implant?
Dental implants and bridges are both tooth replacements, but they work very differently.
A bridge is designed to fill the open space that’s left when a tooth is lost. The drawback to bridges is that to place them, we need to alter the shape and size of adjacent healthy teeth.
A dental implant is a full replacement – from root to crown – for a missing tooth, so we don’t have to involve other teeth. The implant is placed surgically in your jaw, and as it heals, it integrates with the bone and tissue that surround it and takes the place of the missing tooth root. After it heals, your Durham, NC dentist will restore the dental implant with a crown, bridge, or denture.
Unlike a dental bridge that sits on top of your gum, a dental implant that’s placed in your jaw stimulates healthy bone regeneration to keep it strong and healthy.
How can implant-supported dentures benefit me?
If you currently have dentures or have been treatment planned to transition to them, implant supported dentures are another great option to increase stability.
Dentures rely on the anatomy of your bone and tissue for support. Traditional dentures do restore your smile and allow you to eat comfortably, however, it has been estimated that even if they fit perfectly, they will only function around 30 percent as well as your natural teeth. This means that you will need to adapt to new chewing and speaking techniques for the denture to function appropriately.
Dentures that are supported by implants are much more stable than traditional dentures. They can reestablish function that is similar to your natural teeth while beautifully restoring your smile. If you’ve had problems with ill-fitting dentures, or are interested in improving your eating function, implant retained dentures could be a great option to give you back your smile.
What’s the best way to care for my dental implant?
Once your implant heals, and a restoration is placed, caring for it is not much different than caring for your own teeth. You should brush twice a day and floss once, and preventive cleanings and exams are especially critical when you have an implant.
The greatest threat to the long-term success of a dental implant is gum disease that breaks down the bone and tissues that hold it in place. When our Durham dental implants dentists see you every six months, they can check for signs of gum disease and take steps to treat it before it threatens your implant.
How long will my dental implant last?
Dental implants are unique because as they heal, they fuse with surrounding bone and tissue to form a strong bond. The implant becomes a permanent replacement root, and if you care for your teeth and gums properly, it should stay in place for a lifetime.
However, please note that the restoration (crown, bridge, or denture) we attach to it will eventually need to be replaced at some point.