Questions About Dental Implants: Are My Teeth Healthy Enough?

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Missing teeth can increase your risk for certain conditions such as gum (periodontal) disease and bone loss. Dental implants are a wonderful solution for restoring your smile and replacing missing teeth. Implant dentistry uses surgically placed titanium posts that act as the new tooth root in the jawbone. They may be connected to a denture, bridge, or crown that can be cleaned and cared for just like natural teeth. Dr. Brett Cotham is proud to offer these long-lasting restorations for Northwest Arkansas patients.

Are you the right candidate for dental implants? At All About Smiles Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Rogers, AR, we provide an overview of the most important factors that come into play in relation to implant dentistry. This includes any health issues that may prevent you from receiving the care you require. If you are suffering from missing teeth, the best way to move forward is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Cotham.

Who is a candidate for implant dentistry?

Dental implants are suitable for most individuals who have lost one or more teeth due to dental decay or trauma. It is important that the bone tissue is fully developed, which is why patients must be at least 18 years old before undergoing dental surgery. To be considered, your mouth must be healthy with no signs of active infection or gum disease. This is because an infection may compromise the integrity of the implant, leading to serious health complications down the road. Implants are not normally recommended for pregnant women, frequent smokers, or people with certain autoimmune diseases that may prevent them from healing after surgery.

Patients with missing teeth may have lost functionality and their ability to bite or chew food. In addition, the remaining teeth may loosen or shift in the mouth, causing significant misalignment. Dental implants can prevent these circumstances by stimulating the jawbone and keeping the teeth properly aligned. Implants look completely natural and can create an attractive smile. During your appointment, Dr. Cotham will ensure that you meet all necessary criteria before moving forward with treatment.

Do I need a bone graft?

Most people lose their teeth as a result of periodontal disease, which needs to be addressed before implants can be placed. If your bone density is low, we can recommend a dental procedure called a bone graft. This treatment transplants bone from one part of the body to the jaw so it can better support the dental implant. To determine if you need a bone graft, the professionals at All About Smiles Family & Cosmetic Dentistry may perform tests and imaging services to review your jawbone and bone density.

What is dental surgery like?

Once we have determined you are the right fit for implant dentistry, Dr. Cotham will begin the process by giving you local anesthesia to numb your mouth. Other sedation options may be used if requested. An incision is made in the gums before carefully placing the post in the jawbone. Dr. Cotham uses advanced techniques to make sure implant placement is both effective and accurate. The incision is closed, leaving the top portion of the implant above the gums. If more than one implant is required, the process is repeated in the needed areas.

After dental surgery, All About Smiles will give you a temporary cover to protect the area as it heals. Over the following several months, the titanium implant gradually integrates into the gums and jawbone. Our knowledgeable staff will give you information about cleaning and taking care of the area during this time. As soon as the implant has healed, your permanent restoration is put into place and adjusted for a completely comfortable fit.

What is recovery like?

Dr. Cotham will make sure each patient is fully prepared for the recovery process after dental procedures such as implants. You may experience some short-term swelling and inflammation in the lower face, as well as minor bleeding in the treated area. All About Smiles may offer you a prescription for antibiotics and pain relievers to make healing more comfortable. If you have any questions or concerns while waiting for the dental implant to integrate into your jawbone, you are always free to contact our office for assistance.

Patients in Northwest Arkansas should create a good oral care routine that includes brushing and flossing your teeth twice daily. With consistent oral care, implants should last for years to come. Our staff will help you schedule annual dental examinations and biannual cleanings so we can monitor your progress. If your dental implants need to be repaired or adjusted in the future, a dental consultation with Dr. Cotham will let you know about your next steps.

Schedule your dental consultation

Implants with custom restorations are a great option if you are looking for a long-term missing tooth replacement. The caring team at All About Smiles Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Rogers, AR, offers patients a dental consultation and examination to determine if they are a good candidate for implant dentistry. Dr. Brett Cotham and his staff will explain the steps in dental procedures and how to get your smile back on track. Northwest Arkansas patients can schedule their consultation with Dr. Cotham to get started.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.