Tooth loss is unfortunately common: 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, and of these, approximately 40 million are missing all of their natural teeth.
While your risk for certain dental health problems increases as you age, your teeth were meant to last you for life. When taken care of properly, you can retain your natural teeth and enjoy a healthy smile for many years.
However, if you have lost a tooth or several teeth, replacing those missing teeth is important. Your remaining teeth can shift into the gap left by the missing tooth, which can cause crooked teeth and an improper bite over time.
When you’re considering replacing your missing natural teeth, dental implants are an excellent option. Here’s what to consider before getting dental implants in Asheville!
Know Your Insurance Coverage
It’s always a good idea to know how much your dental insurance will cover for your dental implant procedure. While some insurance policies will cover dental implants, others may consider it more of a cosmetic procedure than a medically necessary one.
You can always contact your insurance company and talk with your dental practice to help determine what your insurance benefits are when considering dental implants in Asheville.
Dental Implants Are a Process
Dental implants are considered to be the most secure form of tooth replacement available. However, they do require a few steps in the process to ensure they are sturdy and ready to support a dental crown.
The process will generally consist of the following steps:
- A consultation to determine your candidacy for dental implants. Not every patient will qualify for dental implants, but the good news is that most people will!
- Placement of the actual implant in your jawbone. The implant will typically be made of titanium or ceramic and will be surgically placed and need to heal for a few weeks before your dental crown can be attached.
- Placement of the abutment. The abutment is the piece that will connect your implant to your dental crown. For some patients, this can be placed at the same time as the implant.
- Fabrication and attachment of your dental crown. Your dentist in Asheville will have your dental crown custom-made and attach it to your dental implant as the final step in your procedure.
This process also doesn’t include an extra step should you need bone grafts. If you’ve been missing teeth for some time, your body may have absorbed the extra bone not needed by your missing tooth, and your dental practice in Asheville will need to make an extra appointment for bone grafting prior to the implant placement. Your dentist can let you know more about what to expect during your initial consultation!
Ask About Your Jawbone Health
During your consultation for dental implants, your dentist in Asheville will take dental x-rays to determine the density and health of your jawbone. Having enough jawbone increases the chances of success for your dental implant.
Without enough jawbone, you may need a bone graft, or you may be able to consider mini dental implants. Bone health can be impacted by trauma to the jaw, gum disease, and arthritis, so it’s important to know the state of your jawbone prior to implant placement so you can evaluate all your options.
Choose an Experienced Dentist
Not every dentist is experienced and qualified to do dental implants. Choosing the right dentist is important both so that you’ll have a successful procedure and also so that you feel as comfortable as possible throughout the process.
Ask your dentist about their experience with dental implants as well as the type of implants they place, the size, and whether they are able to place the abutment at the same time as your implant.
If you’re interested in Asheville cosmetic dentistry, your dentist can help you determine when the right time to place your implants is before procedures such as teeth whitening or dental bonding for the best effect.
Understand the Recovery Process
Each person will have a slightly different recovery process based on their unique dental implant procedure and oral health. Generally, you can expect a healing process of a few weeks while your implant heals and before your dentist places your permanent dental crown.
You may need to avoid hard foods such as tough meats, hard bread, sticky candy, and nuts for a week or potentially longer. If you’ll need to have a bone graft, it’s important to know that your recovery process will take a bit longer as you’ll have an extra step in the process.
Swelling, bruising, minor pain, and bleeding after the procedure are all normal. Your dental practice in Asheville will let you know more about what to expect during your specific procedure and ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision for moving forward.
Consider All Your Options
One of the best features of dental implants, besides their natural look and unparalleled durability, is that you have options for replacing your missing teeth.
If you’re missing a single tooth, you can opt for a single dental implant, but if you’re missing multiple teeth, you don’t necessarily have to have a dental implant to replace each individual tooth.
You may have the option to have an implant-supported bridge or denture, in which just a few implants are placed to support your dental restoration. You may also have the option to do what are called “all-on-four” dental implants, which can be ideal for people missing all of their natural teeth.
In all-on-four implants, four or six dental implants are placed and then a custom-made denture is permanently attached to the implants. This way, you still get the strength and security of dental implants, but you won’t have to replace every single tooth with an implant.
No matter what option you go with, dental implants in Asheville offer many benefits for your smile!
Make an Appointment
Find out if you’re a candidate for dental implants or learn more about Asheville cosmetic dentistry with our team at Saunders DDS. We’re a family-friendly dental practice in Asheville here to meet all your dentistry needs. Contact us to make an appointment for a dental implant consultation today at (828) 277-6060!