Just like your own tooth
Besides looking virtually identical to your natural tooth and functioning just like it, an implant replaces a tooth without sacrificing the health of neighboring teeth, as might occur with a tooth-supported fixed bridge – the now-dated treatment for the loss of a single tooth. This alternative requires your adjacent teeth to be ground down so they can support a cemented bridge.
Because a dental implant replaces the root of one individual tooth, Dr. Harrell can better preserve your bone structure. With a bridge, some of the bone that had surrounded the tooth begins to resorb, or deteriorate. Dental implants, on the other hand, integrate naturally with your jawbone, thus keeping the bone healthy and intact.
Durability is a BIG plus
The lifespan of your restoration is much longer.
In addition, you may risk receding gums around a bridge, exposing its metal base or collar of the bridge – an unsightly possibility.
Resorbed bone beneath the bridge can cause you to be conscious of a poor-looking smile. And the cement holding the bridge in place can wash out, allowing bacteria to decay the teeth that anchor it. Implants do not decay.
Choosing a single-tooth implant means you can expect the following from the Harrell Implant Center after your initial consultation, where your needs are discussed and 3D images of your teeth, jawbone, sinuses and nerves are obtained. This begins a three-step process:
- Placement of the implant
The implant, a small titanium screw, is placed into your jawbone. Over the next two to six months, the implant and the bone bond together through the process called osseointegration to form an anchor for your new tooth. During this time, a temporary tooth can easily be worn over the implant site. Dr. Harrell may recommend a diet of soft, cold foods and warm soup for a short time.
- A possible second step, and the healing process
Sometimes, a second step in the procedure is necessary. This step lets Dr. Harrell uncover the implant and attach an extension. This temporary healing cap completes the foundation on which your new tooth will be placed. Your gums will be allowed to heal nicely for the next two weeks or so.
If Dr. Harrell chooses a one-stage implant system, you will not require the second step. These systems use an implant that already has the extension piece attached. He knows which choice is best for you.
The bone around the implant heals through osseointegration. In this phase, your own bone grows around the implant to hold it securely in place.
Osseointegration means “combines with the bone” and it takes time. Some patients might need up to several months until the dentist determines the implant is completely integrated and the replacement tooth can be attached to it. Other patients can have an implant and replacement tooth in one visit.
- Receive your replacement tooth or single-implant
Often, patients are delighted to see their artificial tooth looks nearly identical to their own – and that’s cause for excitement and relief. Your replacement tooth, called a crown, will be created exclusively for you and attached by Dr. Harrell to a small metal post, called an abutment.
Shortly, you will have your “old” smile back, and regain the ability to choose any foods you desire. You will chew normally and speak clearly. Dental implants feel just right and are so natural-looking that you’ll soon forget you have one in your mouth.
Dr. Harrell treats his patients as individuals, and every patient is different. Some of the steps mentioned above may be combined at his discretion. Rest assured: Dr. Harrell knows which treatment plan is best for you.
Call (704) 206-1330 today for a free consultation: See how your smile will brighten your face – and your outlook.
In addition to Dr. Harrell, the Harrell Dental Implant Center Charlotte NC is staffed by a highly experienced team that is equally dedicated to placing an aesthetically pleasing restoration. His unique staff includes two surgical assistants, two full-time hygienists and a patient education coordinator who will answer every question and put you fully at ease during the entire process.
If you are ready for a happier and healthier lifestyle that blossoms from your new, beautiful smile, call Harrell Dental Implant Center at 704-206-1330 to schedule a free, no-obligation smile consultation. During your consultation, we will create a complimentary digital smile “preview” to show you what you can expect when your treatment is complete. And, of course, easy payments plans are available through Care Credit.